The possibility that Lauren Cohan — who plays Maggie Rhee on The Walking Dead — may not return for season 9 suddenly feels a lot more real.
Two weeks ago, it was reported that AMC’s contract negotiations with Lauren Cohan had hit a snag. The Walking Dead star — who has been with the show since the second season — asked for a raise that would put her on par with the male leads, Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus. AMC wouldn’t match her demands but counteroffered with a modest raise, one that Cohan rejected. In fact, Cohan not only rejected the offer but made herself available for the upcoming pilot season and reportedly fetched several offers from multiple networks competing over her services. Talks with AMC stalled.
A week later, however, negotiations picked up again. She began speaking with AMC about extending her contract for season 9 and beyond.
Those contract negotiations, unfortunately, have not yet borne fruit. However, Scott Gimple — who was recently promoted from The Walking Dead showrunner to the architect of the entire The Walking Dead universe — remains hopeful that a deal can be struck, as he tells TVLine:
“I’m incredibly hopeful. These things do happen in TV. But we’re talking. And Lauren is an actor who has such intuition and such power. So yeah, hopefully, it all works out.”
“Hopefully it all works out” does not inspire a ton of confidence, especially with a network that has played hardball in the past and is currently facing two lawsuits over royalties from The Walking Dead (plus an additional lawsuit over a stuntman’s death). In fact, instead of re-upping with AMC, Robert Kirkman recently signed a new development deal with Amazon. Hopefully, Cohan doesn’t take a similar route.
The loss of Lauren Cohan would be a major blow to the series, especially as it sees the exit of Chandler Riggs in this Sunday’s midseason premiere, as well as Lennie James — who plays Morgan — at the end of the season when he departs for Fear the Walking Dead. Hopefully, it will all work out for fans of The Walking Dead, although it will almost certainly work out for Cohan one way or another, as she is one of the most sought-after actresses on television at the moment.