Why 'The Walking Dead' Failed Maggie (And Lauren Cohan) in Season 9

The Walking Dead said goodbye to several major characters in the first half of Season 9, but one, in particular, didn’t get the attention it deserved on- or off-screen. Maggie (and her portrayer, Lauren Cohan) deserved much better than what she got, and while it’s possible this could change in the second half of Season 9, it may be too little, too late.

Spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 9 below.

Going into The Walking Dead this year, fans knew that both Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan would only appear in the first half of Season 9. Over the summer, everyone began speculating as to how they’d be written out and if they’d live or die. Cohan herself said that Maggie’s story wouldn’t be finished, leading many to speculate she’d survive.

AMC heavily promoted Lincoln’s exit as Rick Grimes. The previews urged viewers to tune in to his last episode, so leading up to it, that’s what everyone was talking about. How would he leave the show? Would he survive even after being impaled on rebar in the previous episode?

The answer was yes, though the rest of the survivors thought he died after blowing up a bridge to take out a herd of walkers. Instead, Anne turned to her helicopter comrades to whisk Rick away to safety. After the episode aired, AMC announced a series of movies continuing Rick’s story.

the walking dead amc season 9 maggie lauren cohan
Maggie (Lauren Cohan) wasn't even the focus of her last scene on 'The Walking Dead' for now

What fans didn’t realize at the time was that the very same episode was also Cohan’s final appearance as Maggie. There were no TV spots telling viewers to watch her final appearance. No slew of interviews about her exit before or after it aired either.

“I would hope it’s not the last you’ll see of her for the show, but she is not in any immediately forthcoming episodes,” showrunner Angela Kang told The Hollywood Reporter.

Though Cohan is one of the leads in the new ABC midseason series Whiskey Cavalier, Kang hopes to bring her back for Season 10.

After Rick’s exit, the series jumped forward six years, and Maggie was no longer at Hilltop. Instead, she’d taken baby Hershel and left to join Georgie’s group of survivors.

“We will hopefully come back to Maggie’s story in Season 10,” the showrunner said to ComicBook.com. “Georgie’s group is definitely out there in [the] world doing some stuff, and I have some notion of what they’re up to. They may also be part of the universe in general.”

The series also said goodbye to Jesus in the midseason finale when he was killed by a Whisperer, new villains who wear the skin of walkers. Following the episode, Tom Payne and Kang spoke about his exit extensively both on Talking Dead and in various interviews.

Maggie’s exit may have been quiet compared to Rick and Jesus’, but both the actor and character deserved so much more. Cohan was part of the cast since Season 2, and for all the talk about her exit over hiatus, it came and went nearly silently. In fact, you may not have even noticed she was gone, instead expecting to see her again as each new episode revealed what various survivors were up to after the show’s time jump.

Of course, The Walking Dead could bring back Maggie’s character in the second half of Season 9, but unless the show is planning a huge surprise twist, that will probably just mean a letter included in one of the supply drops from Georgie’s group. Either way, it sad to see Maggie’s character disappear with so little fanfare.

What really hurt Maggie was that her last episode was also Lincoln’s. Rick was the main character of the series so the focus was always going to be him. But the fact that Laura Cohan’s farewell from the show came and went with barely a mention feels either extremely unfair or extremely suspicious.

Let’s hope its the latter, and Maggie turns up sooner than expected in the second half of The Walking Dead Season 10.

The Walking Dead Season 9 will return Sunday, February 10 at 9 p.m. on AMC.


Related video: The Walking Dead Season 9 Trailer Erupts Into Violent Chaos

Chaos reigns in the 'Walking Dead' Season 9 trailer
Media via AMC