(Spoilers ahead for “The Walking Dead” on AMC)
Maggie (Lauren Cohan) has been gone, but she’s not dead. The fifth episode of season 9 of “The Walking Dead” revealed that she left the Hilltop with the mysterious Georgie during the big time jump that came at the end of Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln) final episode. But she will be back, eventually. We just don’t know exactly when yet.
Maggie’s situation was not unlike that of Michonne (Danai Gurira), who left on a boat for a mysterious island in the first half of season 10 and is seemingly in limbo for the immediate future since Gurira has quit the show and may never return. Cohan left “The Walking Dead” during season 9 after an ABC pilot she filmed, “Whiskey Cavalier,” was picked up by the network, and also after a contentious contract dispute in which she demanded equal pay with her male co-stars who had been on the show as long as as she had.
So Cohan left “The Walking Dead” to try new things. Lauren Cohan later addressed the situation again in similarly ambiguous terms, saying that “there may have been some conversations” about her return to “The Walking Dead” but that we’ll have have to wait and “see what happens.”
That all probably felt like it was coming totally out of left field, considering how Maggie did not get any kind of real sendoff. Her final (as far as we know) episode also being Rick’s last didn’t help, since the episode basically functioned as Rick’s death episode. Whereas Maggie just kinda wasn’t around anymore after that one, with only a couple mentions of where she went in subsequent episodes.
But Maggie is coming back. “Whiskey Cavalier” was canceled, and I guess Cohan and the powers that be at AMC have settled their dispute some way or another. At New York Comic-Con last year, AMC announced both that “The Walking Dead” was renewed for season 11 and that Cohan would return for that season.
But now it seems like Maggie will actually make her return in the current season, season 10. I say “seems like” because showrunner Angela Kang is being intentionally cryptic about the whole thing. “We may see her at some other point this season,” she told Entertainment Weekly, “But I don’t want to say too much about anything.”
A comment like that would be a strange thing to say if Maggie weren’t going to show up in season 10, just because it creates hope and would probably annoy fans if she didn’t actually appear until season 11. So it feels safe to assume, right now, that Cohan will make some sort of appearance in the next eight episodes. That’s not a promise, of course. Anything could happen. But it’s likely that we’ll see her sooner rather than later.
But the coronavirus pandemic might have thrown a wrench into this whole situation. AMC said last week that Angela Kang and co. are not able to finish the season 10 finale of “The Waking Dead” at the moment, so the current run of episodes will end at the 15th episode of the season. The finale will air eventually — we just don’t know when. And if Maggie was going to make her return in the finale, then that would mean it’ll be much longer than expected before we see her again. Though it would still be in season 10, technically.
Meanwhile, it’s long been theorized that the helicopter that carted Rick away belongs to the same group that we believe Georgie hails from — the Commonwealth, an actual large city of people in Ohio. If that theory pans out, and Georgie’s people are also the helicopter’s people, then there’s also plenty of reason for Rick and Maggie to cross paths in this new corner of the “Walking Dead” universe.
But everything remains shrouded in mystery, and it sounds like nobody involved actually knows at this time what Maggie’s fate will end up being. If Georgie actually is with the Commonwealth, then Maggie’s return will be conveniently timed because the beginning of the Commonwealth story in the comics was intertwined with the end of the Whisperer plot, and it certainly seems at this point like that whole thing will come to a close this season.
So, at least this won’t be a Heath (Corey Hawkins) situation — remember how he went out scavenging with Tara and then just never came back, his fate still undetermined? Maggie will be back. It’s just a matter of time now until it happens.