Season 9 saw fan-favorite character Maggie (Lauren Cohan) from depart the cast, but she returned for the season 10 finale — so why did the actor leave the series only to come back a season later? Maggie was one of two huge cast departures to occur during season 9, the other of course being Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) himself. Rick wasn't dead, but he never returned outside an ending credit scene in the finale. He is set to appear in a spinoff show with Michonne, and that last scene on the original series was just to set that up.
A side effect of , in the same episode to boot, was that Maggie's exit never got the attention it deserved. While she too survived, the character was rarely mentioned during her absence. In their defense, though, The Whisperers kept the survivors pretty preoccupied. By season 11,Maggie was once again a major fixture on the AMC series. But why was Maggie written out of the show for an entire season in the first place? Here's the reason Maggie left in season 9 only to return in the season 10 finale.
In her final appearance during season 9, Maggie finally seemed to get past . After Rick's presumed death and the time jump, Maggie was gone, and it's said she went off with Georgie to help build a new community. In season 10 finale, Maggie is shown reading a letter written by Carol detailing the dark events and deaths that have befallen her friends, motivating her return. That's what happened onscreen, but offscreen events present a different context for Maggie's departure and return.
Prior to season 9, Lauren Cohan engaged in a contentious pay dispute with producers, demanding the same pay received by her male co-stars of similar seniority. Another complication was Cohan starring in an ABC spy comedy pilot called , which got picked up for a full first season. With those two factors in play, Cohan ultimately reached a deal for a limited , appearing only in the first half of the season before exiting the story (and also presumably receiving that desired raise).
showrunner Angela Kang made it clear that the door was open for Cohan's Maggie to come back someday, and that day ended up arriving sooner than expected, as was canceled after a mere 13 episodes by ABC. It was initially announced that Maggie was returning for season 11, but evidently, the decision was made to have her appear in the season 10 finale and subsequent "bonus episodes" too.
Since coming back to the cast, Cohan's Maggie fully reinserted herself into the mix, most notably entering a contentious alliance with her old nemesis Negan. Maggie was understandably resistant to working with , her husband, even if Negan has seemingly changed. With heading into the final chapter of its concluding 11th season, Maggie was there to stay for the rest of the home stretch.
Maggie from returned at the end of season 10 and stayed until the end. She started in Alexandria, where she begrudgingly had to work alongside Negan. After displaying how cold she'd become as a character when she let two thieves get eaten by Walkers, she, Daryl, and the rest of her group go from the frying pan to the fire when ambushed by Reapers. When her group was scattered, she found herself again working with Negan to survive, and she abandoned her plans to kill him, pointing out they need each other to overcome the Reapers. He even trained her on how to .
This relationship played out through finale. When reaching the Commonwealth, Maggie found an enemy in the untrusting and ruthless Pamela Milton. When Pamela kidnaps Maggie's son Hershel, Rick's daughter Judith, and other children, it pushed Maggie into a corner. Maggie went to murder Pamela in the finale, but shockingly, it was Negan who stopped her, saying it would take away what was left of her goodness. Negan finally laid his soul bare to Maggie in the end. Maggie never had to kill Pamela, as Pamela's own allies turned on the Commonwealth governor, forcing her to surrender.
Maggie from will remain tied to Negan, even with the main show coming to an end. While Lauren Cohan left , and it seemed she was finished, the show not only pulled her back in but ensured she outlasted the original series. with Carol and Daryl ended up changed when Melissa McBride chose to walk away, the one with Negan and Maggie will move on. The new Walking Dead series is titled and it will take things somewhere fans of the franchise have yet to see.
Negan and Maggie from are leaving the woods and heading into New York City. The trailer shows that a group of survivors kidnap Maggie and Glenn's son Herschel. While she wanted nothing to do with Negan for so long, Maggie knows she needs help and there isn't a better option than Negan when it comes to heading to New York City to rescue him. The new series premieres in June 2023 on AMC.