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Spoilers below for The Walking Dead's Season 8 finale, so be sure to watch before reading on.
The course of The Walking Dead's live-action All Out War saw many changes from the way things went in the source material, from the way Dwight's story progressed to Eugene's presumed heel turn to the sheer existence of Simon's swagger. Maggie's rise to dominance within Hilltop also had a few striking differences from the comic book, and in keeping Negan's wounded-but-alive fate intact in the adaptation, the show is introducing the character's most fantastic turn yet. As revealed in the finale's final minutes, Maggie is dead-set on getting revenge on Rick and Michonne for sparing Negan's life, and Daryl is so on board.
This surprising turn of events certainly has a strong foundation within the story itself. Maggie's life was partly destroyed when Negan brought Lucille down on Glenn's head, which was a heinous act that can likely never be met with Maggie's forgiveness. Since then, many of her waking thoughts have been fully devoted to Negan's death, however it needed to happen. Rick is obviously no stranger to that volcanic fire burning inside her, since his botched assassination attempt happened entirely with her desires in mind, and his own murderous rampages have been as like-minded as they come. So when Rick made it clear that he wanted Negan to live, Maggie's only natural response was to scream in distress and disbelief.
But that's not all that was going on in her head, as revealed in those all-too-interesting final moments. She made it abundantly clear, to Jesus of all people, that she was not AT ALL a fan of how Rick and Michonne allowed Negan to survive, and that while she planned to be nonchalant about her feelings for the time being, that she would eventually hold Rick and Michonne responsible for those actions. She sounded ready to deliver something a lot more painful than just stern lessons and slaps on wrists, too, so this is a Maggie that Rick should be very, very wary of. And with Daryl also in her corner, things are going to get very complicated for many of The Walking Dead's longest-surviving characters. Will we see The Walking Dead: Civil War? Perhaps.
Now, Comic Maggie definitely isn't a fan of Negan having survived beyond the All Out War, and she does go above and beyond to make her hatred felt. So that isn't the point of contention here. Rather, the full-on blame directed at Rick and Michonne is what stands out as being a change-up from the page to the screen, as Maggie was never really utilized as a threat to Rick in such a way. Sure, she and Rick have argued, and his comic book decisions do take a toll on the way Maggie views his decision-making skills. But only peaking with a heated argument or two, and not with whatever TV Maggie is cooking up behind those callous eyes.
Comic Maggie is capable of committing some truly ruthless acts when the situation calls for it, though she usually didn't have any of the protagonists as the target of her ire. But Lauren Cohan's Maggie is gloriously capable of changing the game in dangerous ways in Season 9, assuming she doesn't just let these vengeful feelings sit on the back burner until they're forgotten. And we doubt that'll happen, since Daryl will be right there to remind her about that time he ate dog food for his meals.
Of course, for any of this to happen, Lauren Cohan does need to actually return for Season 9, a situation that is still up in the air, due to contract negotiations still not being finalized between Cohan and the show. She's got another TV project in the pipeline, though, which doesn't bode well for Maggie's full-time presence in the next batch of episodes. That technically might not be a problem, since the potential timeline jump could change things up so that Maggie isn't seen as often. However it goes, we're hoping for Maggie's story to get bigger and better as it goes on, even if it means Rick's downfall.
The Walking Dead Season 9 won't be hitting AMC until October or so, which means we've got a lot of guessing to do in the meantime. Until then, check out what we learned about Fear the Walking Dead's new character Althea from star Maggie Grace, and then head to our midseason premiere schedule and our summer premiere schedule to see what other shows are on the way.