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Similar to how Fear the Walking Dead embraced new directions with Season 4, The Walking Dead is finally set to take on the comic book's post-war time jump. Along with some major location evolution likely inspired by Georgie's plans and schematics, The Walking Dead Season 9 will also probably throw some big changes at its core characters, with Maggie being the likeliest current candidate for change, since actress Lauren Cohan has ABC's new drama Whiskey Cavalier debuting in the future. Understandably, Cohan's time at Hilltop will be limited now, and Maggie is currently only set to appear in six Season 9 episodes.
It was only recently that months of contract negotiations came to an end between Cohan and AMC, and according to Deadline, that deal was for the actress to appear in six of the eight episodes that make up the first half of Season 9. Considering how fractured the timeline has been for the past few seasons, it shouldn't be all that noticeable that Maggie won't be around for two of those installments. Especially if there are standalone episodes focused on a small handful of characters.
Lauren Cohan is able to get those half-dozen Walking Dead episodes filmed because the AMC drama's production is set earlier than that of Whiskey Cavalier, which is preparing to expand its pilot's foundation starting this summer. Thankfully, there are ways for Cohan to return to the show in the back half of Season 9 and beyond, meaning we don't necessarily have to start planning for Maggie's funeral yet. Only, there's not a whole lot of optimism that this will happen, especially if Whiskey Cavalier turns into a big success. Why?
At this point, Lauren Cohan is contractually allowed to return to film more Walking Dead episodes during the production hiatuses for Whiskey Cavalier, though we're not sure how any of those hiatuses would match up with the zombie drama's Georgia-set production. Timing isn't the only complication, though. According to Deadline, Cohan's current six-episode contract is exactly that, and any further appearances in this season or another would require another round of negotiations. Should the process be as troublesome as it was this last time, it wouldn't be unquestionable for the actress to choose not to keep returning. Of course, it's possible the six-episode contract was held up by certain details that wouldn't be an issue the next time.
As evidenced by some of the early reports and imagery, The Walking Dead Season 9 is bringing a sense of familiar society to its survivors by pushing forward to a point where there will be a windmill helping things along, as well as some other pre-industrial devices that add sustainability to Alexandria, Hilltop and elsewhere. In the comics, Maggie is as important as Rick is to the growth and culture of the communities, and I was looking forward to seeing all of that come to life for the next few years, especially with how Maggie ended things in the finale. Some of that still might happen, obviously, but just as it goes in the Dead-verse itself, there are no guarantees.
Of course, I'm also excited for Whiskey Cavalier, which pairs Lauren Cohan's ass-kicking CIA operative (nicknamed "Fiery Tribune") with Scandal vet Scott Foley's titularly nicknamed FBI agent, and sounds like a great mix of silly spy action and relatable character-driven stories. Stay tuned to see when it'll hit ABC's schedule, and while waiting to hear more about when The Walking Dead Season 9 will debut on AMC, hit up our summer premiere schedule for everything coming to primetime soon.