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The Walking Dead will look very different by the end of the first half of Season 9 due to the departures of two longtime regulars. Lauren Cohan is leaving the zombie apocalypse series after a limited number of episodes, and although Maggie apparently won't be killed off to accommodate her departure, it will be strange to watch the series without her around on a regular basis. Cohan understandably has been reflecting on how she spent the better part of a decade fighting zombies and enduring tragedies as poor Maggie, and she shared some of those thoughts recently, saying this:
It feels like the greatest way to honor it is to keep it open-ended because whether it's about me going back as Maggie or whether it's about me just taking in, absorbing, and honoring everything I've learned there. It never leaves me. It will never, ever leave me. And that is I think the greatest compliment you can give to anything and to any group of people because we all came together to make something that we didn't know was going to have this success that it did.
Unlike many other Walking Dead actors who have left the show, Lauren Cohan gets to have an open-ended departure from the show in Season 9 rather than her character getting killed off. Andrew Lincoln's departure sounds pretty permanent, which has led many to speculate (with some awesomely wild theories) that he'll be dead by the end of his final episode. We still don't know how Maggie will take her leave of Hilltop, although my money is on her new baby having something to do with it. Could the Whisperers play a part in why she leaves? That would certainly leave her with the potential to return if/when the Whisperers are defeated, and a lot may have changed in Maggie's circumstances due to the time jump.
Lauren Cohan has a lot to look forward to in her career even after she's no longer a regular on The Walking Dead, so it's lovely to learn via her comments to GameSpot that she still thinks so highly of the show and the people she worked with on it. Her character hasn't had an easy time of it, and it would be understandable if she revealed that she was exhausted by playing all the pain and suffering for the better part of eight seasons, but she has nothing but praise for her experience on the show. Of course, she may not speak of her contract negotiations in such glowing terms. Nevertheless, she hasn't shown any bitterness, and she even opened up to explain that the negotiations were standard rather than problematic.
At this point, I'm just hoping that Maggie sticks around long enough to show off everything she learned from Georgie and interact with Alpha. While there's no confirmation that Georgie herself will be back any time soon, it would be a pleasure to see Lauren Cohan face off against Samantha Morton as Alpha. We already have an idea that a different actor won't get the chance to interact with Alpha. Wouldn't it be a shame if we never got a scene between these two talented actresses?