The ninth season of The Walking Dead promises to take fans into a new era of the zombie apocalypse, and not just because of the significant time jump. Two longtime regulars will depart, and while details are still scarce about the circumstances of their departures, we can at least be sure that one of them will have the chance to be back in front of the camera beyond Season 9. New showrunner Angela Kang said this about Lauren Cohan playing Maggie in Season 10:
We still plan to tell more story with Maggie. Lauren wants to. It will just be subject to her schedule. But hopefully we have her back next season.
Lauren Cohan is only slated to appear in some episodes of the first half of The Walking Dead Season 9 at this point, but the actress has been open about the fact that Maggie's fate will not be 100% sealed when she departs as a series regular. While many viewers are more or less expecting Rick to bite the dust to accommodate Andrew Lincoln's decision to leave the zombie apocalypse behind, we haven't had to worry about Maggie being killed off. According to TV Guide, Angela Kang doesn't intend to send Magge off the show with no idea of how to bring her back.
As of now, we can only speculate about what will result in Maggie's departure and how the story could be open for her to return in Season 10. Given that the time jump means that Maggie finally had her baby, my money is on her role as a mother taking her away from Hilltop. As much as she takes her position as leader of Hilltop seriously, we can bet that she'll do whatever it takes to protect her child. The baby is all that she has left of Glenn. Could she decide to relocate elsewhere once the Whisperers are on the scene?
A great deal is still up in the air at this point. Lauren Cohan won't be altogether absent from the small screen despite leaving the AMC series that was her home for more than seven years. She landed a leading role in ABC's midseason series Whiskey Cavalier, alongside Scott Foley. If Whiskey Cavalier is a hit, Cohan's schedule may be pretty tight. We can only hope that whatever plans Angela Kang and Co. have for Maggie in Season 10 can indeed fit into however much time Cohan will have available next year.
Lauren Cohan's willingness to return is a reason for optimism. Despite rumors that she was leaving due to a salary dispute, Cohan cleared the air and has openly stated that The Walking Dead isn't writing out Maggie in any kind of permanent way. That may not be the case for Rick, although at least we can count on Andrew Lincoln returning in a different capacity.