[Spoilers follow for last night’s episode of The Walking Dead.]
The Walking Dead’s most recent episode, “What Comes After,” got a lot of attention for being the final appearance of Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes. But another long-running character also took their final bow last night—for this season, anyway, and possibly all subsequent ones.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lauren Cohan’s Maggie Rhee has also been seen for the last time in season nine, as confirmed by showrunner Angela Kang. Yes, apparently not killing Negan was all the motivation Maggie needed to abandon the people she’s been with all this time, and presumably set aside her position as the leader of Hilltop in the process. To be fair, it looks like the show is taking a giant leap forward in the timeline starting next week—as teased by one of the stupidest epilogues in the show’s lengthy history—so there could be any number of reasons for Maggie to have departed during that span of time. One of the most popular theories (and one at least somewhat hinted at by the show) is that she decided to join Georgie, the leader of the trio of women who appeared last season, acted weird, and gave Maggie a book about how to build a sustainable future. That was an interesting subplot, and given there was no real explanation of how the hell they managed to survive, Maggie joining them might give them a fighting chance—though it seems like a dumb choice in terms of the safest lifestyle option for her infant son.
Whereas Lincoln’s Rick won’t be returning to the show, but will be starring in some stand-alone films set in the Walking Dead universe (thanks to one of the all-time obnoxious walkbacks of a character farewell in recent memory), it’s an open question whether Cohan’s Maggie rejoins the series for some episodes on down the road. “We’ve been talking to Lauren and hopefully we’ll get to tell more story for her,” says Kang. “We definitely have some things up our sleeve that we’d love to do. A lot of that is just a scheduling conversation, so hopefully that will all work out, because I think mutually we would like to continue with Maggie’s story, for sure.” A lot of that will probably depend on the success or failure of Cohan’s new ABC drama Whiskey Cavalier. If it bombs, expect to see Maggie suddenly pop up next season, possibly with a smile and a “Sorry about that, I was off doing something that definitely makes sense for my character.” But if Cohan’s new show is a hit, perhaps we’ll just see a card informing viewers Maggie died on the way back to her home planet.