Why Maggie Left In Season 9 (& Returns In Season 10)

Why Maggie Left In Season 9 (& Returns In Season 10)

The Walking Dead season 9 saw fan favorite character Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan) depart the cast, but she’ll soon return for season 10’s finale.

While The Walking Dead season 9 saw fan-favorite character Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan) depart the cast, she returned for season 10’s finale — so why did the actress leave the series only to come back a season later? Maggie was one of two huge cast departures to occur during season 9, the other of course being Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) himself. Rick may not be dead, but he might as well be in the context of the show, as he’s only set to appear in Walking Dead spinoff movies from now on, and not on the AMC series.

A side effect of Rick leaving during the same Walking Dead season, in the same episode to boot, was that Maggie’s exit never really got the attention it deserved. While she too survived, the character was rarely mentioned during her absence. In their defense though, The Whisperers kept the survivors pretty preoccupied.

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Related: Walking Dead’s Spinoffs Are Killing The Show’s Biggest Strength For Season 11

By The Walking Dead season 11, Maggie is once again a major fixture on the AMC series. But why was Maggie written out of the show for an entire season in the first place? It’s complicated.

Why Maggie Left The Walking Dead In Season 9

Maggie in The Walking Dead Season 10 Finale

In her final Walking Dead appearance during season 9, Maggie finally seemed to get past her obsession with killing Negan. After Rick’s presumed death and the time jump, Maggie is gone, and it’s said she went off with Georgie to help build a new community. In The Walking Dead season 10 finale, Maggie is shown reading a letter written by Carol detailing the dark events and deaths that have befallen her friends, spurring on her return. That’s what happened onscreen, but offscreen events present a different context for Maggie’s departure and return.

Prior to The Walking Dead season 9, Lauren Cohan engaged in a contentious pay dispute with producers, demanding the same pay received by her male co-stars of similar seniority. Another complication was Cohan starring in an ABC spy comedy pilot called Whiskey Cavalier, which got picked up for a full first season. With those two factors in play, Cohan ultimately reached a deal for a limited Walking Dead return, appearing in only the first half of the season before exiting the story, and also presumably receiving that wanted raise.

Why Maggie Returned To The Walking Dead In Season 10

Lauren Cohan as Maggie in The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 16

Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang made it clear that the door was open for Cohan’s Maggie to come back someday, and that day ended up being sooner than expected, as Whiskey Cavalier was canceled after a mere 13 episodes by ABC. It was initially announced that Maggie was returning for season 11, but evidently the decision was made to have her appear in the season 10 finale and subsequent “bonus episodes” too.

Since coming back to the cast, Cohan’s Maggie has fully reinserted herself into the mix, most notably being a contentious alliance with her old enemy Negan. Maggie is understandably resistant to working with the man who killed her husband Glenn, even if Negan has seemingly changed. With The Walking Dead now headed into the second third of its eleventh and final season, Maggie looks here to stay for the rest of the home stretch, at least until if and when she’s killed off. As audiences are well aware, The Walking Dead loves to kill major characters.

More: Walking Dead Theory: Rick Grimes Will Die In The Movie Trilogy

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