The preview trailer for The Walking Dead Season 8 finale provided a number of clues of what will go down, but one character seemed suspiciously absent. It would be particularly devastating if Maggie dies in The Walking Dead season finale on April 15, not only because she's the leader of the Hilltop but because she's such a beloved fixture of the show. While any character could die at any moment in the series, it doesn't seem like the right time for Maggie to go, as she is pregnant and just settling into her leadership role. However, there may be forces beyond what makes sense for the story that could dictate whether Lauren Cohan is leaving The Walking Dead or not. So it's worth preparing for the notion that another original character could be killed off during this all-out war. Spoilers ahead.
UPDATE: Maggie survived the Season 8 finale, though she's out for revenge because Rick and Michonne allowed Glenn's murderer Negan to live.
EARLIER: Deadline reported that, as of March 10, Cohan had yet to sign a contract for The Walking Dead Season 9. In February, TVLine reported that Season 9 begins filming in May, which is only a month away now. And another concerning factor for TWD fans is that Cohan has signed on to star in a new ABC pilot. The Hollywood Reporter noted that Cohan will appear in the spy dramedy Whiskey Cavalier opposite Scott Foley.
It's possible that Whiskey Cavalier could not get picked up to become a regular series and, even if it did, that Cohan would still be able to appear in The Walking Dead. But it's disappointing to hear that the actor has reportedly struggled to receive a satisfactory contract from AMC. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cohan hasn't been seeking parity with Andrew Lincoln or Norman Reedus (her male costars have received higher salaries than her), but unnamed sources told the outlet that she and her agents have been disappointed with what salary has been offered to her. Other sources said that AMC has made "aggressive offers" in an effort to keep Cohan. But another clue indicates that a salary dispute is the heart of the matter; costar Khary Payton, who plays Ezekiel, posted a photo of Cohan on Instagram with the caption, "Pay the woman." (Bustle reached out to AMC for comment on the negotiations, but did not receive a response.)
On March 22, The Independent reported that Cohan still didn't have a renewed contract, but that Lincoln seemed to believe that she would return. "Lauren is a good friend and wonderful actress. What she has created with the role of Maggie has had an enormous impact on the world of The Walking Dead," Lincoln told The Independent. "I would be surprised if Maggie Rhee wasn't leading from the front as she always has done next season. That is, of course, if she and Rick make it through the next four episodes."
While Maggie wasn't introduced in Season 1 — like Rick, Daryl, and Carol — she's been part of the central ensemble since Season 2. And it would be a major blow to the show to lose yet another core character. Sure, Maggie hasn't been as involved in the core plot of Season 8 as she has been in some past seasons, but she's pivotal to the future of humanity. A few episodes ago, a mysterious woman named Georgie gave Maggie the blueprints to build a more technologically advanced society.
Then there's Maggie's pregnancy to consider. While The Walking Dead hasn't shied away from brutal deaths of young characters, killing off Maggie while she's pregnant with Glenn's baby seems too harsh even for the zombie apocalypse. If the show killed off Maggie, it would be killing off the hope for the future — in more ways than one.
All said, Maggie is shown on the battlefield in preview photos from the season finale, "Wrath." So even if you ignore what's happening in real life with Cohan's contract, Maggie will be in danger (along with everyone else) in the finale. After the loss of Carl, the idea of losing Maggie right now just feels absurdly cruel. If it's any consolation (spoiler!), Maggie survives the battle with the Saviors in the comics. So as long as all the real-world details get ironed out, Maggie still has a lot of living to do on The Walking Dead and there's no reason for the show to let her go yet.