ABC has given a series order to Whiskey Cavalier, an action dramedy starring The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan as a lead — a move that could ultimately determine Maggie Rhee’s fate.
The Disney-owned network announced Friday the series had been picked up with Cohan starring opposite Scott Foley, the pair acting as a CIA operative and FBI agent forced to partner as they “lead an inter-agency team of flawed, funny and heroic spies who periodically save the world.”
Cohan fielded several offers in free agency earlier this year after her Walking Dead contract expired with season 8. As first reported by Deadline, the series veteran sought a pay increase — which lead to a standoff with AMC, who produces and airs The Walking Dead.
AMC offered Cohan a “modest salary increase” in exchange for a long-term contract, Deadline reported, an offer that was rejected by Cohan’s camp as is a standard practice in talent re-negotiations.
This left the actress free to explore other opportunities: Cohan was reportedly “actively looking” for her next role amid contract battles with AMC and had nearly half a dozen offers on the table.
Later that month, Cohan booked Whiskey Cavalier, a pilot that — like most pilots — was not guaranteed to go to series. Whiskey was picked up just little over two weeks after Cohan's Walking Dead season 9 return was confirmed when the actress told Entertainment Weekly “I’m coming back.”
“There’s a lot more Maggie story to tell,” Cohan said, adding she’s “not allowed to tell you anything, but it’s good.”
Now that Whiskey Cavalier is moving forward, The Walking Dead will either have to kill Maggie — as is standard for the zombie series, where (almost) no one is safe — or feature Cohan in a reduced capacity as result of her Whiskey commitments.
It would be an unwelcome move for fans, considering the fan-favorite Maggie plays a role of increased importance as the now-leader of the Hilltop community — a role that becomes even beefier in the post-war era of the comics to be explored by the show this fall.
But then the live-action series has often veered away from Robert Kirkman's comic book series, something that was reinforced when the television show killed Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs), whose comic book counterpart is still among the living and poised to replace a hobbled Rick Grimes as series lead.
Deadline later reported Cohan closed a deal to appear in six episodes of The Walking Dead’s eight-episode fall half-season, expected to premiere on AMC in October.
That doesn’t mean you should expect Maggie to be killed by episode 9x06: as longtime viewers know, The Walking Dead regularly has episodes where its biggest characters don’t appear, with even series lead Andrew Lincoln sitting out some episodes.
It could mean Maggie will be involved in six of the eight episodes slated for season 9A, with future appearances this season (or beyond) to come on a case-by-case basis.
Deadline revealed Cohan has been cleared to film Walking Dead during her hiatus from Whiskey, but would still need to negotiate a deal for that. If Whiskey hadn't gone to series, AMC would have been able to negotiate Cohan's full-time return.
Whether or not Cohan's long-time survivor meets her end sometime during season 9, fans will be seeing less of Maggie moving forward — especially if the hourlong spy dramedy proves a hit for ABC.3comments
The actress was spotted in season 9 set photos that appear to confirm a significant time jump for Walking Dead, which could mean the mother-to-be might have delivered Glenn's baby in-between seasons.
The Walking Dead returns this fall on AMC.