Lauren Cohan’s Maggie Rhee is gunning for Negan in The Walking Dead season 9 — but could the widowed single mom and Hilltop leader find forgiveness for the man who mercilessly murdered her husband?
Asked during The Walking Dead’s San Diego Comic-Con panel if Maggie could ever forgive Negan for killing Glenn, Cohan tiptoed her answer — saying instead the new season will confront its characters with such hard-hitting questions.
“I think… I think it’s gonna be interesting. Because I think we all have ideas about what we would do in certain situations and who we want to be and the legacy we want to leave,” Cohan said. “And when it really, really, really, really comes down to it, what do you do?”
“So that’s what the season’s about, see you guys later,” Cohan added before jokingly — and suspiciously — pretending to leave the panel.
During the downsized panel with co-stars Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, and Danai Gurira, Negan actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan hinted at a confrontation with Maggie when he revealed Negan will share scenes this season with characters he’s only briefly encountered:
“He’s having to face some stuff, I think internally, as well as outside his jail, that he’s never had to face before. So we’re gonna see some different sides,” Morgan said of the unseated Savior leader.
“And in saying that, Negan’s also getting an opportunity to interact with some people that are up on this stage that he hasn’t really had the chance to interact with before, which I think has been super fun for myself and Negan.”
Opening up about Negan’s new status quo as caged convict instead of crowned ruler, Morgan said the bat-swinging bad guy will be “fighting some inner demons” and his prison sentence is forcing Negan to “take a good long, hard look in the mirror and maybe not enjoying what he’s seeing, and certainly not enjoying jail very much.”
Cohan will exit The Walking Dead in the sixth episode of season 9, but said Maggie’s story is left “open-ended” — leaving the door open for a possible return down the line.
With the series veteran soon to exit, the show could accelerate the Maggie/Negan story as it played out in the Robert Kirkman-scripted comic books: there, Negan was eventually freed of his captivity and took part in the strife against newcomer enemies the Whisperers — who were confirmed by the trailer ahead of their arrival to the TV series in season 9 — and sought redemption, course-correcting from hated villain to wanting-to-do-right anti-hero.
Maggie and Negan had their penultimate confrontation in The Walking Dead #174, where a tearful and repentant Negan apologized for Glenn’s murder and encouraged Maggie to kill him.
“No. I’m not going to give you what you want,” she told Negan, walking away. “You have to live with what you’ve done.”
Could a similar scene play out in the TV show? Morgan seems to think so. “We’re going to see a new side of Negan quickly in [season 9],” Morgan said during Comic-Con, adding, “I think there’s redemption for Negan.”
The Walking Dead season 9 premieres Sunday, October 7 on AMC.