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Are Maggie’s Days Numbered on The Walking Dead?

Just weeks after losing one of its most important characters, could The Walking Dead be poised to say goodbye to another of its biggest stars next season? Lauren Cohan, who has yet to re-sign her contract to stick with the show beyond Season 8, has some fans worried—but the show’s executive producer Scott Gimple, who will soon step up to serve as the franchise’s chief content officer while Angela Kang takes his place as the series’ first female showrunner, says he’s “incredibly hopeful” the actress will return.

Deadline first noted the prolific collection of pilot offers for Cohan, who plays Maggie on the AMC zombie drama, in early February. Cohan’s contract is up at the end of Season 8, and as Deadline noted, “there had been rumblings that Cohan had sought parity with her male co-stars Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus, who are paid significantly more than all of their female colleagues.”

According to Deadline, pay equity came up early in the negotiations but was not “a make-or-break requirement” for the actress to come back for another season; after all, she joined the show in Season 2, unlike Lincoln and Reedus who have been with it since the beginning. Cohan also was not a series regular until Season 3—but her role on the series has significantly increased in the intervening years, especially as her character began to take the reins of the Hilltop Colony. Multiple sources told Deadline sister site TVLine that the actress was in active negotiations with the network to extend her time on the series, so it’s not time to panic about all those pilot offers—yet.

On Sunday, the back half of The Walking Dead’s eighth season will premiere—starting with the death of Carl Grimes, a character that for a long time was seen as the show’s symbolic future. With the aftermath of Carl’s death just starting to reverberate, losing Maggie would come as a huge blow to the series and its plot, leaving the Hilltop Colony in shambles, with only Jesus—the character, not the religious figure—left in any position to take the wheel. Maggie has also been a fan favorite for years, so it’s reasonable to assume AMC is very interested in keeping Cohan around—which, coupled with her collection of outside offers, could mean a nice pay bump is in store for the actress.

As he spoke with TVLine over the weekend, Gimple said he’s “incredibly hopeful about” the potential to strike a new deal—but lest fans feel completely at ease, he added one caveat: “These things to happen in TV,” he said, referring to actors moving from show to show. “But we’re talking.”

Get Vanity Fair’s HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Full ScreenPhotos:What Time of Year Is It on The Walking Dead?

Daryl Dixon

This photo has a lot of layers—both literal and figurative. Clearly, the hat is a nod to the blistering sun—which, ostensibly, is also responsible for the impressive amount of sweat soaking through Daryl’s shirt. Then again, if it’s so hot, why on earth is Daryl—the king of bare biceps—wearing this loud button-down shirt? For the love of God, if we’re going to give him an unnecessary layer, make it a poncho.Photo: Courtesy of AMC.King Ezekiel

King Ezekiel

King Ezekiel looks like he’s ready for a snowy hiking trip with Bane in that long, fur-lined leather jacket. Somehow, he barely seems to be breaking a sweat—not that you'd see it through that coat.Photo: Courtesy of AMC.Rick Grimes

Rick Grimes

It’s been many a moon since we’ve seen Rick with dry hair. His perpetually sweat-soaked button-downs and water-logged locks are worthy of the desert—or Disney World in the summer. Yet, there he is, talking to be-leathered, unbothered King Ezekiel. If the rule of good leadership is “never let 'em see you sweat,” Rick should be fired immediately.Photo: Courtesy of AMC.Carol Peletier

Carol Peletier

Carol has taken to wearing a heavy-looking, camel-colored coat. And apparently it’s so cold in this scene that even the zombie had to put on her cardigan before stalking her prey.Photo: Courtesy of AMC.Sasha Williams

Sasha Williams

I guess it’s warm? I mean, everyone is definitely less layered than they were during the season premiere, as they all sat in a semi-circle shaking with fear in their jackets and over-shirts and long sleeves. Sasha’s even wearing short sleeves now!Photo: Courtesy of AMC.Maggie Greene

Maggie Greene

Then again, here’s Maggie, in long sleeves and an undershirt with no pit stains! Oh, to have that superpower.Photo: Courtesy of AMC.Enid and Carl

Enid and Carl

I give up. Here are Enid and Carl on roller skates. Enjoy the midseason premiere on Sunday night. I’ll be here, staring at everyone’s clothes and dejectedly muttering to myself.Photo: Courtesy of AMC.PreviousNext

Daryl Dixon

Daryl Dixon

This photo has a lot of layers—both literal and figurative. Clearly, the hat is a nod to the blistering sun—which, ostensibly, is also responsible for the impressive amount of sweat soaking through Daryl’s shirt. Then again, if it’s so hot, why on earth is Daryl—the king of bare biceps—wearing this loud button-down shirt? For the love of God, if we’re going to give him an unnecessary layer, make it a poncho.Courtesy of AMC.

King Ezekiel

King Ezekiel

King Ezekiel looks like he’s ready for a snowy hiking trip with Bane in that long, fur-lined leather jacket. Somehow, he barely seems to be breaking a sweat—not that you'd see it through that coat.Courtesy of AMC.

Rick Grimes

Rick Grimes

It’s been many a moon since we’ve seen Rick with dry hair. His perpetually sweat-soaked button-downs and water-logged locks are worthy of the desert—or Disney World in the summer. Yet, there he is, talking to be-leathered, unbothered King Ezekiel. If the rule of good leadership is “never let 'em see you sweat,” Rick should be fired immediately.Courtesy of AMC.

Carol Peletier

Carol Peletier

Carol has taken to wearing a heavy-looking, camel-colored coat. And apparently it’s so cold in this scene that even the zombie had to put on her cardigan before stalking her prey.Courtesy of AMC.

Negan

Negan

Again: here’s our Big Bad, zipped into his leather jacket, which looks like a thick summer sausage casing—and looking pretty comfy. In one episode, we see Negan all layered up and then totally comfy on the porch with Carl—sporting bare arms. One of those two outfits must be uncomfortable, right?Courtesy of AMC.

Paul Rovia (Jesus)

Paul Rovia (Jesus)

Jesus might be the key to unlocking this puzzle. In recent episodes, he’s been seen without his beanie and jacket—which would imply to us that it’s getting warmer. So perhaps it’s spring? But if that's the case, how are Ezekiel and the Kingdom growing such luscious apples and pomegranates? Back to Square One.Courtesy of AMC.

Tara Chambler

Tara Chambler

Far be it for us to tell a woman how to dress—but why layer two short-sleeved shirts? If it’s warm, this would theoretically be uncomfortable—and if it’s cool, wouldn’t it be easier to simply wear sleeves? Perhaps long-sleeved shirts are in short supply during the zombie apocalypse.Courtesy of AMC.

Morgan Jones

Morgan Jones

Morgan is wearing the same clothing as Rick these days, yet he produces less sweat. That kind of biological poise is why he belongs in a place called the Kingdom, and Rick does not.Courtesy of AMC.

Michonne

Michonne

Speaking of the Kingdom: my kingdom to whoever can explain to me Michonne and Ezekiel's clearly polar opposite body temperatures.Courtesy of AMC.

Eugene Porter

Eugene Porter

God, of course Eugene wears cargo shorts. Or, wait a minute, are those. . . cargo pants? Rolled up? Somehow that’s even more fitting, isn’t it? Yet, you’ll note, as Eugene sweats through his summer look, there's Negan. In leather. Barely sweating a drop.Courtesy of AMC.

Dwight

Dwight

I don’t know, man. I just don’t know.Courtesy of AMC.

Sasha Williams

Sasha Williams

I guess it’s warm? I mean, everyone is definitely less layered than they were during the season premiere, as they all sat in a semi-circle shaking with fear in their jackets and over-shirts and long sleeves. Sasha’s even wearing short sleeves now!Courtesy of AMC.

Maggie Greene

Maggie Greene

Then again, here’s Maggie, in long sleeves and an undershirt with no pit stains! Oh, to have that superpower.Courtesy of AMC.

Enid and Carl

Enid and Carl

I give up. Here are Enid and Carl on roller skates. Enjoy the midseason premiere on Sunday night. I’ll be here, staring at everyone’s clothes and dejectedly muttering to myself.Courtesy of AMC.

Laura BradleyLaura Bradley is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com. She was formerly an editorial assistant at Slate and lives in Brooklyn.

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