In her final appearance during season 9, Maggie seemed to get past . After Rick's presumed death and the time jump, Maggie was gone, and it's said she went off with Georgie to help build a new community. In season 10 finale, Maggie is shown reading a letter written by Carol detailing the dark events and deaths that have befallen her friends, motivating her return. That's what happened onscreen, but offscreen events present a different context for Maggie's departure and return.
Prior to season 9, Lauren Cohan engaged in a contentious pay dispute with producers, requesting the same pay received by her male co-stars of similar seniority. Another complication was Cohan starring in an ABC spy comedy pilot called , which got picked up for a full first season. With those two factors in play, Cohan ultimately reached a deal for a limited , appearing only in the first half of the season before exiting the story (and also presumably receiving that desired raise).
showrunner Angela Kang made it clear that the door was open for Cohan's Maggie to come back someday, and that day ended up arriving sooner than expected, as was canceled after its 13-episode first season 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. Maggie returned to in season 10 simply because Cohan was able to.
Since coming back to the cast, Cohan's Maggie fully reinserted herself into the mix, most notably entering a reluctant alliance with her old nemesis Negan. Maggie was understandably resistant to working with , her husband, even if Negan had seemingly changed. With heading into the final chapter of its concluding 11th season, Maggie was there to stay for the rest of the home stretch.
Maggie from returned at the end of season 10 and stayed until the end. She started in Alexandria, where she begrudgingly had to work alongside Negan. After displaying how cold she'd become as a character when she let two thieves get eaten by Walkers, she, Daryl, and the rest of her group go from the frying pan to the fire when ambushed by Reapers. When her group was scattered, she found herself again working with Negan to survive, and she abandoned her plans to kill him, pointing out they needed each other to overcome the Reapers. He even trained her on how to .
This relationship played out through finale. When reaching the Commonwealth, Maggie found an enemy in the untrusting and ruthless Pamela Milton. When Pamela kidnaped Maggie's son Hershel, Rick's daughter Judith, and other children, it pushed Maggie into a corner. Maggie went to murder Pamela in the finale, but shockingly, it was Negan who stopped her, saying it would take away what was left of her goodness. Negan finally laid his soul bare to Maggie in the end. Maggie never had to kill Pamela, as Pamela's own allies turned on the Commonwealth governor, forcing her to surrender.
Maggie from remains tied to Negan, even with the main show coming to an end. While Lauren Cohan left , and it seemed she was finished, the show not only pulled her back in but ensured she outlasted the original series. While with Carol and Daryl changed when Melissa McBride chose to walk away, the one with Negan and Maggie continues. spin-off series is titled and moves Maggie and Negan to New York following the events of the main series.
In the first season of the series, a group of survivors kidnaps Maggie and Glenn's son Herschel, and Maggie initially enlists Negan to help her travel to Manhattan to get him back. Maggie appears to bury the hatchet with him, but in reality, she spends the season leading Negan into a trap, trading him for Herschel. Herschel accuses Maggie of being so obsessed with Negan that sometimes he thinks she’s more concerned with the man who killed his father than she is with him. There might be truth to Herschel’s accusations, as Maggie and Negan remain connected even when the season comes to an end.
That’s because Maggie knows that the same people who have Negan and want to use his skills are willing to come after her son again. Though the two might remain at odds, they both care for the well-being of Herschel, which could still help them find common ground in the future of the franchise. has been renewed for a second season, allowing the two of them to continue their story in the future.