Lauren Cohan has elaborated on her decision to leave The Walking Dead and board new ABC spy dramedy Whiskey Cavalier.
“She gets to shower. She brushes her hair, sometimes,” Cohan joked of her new character Francesca ‘Frankie’ Trowbridge during the Television Critics Association press tour (via E! Online).
More seriously, Cohan explained, “I was just like, I’ve done this show for a long time. It was a long time to play a character, and sometimes you just get quiet and listen to your inner guidance and it’s time to multitask.”
Cohan boarded The Walking Dead in its sophomore season in 2011 and played Maggie Rhee (née Greene) across seven-and-a-half seasons until her quiet, off-screen exit in November’s “What Comes After,” the sendoff episode for Rick Grimes star Andrew Lincoln.
It would later surprise Michonne (Danai Gurira) to learn Maggie and son Hershel departed the Hilltop community and the Hilltop leader is off “someplace far” with Georgie (Jayne Atkinson), helping the benefactor with an as-yet-unrevealed new community.
Cohan acknowledged there have been talks of reprising her role in a potential spinoff, but noted everything beyond early conversations is “so ambiguous.”
“It’s early days,” Cohan said. “We’ll just have to — me, as much as anybody — see what happens.”
As showrunner Angela Kang readies a tenth season of The Walking Dead involving a returned Maggie in a limited capacity, Cohan didn’t struggle with lining up a new gig: the actress said she “had the pick of the litter” when picking a new role.
“I got to go to a territory that was fun,” she said of Whiskey Cavalier, where she headlines with Scott Foley and reunites with Walking Dead alum Tyler James Willams.
“A light one-hour fun show that also still has a lot of sentiment and a lot of heart, and for me, I’ve wanted to do comedy for so long, and this is sort of the perfect segue because I love action.”
As Frankie, codename “Fiery Tribune,” Cohan plays a character different from both herself and the zombie-slaying Maggie.
“The character challenges me hugely because she doesn’t apologize and she doesn’t care, she just doesn’t understand why everybody doesn’t operate more like Frankie, and I’m not like that,” she said.
“I’m concerned by how I’m going to affect someone with what I do. There’s a lot of freedom in playing somebody like this.”
Kang is hopeful The Walking Dead is able to lure Cohan back for future stories, telling ComicBook.com of working around Whiskey, “I hope it’ll work. We’ll cross that bridge [when we get to it].”
“Lauren and I have had conversations, and she’s excited to come back, even if it’s not for a full season. We can work with that,” Kang told us.
“That’s scheduling problems. We’ll figure out the story. She’s great. We have a great relationship, and she still loves the show. Sometimes our actors need to spread their wings a little bit. We get that.”
The Walking Dead Season Nine returns with new episodes Sunday on AMC. ABC will offer an hour-long sneak peek premiere of Whiskey Cavalier immediately following the 91st Academy Awards Sunday, February 24.