With Lauren Cohan set to exit The Walking Dead this season, alongside original star Andrew Lincoln, the actress has been careful to note this isn’t necessarily the last fans of her will see on the show. Instead, she says Maggie’s story is left “open-ended.” That’s a massive change of course, given that most departing characters on The Walking Dead wind up dead or turning into zombies.
Now, after wrapping her final scenes on the series, for now, Cohan opened up to GameSpot about saying goodbye to The Walking Dead. “I’ve been really busy, so I’ve been definitely distracted from getting too much into my thoughts about it,” she tells GameSpot while promoting her new film Mile 22. “But I had a lot of time to think about it before I came back to Walking Dead this season. And what the show means to me, what my family there means to me, what my time there has meant, and how this role has impacted my life which is immeasurable.”
As for the decision to keep Maggie’s fate on the series open-ended, she’s quick to note it doesn’t mean she’ll return to the show, though that is certainly a possibility. Instead, Cohan feels like this is the proper way to say goodbye to Maggie, as the show reaches the end of her story at this point.
“It feels like the greatest way to honor it is to keep it open-ended because whether it’s about me going back as Maggie or whether it’s about me just taking in, absorbing, and honoring everything I’ve learned there,” she says. “It never leaves me. It will never, ever leave me. And that is I think the greatest compliment you can give to anything and to any group of people because we all came together to make something that we didn’t know was going to have this success that it did.”
In many ways, she also grew up as an actor on the show. “It taught me to trust in such an important, creative way,” she explains. “I don’t think I can ever shake that. Once you have an experience like that, it really dictates the measure of how you want to connect with people going forward in my work.”
Now, as she looks to life after the zombie apocalypse, Cohan is stretching her acting wings. Whether it’s the espionage drama Whiskey Cavalier she’s starring in on ABC or her new action movie Mile 22, in which she stars alongside Mark Wahlberg and Ronda Rousey, she’s taking on projects a far cry from characters simply trying to survive in a dying world.
“I feel so honored that [director Peter Berg] wanted me to be involved in Mile 22 and that Mark wanted me to be involved in Mile 22,” she says. “It was a quick casting process. I made my tape and then I had a little bit of feedback that Pete liked it and wanted to meet me. And when I sat down to meet with him, he told me there on the spot that I had the part. I was so overwhelmed with pride that he wanted me to be involved in one of his projects. And somebody that I respect so much, I was just pinching myself.”
Mile 22 is in theaters on August 17.