Walking Away from 'The Walking Dead?'

Now in its eighth season, The Walking Dead continues to be one of those popular shows on television. Throughout the show’s run, we as an audience have been introduced to many exciting and interesting conflicts, ideals, and most importantly characters. Characters such as Rick Grimes, Daryl Dixon, Michonne, Carol Peletier, and more.

Sadly, great characters on this show are often killed off, many times in fact, to drive the story or to just show how dark the world they live in has become. Disappointingly however, the show may lose one of their greatest characters due to what is going on behind the scenes. More specifically, due to an actress not getting the salary she deserves.

 

Played by English actress Lauren Cohan, Maggie Greene is one of the most essential and influential characters of the series. Introduced in the second season, Maggie starts off as a farm hand on her family's farm who, due to the “luck” of their farm, is relatively inexperienced with the post-apocalyptic world. As the show progresses however, Maggie becomes very experienced in how this world works and is shown to be one the most independent and strongest members of the main group.

Maggie is one of the show’s greatest leaders and by the beginning of season eight she has even become the leader of a community, The Hilltop Colony. Maggie is a character that is significant to The Walking Dead, always growing and showing great strength. Despite the major role Maggie plays,Cohan is still significantly underpaid compared to her male co-stars. This has caused Cohan to pursue a salary increase starting next season. 

 

The idea and negotiations for a raise started in mid-February of this year. Cohan is hoping to get a raise that’ll put her salary in the same ballpark as fellow leading co-stars such as Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes), and Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon). AMC disappointingly denied this idea and offered Cohan a salary that did not really meet what she had in mind and she rejected it. This has definitely influenced Cohan into accepting an offer to star on another television series. 

Now this does not mean that Cohan is done with The Walking Dead, but it sure doesn’t make fans and even the cast comfortable. Co-star Khary Payton, who portrays the character King Ezekiel, posted on Instagram a picture of Cohan as Maggie with the caption “Pay the Woman.” The concern comes from the fact that Cohan’s current contract is up at the end of season eight so if she wants to walk away from the show she could.

 

Screenshot of Khary Payton’s post

The most frustrating part of the whole situation is that Cohan is not asking to be paid the exact same amount as Lincoln and Reedus, but is just asking for a fair salary for her work. I mean as stated earlier, she has been starring on the show since its second season, that is longer than most everyone currently on the cast. Additionally, not to sound like a broken record, her role and what it represents in the world of the show holds so much weight.

As of this moment, it appears that there may be some signs of Cohan and AMC finally working out a deal, but one could argue this issue should not be as complicated as it is. Cohan, and other actresses in the entertainment industry, are more often than not significantly underpaid compared to their male co-stars. The industry needs to, in a lack of better words, “grow up” and take some advice from Payton and pay the women.

As a fan of the show, I would be sad to see the character leave, but I would be happy knowing that Cohan will still be dominating television wherever she goes and hopefully will be getting the pay she rightfully deserves.

 

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