Noooo! Maggie, we need you!

This new report about "The Walking Dead" star Lauren Cohan (the currently pregnant Maggie Greene Rhee) may just be smoke with no fire. Deadline does not say that she's definitely leaving ... because there's confusion about what's happening at all.

TWD is halfway through airing Season 8, but they finished filming it toward the end of 2017. AMC already OK'd Season 9, with a new showrunner, and filming is expected to start when it usually does -- late April/early May.

However, now we have to wonder whether Maggie will not be part of the storyline. Here's the deal:

Deadline says Lauren Cohan has been fielding pilot offers for the 2018-2019 TV season. They say she's a big draw -- as you can imagine -- and she's had about half a dozen offers so far. So is she leaving TWD for another show, or is this part of her negotiation tactics?

Deadline also said Cohan was asking for more money, parity with Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) and Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon). That was reportedly brought up by her team, but not made a make-or-break requirement, because she realizes Lincoln and Reedus started on the show a season before her and tend to have more scenes. Deadline said AMC offered her a "modest salary increase" in exchange for a longterm contract, but that was rejected -- which they added is standard practice as part of negotiations.

US-ENTERTAINMENT-AWARDS-INSTYLEHere's where the question marks begin in Deadline's report:

"What happened next is a little murky. I hear the network did not follow up with a new proposition and there have been no further talks. Cohan, who is contractually free and clear to entertain new offers, has been doing that, with her availability igniting a feeding frenzy in the form of a string of offers from multiple networks. She reportedly has been engaging, taking pilot meetings.

According to other sources close to the situation, there are active talks with Cohan who has not indicated that she would not be coming back for Season 9, which already has been greenlighted."

So she's taking pilot meetings and feeling out her options, but also keeping the door open to return to TWD? It may just be that she's letting AMC know she's in-demand, using that to leverage a better deal. That would be smart. What would they even do if she left while Maggie was still pregnant, with such a huge comic book story ahead? Sure, "The Walking Dead" is no stranger to major changes from the source material, but after what they just did to Carl, could TWD even afford another massive change?

It would suck so much to lose Cohan on "The Walking Dead," so if this is coming down to salary and not other factors, please just SHOW HER THE MONEY.

"The Walking Dead" returns Sunday, Feb. 25 at 9 p.m. on AMC.

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