"The Walking Dead" is still unclear.

We're hoping she does return after the currently airing Season 8 -- especially since Maggie Greene Rhee is leader of Hilltop, and still pregnant with baby Gleggie. Maggie is a key character in the future of the show. Or so you'd think.

Is she key enough to pay more? A lot more?

Khary Payton (King Ezekiel) thinks so. (We do, too.) He went there on Instagram, very simply spelling out what AMC and The Powers That Be need to do to keep Cohan on the show:

Pay the woman.

A post shared by Khary Payton (@kharypayton) on

As Deadline noted, Payton seems to be the first of Cohan's costars to publicly speak out during her negotiations.

She's fighting for a pay increase, and that fight has stalled. It was said that she originally asked for parity with Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus -- the top-paid stars by a lot, it seems -- but that was reportedly not a sticking point since they started on the show before her and tend to have more scenes. Deadline previously reported that AMC offered her a "modest salary increase" in exchange for a longterm contract, but that offer was rejected.

Now is the right time for Lauren Cohan to ask for more money. TWD just lost a major character in Carl Grimes, so you'd think they wouldn't want to lose another key tie to the comics so quickly. Plus, Maggie is pregnant and it's hard to imagine losing Maggie and/or her baby so soon after Glenn. She's also the leader of Hilltop and seems to be a key part of the upcoming TV storyline. So Cohan's team is striking while the iron is hot, which is smart. Will it work?

Cohan took a potential step away from the show when she recently landed a role on the ABC pilot "Whiskey Cavalier." Filming that pilot led her to cancel an upcoming appearance:

"The Walking Dead" filming schedule tends to run from May to November, so there's still time for her to tape this pilot and return to Atlanta to start filming Season 9. What happens if ABC picks up the pilot? That remains to be seen. What happens if AMC doesn't show her the money? That also remains to be seen, and it could look ugly.

"The Walking Dead" Season 8 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.

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