IGN TV: Season 3 picked up a few months later, and that allowed some of the characters to evolve in different ways. With Maggie, she really seems to be part of the “A-Team” now, as it were – we saw early on the premiere that she’s become a part of the group that leads the way. Were you excited to see that?
Lauren Cohan: Yes, very much. I think Maggie was looking for a way to step in and help before this group even arrived -- a way to step into life, I suppose. So when the group arrives at her farm in Season 2, we see the beginning of this journey, which culminates in a realization that, wow, things are really not what they seemed. Now in Season 3, it’s her chance to rise to that. She’s a very strong person. She’s emotionally and physically strong. That doesn’t mean she’s not sometimes doubtful, sometimes vulnerable, sometimes terrified by any of this. But we see her fight with the guys because she is one of the physically stronger people of the group. We have a pregnant woman, we have my younger sister, we have my dad. We see her enter in and, for example, clear the yard for them to make their way into the prison. And then we get to see this journey again of “We fought, we fought, we fought,” and you have it broken down again. You don’t know that it’s entirely worth it, and you have these fleeting doubts. But it’s seeing everybody get up and continue, despite those doubts, is what I think is really exciting about our group.
These doubts come from the outside world, from The Governor, and sometimes the doubts come from within the group. We know that if we let any fracture spread, it’s going to only make us weaker. So just like a good old family, you kind of have to find strength in your group and the cohesion of that group and know that Rick has our best interest at heart until... maybe he doesn’t. Yeah, it’s been a really good journey, and I think one where Maggie definitely still has these slight reminders all the way through that there’s a reason to go on. If there wasn’t a reason to go on, then Hershel would have died. If there wasn’t a reason to go on, then she wouldn’t have this man that she loves. If there wasn’t a reason to go on, then they would be dead already. That’s what it is for her. There’s also, in some of these physical challenges, such a sense of fun -- you know, clearing this yard of walker and knowing that we can do it and having to be very resourceful and creative with knocking them out and not getting anybody hurt. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of the challenges we’re going to see, and that says a lot because it’s already so trying. But this is our reality now.
IGN: You mentioned that sense of fun - I love that moment in the season premiere when she stabs that guy in the bottom of the throat, because us watching as viewer at home go, “Oh! Whoa!” And I thought it was a great, genuine reaction when she turns and says, “Did you see that!?”
Cohan: [Laughs] Yeah! That was one of my favorite moments from the episode, too. Then you get the guys and they’re like, “Yeah!” Because we definitely have to go in there and create -- and this is something that happens behind and in front of the camera -- we try to figure out new ways to kill. You know, the zombies get more and more disgusting and more and more menacing, and in that episode, definitely more surprising. I feel like there are always zombies coming out of unexpected places. They far outnumber us, but we are still smart, quick humans. There’s definitely an element of being a soldier who’s ready to fire, and an element of a game I think we have to employ to get through it.
IGN: Given what Hershel has gone through, losing a leg -- and this sounds like a terrible pun as I say it -- but will he be looking to lean on Maggie more? Will she find herself in a place of taking charge of that family dynamic more?
Cohan: Yeah, literally, we do see Maggie definitely stepping up. She’s stepping up as a leader within the Greene family, but there’s a nice thing where we really see Glenn as a part of the family now; we really have that solidified. There’s debate, there’s always debate. Maggie has such strong instincts about what we should do, but she knows that the way to get them done isn’t necessarily to declare them outright. It’s more of her influence and her strength that will help the group. So we’ll definitely see that in her relationship with Glenn, we definitely see that with dad a lot. But we get to see this girl as a really tough fighter, while still being someone you can see as a normal person, I think. You can imagine where she came from, and I think as a viewer you can feel these guys learning to fight for their lives and succeed. But the relationship she has with her dad… they get to address some really big questions. She gets to really say what you would say and do what you would do if it was your last chance, and I think that’s why it’s fun to play and why it’s special for me to play.
IGN: This season obviously has a very different setting from last year. What’s that been like?
Cohan: It’s been a complete scene change. We had a cozy farm and lots of space, a nice living room, antique furniture. Now... It’s enough right now. It’s good enough. God, sometimes it really hits home, doesn’t it? It’s like you’re running and you can barely sit down before you encounter a new threat. So the prison, even as it is, is still a sanctuary for them. We see Maggie and Glenn arrive into a room and there are blood smears on the wall, but none of it really matters. I’m sure there’s some nostalgia about the farm, a lot of nostalgia about the life that was. But there isn’t really time, and we don’t have that luxury to worry about it. We just have the gratitude for each other. This is the ultimate test, and if you’re making it through this test and you’re with each other, then you must be pretty alright as a person. We definitely do little things to try and homey the place up. We have every kind of canned vegetable you could need, and we plan to grow crops outside. The group definitely arrives and tries to create a home -- a farm away from farm. [Laughs] It’s good. We’re just missing a dog -- and a horse would be nice.
IGN: I feel like you have a done tour through every show I’m a fan of in the past few years – Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, Chuck. Obviously, you don’t know as an actress where your career will go when you start out, but you’ve gotten a lot of genre work. Do you think there’s a reason for that?
Cohan: Yeah, I think I’ve definitely drawn genre work to me because you get jobs when you do a great job auditioning for them. Something about this heightened reality has just always appealed to me. I grew up being obsessed with Star Trek. I’m not, like, you know, cool. [Laughs] You know, the reruns after school... But a lot of these shows -- especially this one right now -- it’s one of the most realistic situations. it’s not actually a supernatural show, but what constitutes supernatural?
IGN: Right. We don’t know the origin of what caused this in this world, so it could be anything. They could say it’s biological, but you could say some meteor hit, right?
Cohan: Yeah, you really could. You could say it’s bath salts [Laughs] -- and they do sometimes -- but yeah, I think what’s greatest about this show is that I just really love good stories. After this, I would probably like to do something more like Homeland or a comedy, but right now I definitely just… When do you get to tell these stories?! When do you get to be in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of really great people and tell really cool stories? And I do that every day.
IGN: I’ve got to ask, before we go - was it original Star Trek or Next Generation you were a fan of?
Cohan: Original. Actually, both, but I have so many more memories of the original.