The Walking Dead has earned a reputation for killing characters who appear to be integral to the story. Now, the popular theory seems to be that Michonne is going to bow out in the show's eighth season.
Headlines like "The Walking Dead Season 8: Why Michonne may be in Trouble" and "The Walking Dead Season 8: Fears for Michonne as actress Danai Gurira breaks HUGE news" (with Gurira mispelled on the host site) are taking Google searches by storm. It's all because Michonne actress Danai Gurira was revealed to have joined Avengers: Infinity War.
Gurira joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe in February as Okoye, a member of the Dora Milaje in Black Panther. From there, she will reprise the role for the third installment of the Avengers films which is currently in production. Also in production is the eighth season of The Walking Dead.
While Gurira can't be in two places at the same time, in this case, she will be.
The Walking Dead films in Senoia, Georgia, for the most part -- with some shoots taking place at Tyler Perry Studios closer to Atlanta. Avengers: Infinity War is currently coming together at Pinewood Studios, located in Fayetteville, Georgia. Pinewood Studios and Raleigh Studios (home of The Walking Dead) are a 15 minute drive from one another if the driver, at a slow Sunday cruise pace.
In other words: Gurira can film both Avengers: Infinity War and The Walking Dead Season 8. We have no reason to believe Gurira is exiting the AMC series in favor of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Walking Dead issue #167 killed of Rick's long time girlfriend, Carl's adoptive mother, an overall very strong woman: Andrea.
In issue #165, Andrea was bitten by a walker when she saved Eugene from a herd which had surrounded him. In an effort to protect Alexandria, Andrea elected to continue directing the herd to a cliff which tossed them into the ocean before returning to the Safe-Zone.
Upon arrival, Andrea revealed the bite mark on her neck to Rick and collapsed. It was issue #167 which saw Andrea's still-alive funeral as each character entered her room (including Negan) to pay their respects to the woman who helped lead them to this new world.
Just before the issue had ended, a tearful Rick Grimes had to drive a knife into Andrea's head to stop her reanimated form from biting him.
While Andrea has been long dead on The Walking Dead television series, her role is being filled out almost identically by another character.
On AMC's adaptation of The Walking Dead comics, it is Michonne who is filling in as the strong girlfriend of Rick Grimes. She has quickly become a mother figure for Carl. She has adopted the rifle skills Andrea has in the books and even portrayed the fake-out death where readers and character both thought Andrea fell from a ledge after fighting a Savior in the Season 7 finale. Of course, it was revealed that the real victim was one of the bad guys and both Andrea in the comics and Michonne on television survived the moment.
For this death to applied to Michonne on television, The Walking Dead would have to carry out at least three more seasons. At a rate of about 20 issues per season, the AMC series has reached an equivalent point of issue #116 -- the beginning of All Out War. Should the pace continue with the comics being accurately adapted, Michonne would be killed off like Andrea was in Season 10 or Season 11.
Given Rick and Michonne's continued growth as a couple, the leader of Alexandria will be enduring his toughest test should Michonne be killed off, however he has already teased such an event himself. In Episode 7x12 (Say Yes), Rick insisted to Michonne that if either of them die, the other continue their efforts in rebuilding civilization as they once knew it.
Showrunner Scott Gimple often prides himself on deviating from the comics just enough to keep fans guessing but also accurately adapting iconic moments, so applying Andrea's fate to Michonne feels both inevitable but still unpredictable.
Gurira is hardly the only cast member on The Walking Dead to become involved with a film project during production of the AMC series.
Maggie actress Lauren Cohan has played roles in several films, including The Boy and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Daryl Dixon actor Norman Reedus has appeared in Triple 9 and Vacation. To top it all off, Simon actor Steven Ogg filmed an entire season of Westworld and plans to do the same going forward. All three of those characters are still very much alive on the show.
The only arguments which can be made against Michonne being unaffected by the casting are those of Sonequa Martin-Green and Cliff Curtis. Martin-Green was revealed to have taken the lead role in the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery series prior to Sasha's death. Curtis signed on for four Avatar sequels ahead of Fear the Walking Dead's third season, only to see his character killed off in Episode 3x02.
However, both Martin-Green and Curtis took on key roles on the film. While Gurira's Okoye might serve a major purpose in Avengers: Infinity War, this is a film which already features dozens of well-established characters who will be taking up plenty of screen time, leaving a presumably smaller amount for the Dora Milaje.
MORE WALKING DEAD: Season 8 Trailer Details Revealed / FTWD Teases Mutant Super Zombie / Steven Yeun Breaks Silence Since Leaving TWD / Is Jadis Going To A Whisperer? / FTWD: Who Killed Spoiler Revealed / Ross Marquand Promises A Massive TWD Season 8 / How Fear's Madison Might Be Connected To TWD
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET on AMC. The Walking Dead will return for its eighth season in October of 2017. The first trailer is expected to arrive at San Diego Comic Con in July. For complete coverage and insider info all off-season long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.