“I can confirm that this is the last season I will be on this amazing TV show as Michonne,” an emotional Gurira said during TWD’s Hall H panel.
“I’d just like to say that this has been one of the purest joys of my life, to play this role, and to be amongst these people and those that are not here right now and amongst all of you. I’m very, very thankful for the experience I’ve had in ways that I can’t even express right now. My heart does not leave in any way shape or form.”
Gurira, who joined the series as the katana-wielding zombie slayer in its third season in 2012, explained her stepping away from the show comes as her career blossoms with roles in Marvel Studios blockbusters Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
“The beauty is that TWD Family is forever and I came in in 2012 and felt this energy and this connection never ends. It’s not connected to the decision I made,” Gurira said.
“It was about my calling and other things I feel called to and the opportunities I’ve had through the other things I do as a creator of work.”
Showrunner Angela Kang praised Gurira for her “excellence” and “professionalism.”
“It’s been a remarkable journey that we’ve been on with her and it’s been remarkable to see her just blooming and spreading her wings. On the writing side, we take this very seriously,” Kang said, adding Gurira’s exit was handled with the same care shown to Rick Grimes star Andrew Lincoln, who stepped away from the mothership series in the front half of Season 9.
“In the same way that we were working on an exit for Andy, we approached it with the same level of seriousness and wanting to do right by this incredible actress and the story. I hope we haven’t screwed it up,” Kang said.
“We’ve put her through her paces this year. She brought the A++ game as she always does... we saw a little clip of her in a mysterious pose with Lucille so we’ll learn some more about that, and I’m just excited for people to see the depth and beauty of her work as always. We will miss the hell out of her.”
The Walking Dead Season 10 premieres Sunday, October 6 on AMC.