Chris Hardwick Pays Heartfelt Tribute to Exiting Walking Dead Star Danai Gurira

Talking Dead host and longtime Walking Dead Comic-Con panel moderator Chris Hardwick paid tribute to Michonne star Danai Gurira after she publicly confirmed for the first time Season 10 will be her last.

“Thank you for your words, and thank you for your work, and thank you for being you. It is hard not to get emotional about it, because it has been a seven-year journey. And I think as a fan, it’s hard to say goodbye to Michonne, it’s hard to say goodbye to you as a fan of the show,” Hardwick said during The Walking Dead’s Hall H panel after Gurira’s announcement earned a standing ovation.

“But as someone who is deeply a fan of you, Danai, I know you’re an incredible playwright, you’re an incredible writer, you’re an incredible actor. The second I saw you on screen on Black Panther, I’m like, ‘Well, she’s probably gonna do a lot of this.’

“I know it’s hard to say goodbye to you on the show, but I know that we as fans will see you at Hall H many, many, many times over doing other many, many amazing things. And I just as a person, I’m sad and I’m also happy for you, and I’m honored that I’ve gotten to see you bring this character to life all these years. So thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

An emotional Gurira said her role as Michonne has been “one of the purest joys” of her life and career, adding her heart “does not leave in any way shape or form.”

“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 or work.”

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It has been speculated, but not confirmed, Gurira could join former Walking Dead co-star Andrew Lincoln in the Walking Dead movie franchise. AMC on Friday revealed Universal Pictures will distribute the trilogy to theaters.

Hardwick next hosts The Walking Dead Season 10 Preview Special, airing Sunday, August 11 on AMC. Gurira’s final season of TWD premieres Sunday, October 6.