The upcoming season of The Walking Dead will be the end of the line for Michonne (Danai Gurira), one of the longest-running and most prominent characters still left on the hit AMC series. And while little is yet known about the story reasons for her departure, Gurira (who apparently had at least some kind of input on the way it was handled) will get a big sendoff in the same vein as last season's goodbye to Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), according to the series' showrunner. As the show has tried to do when major characters from the comics make their exits, EP Angela Kang says that a lot of thought has gone into making sure the character will get her due.
Per an interview with TVLine, Gurira's exit “showcases her leadership and strength, and her love for her people and her family,” according to showrunner and executive producer Angela Kang. “I’m excited to have the audience see Danai’s work during this last arc on the show, because she’s just amazing. She brings so much to every episode she’s in.”
The trailer for the upcoming season teased some fireworks between Michonne and Ezekiel, which might or might not turn out to be a part of the big exit for Michonee.
“I know nothing. But what I will say in my know-nothingness, the great thing about this show is they are very, very, fantastic at creating great structure for everyone’s story,” Gurira said recently. “I was in a room where they have all the pictures of people who have left the show, and everyone’s exit has been so specific and really resonate in its own, very original way. And so there was no exception to that in my case, I’m very thankful for that. And I was allowed to be a collaborator. But they created a very, very, very sound structure of how Michonne exits, which I was very thankful for.”
Kang earlier consulted with longtime series lead Lincoln about his sendoff episode, which ultimately set up Rick being spun off into the movie side of the franchise under the purview of TWD chief content officer Scott Gimple. Though Gimple has since hinted Michonne could follow Rick to the movies, Kang focused on handling Michonne’s exit from the show with the same level of respect and responsibility as Rick’s.
“I think for all of us on the writing side, we take that responsibility really seriously,” Kang said at San Diego Comic-Con after an emotional Gurira confirmed her exit during The Walking Dead’s Hall H panel.
“This is a character that’s important to us, important to the fans. In the same way when 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 as well as the story. I hope we haven’t screwed it up.”
Gurira’s final season of The Walking Dead premieres Sunday, October 6 on AMC.