Ahead of the looming Season 10 departure of Michonne star Danai Gurira, The Walking Dead appears to be setting up Eleanor Matsuura’s Yumiko to inherit Michonne’s biggest comic book storyline. Creator Robert Kirkman’s comic books revealed Michonne was a private practice lawyer who lost contact with her two daughters in the earliest days of the zombie outbreak, both believed dead by a guilt-ridden Michonne. Years later, after the Alexandria community made contact with a network of settlements known as the Commonwealth, Michonne was reunited with long-lost daughter Elodie. Season 9 teased the introduction of this new community when Hilltop made radio contact with an unidentified person who will come back into play in Season 10’s 10x06, “Bonds.”
Episode 10x04, “Silence the Whisperers,” revealed key backstory behind Yumiko and girlfriend Magna (Nadia Hilker) when it was learned Yumiko was Magna’s lawyer-turned-lover. In episode 10x05, “What It Always Is,” we learned Yumiko and Magna’s 13-year relationship began when Yumiko represented Magna for taking vigilante justice against a man who committed a sex crime against her young cousin.
In the comics, after being tearfully reunited with the loved one she thought dead, Michonne buys into the Commonwealth. Because Elodie has lived there for nearly four years, saying the community is safe and can be trusted, Michonne relocates to the Commonwealth and eventually becomes its esteemed high court judge.
Michonne’s role in the Commonwealth grows alongside the political conflict that reaches the community, where the upper class have access to the same privileges they enjoyed pre-apocalypse. Rick Grimes eventually introduces a democratic process to the Commonwealth and is later murdered by assassin Sebastian Milton for ousting the spoiled offspring of Governor Pamela Milton from his seat of power.
While it remains to be seen if Yumiko reconnects with a loved one should she survive to the Commonwealth, it does appear The Walking Dead is teeing up an increased role for Yumiko on the basis of her law background.
“Obviously the Commonwealth does mean things to people; we’re starting to seed in some future stories,” showrunner Angela Kang previously told IGN ahead of Season 9. “The timing of those stories may not be in the immediate future, but there will be things this season that are groundwork being laid for finding out more about the world.”
That groundwork was laid with introduction of the long-range radio developed by Eugene (Josh McDermitt) — who makes contact with a possible Commonwealth representative in “Bonds” — and Season 10 will take another step towards the Commonwealth when it introduces Princess, to be played here by Paola Lazaro.