Ahead of the premiere of Danai Gurira's final episode of The Walking Dead, "What We Become," showrunner Angela Kang on Sunday took to Instagram to share photos captured during Gurira's sendoff from the series after eight seasons. The episode, scripted by Vivian Tse and directed by Sharat Raju (Fear the Walking Dead, Scandal), takes place on the island Michonne set sail for in November's midseason 10 finale, "The World Before," where Michonne made an arrangement with family man Virgil (Kevin Carroll) to secure weapons needed to combat the Whisperers' walker horde that has since been unleashed against Daryl (Norman Reedus) and the survivors' communities.
The behind-the-scenes photos show Gurira posed with executive producer Denise Huth and Reedus, who purchased a massive fireworks display to celebrate Gurira's wrap day on the Fourth of July. Gurira previously told ComicBook.com the surprise party, which included a figural Michonne cake seen in the photos, was "overwhelming."
"I was finishing on the 4th of July so I didn't think anyone was gonna really be around," Gurira told us. "So they caught me the night before and I was totally off guard and it was just, everyone was gathered, there was this gorgeous cake that was Michonne with the sword and everything. Norman and, of course, Darrell Pritchett, the amazing man in charge of our special effects, they had this massive, really gorgeous, overwhelming fireworks display."
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Tonight! “What We Become,” written by Vivian Tse & directed by Sharat Raju. This episode is bittersweet as it’s @danaigurira’s last episode on #TWD playing the badass we all know and love, Michonne 🖤 Here are some BTS photos with our #TWDFamily celebrating Danai, tune in tonight to wish her a farewell! 📸 @golightlyish
The celebration was arranged by Reedus, who has since said he misses his longtime co-star "every day."
"You know, we set off fireworks for her and she just had a beautiful end run on the show where she was just, just the acting work was so intense and so fantastic as always," Kang told ComicBook.com at the Season 10 premiere of The Walking Dead. "There was a lot of respect and love there from the cast and the crew, and so it was just really lovely."
"I just fell in love with her," Reedus said on Popcorn with Peter Travers of working with Gurira, his co-star since Season 3. "When you're on a show that long, you cry real tears with these people, you fight together as a team, you have all the on-set arguments. But you become very close to everybody on that cast."
Gurira's final episode, "What We Become," premieres tonight at 9/8c on AMC.