Exiting Walking Dead star Danai Gurira has opened up about her "difficult" decision to depart the series in its tenth season, which could lead to her transition into the theatrical Walking Dead movies alongside Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes.
"It was a very difficult decision. I love that home. It has been one of my purest joys to play that character," the Michonne star told Entertainment Tonight one day after confirming her exit during San Diego Comic-Con's Hall H panel.
"I have had a home and a family for eight years. That is not a short time. I've killed a lot of zombies. It's a home and it's a family and a lot of folks you don't see, the folks behind the cameras that you don't see."
She added: "It wasn't an easy decision and is something that will always be a part of me. And I will always be so grateful for the time I've spent [on the show]."
Gurira declared the upcoming Season 10 her last season with the ongoing television show, but did not mention if she would transition into the movie side of the franchise. Lincoln made that transition after exiting in the front half of Season 9.
"That, I cannot answer," Gurira told ET when asked if she could follow Lincoln to the movies. "Listen, I work for Walking Dead and MCU [Marvel Cinematic Universe] — all I got are secrets!"
Despite her looming exit, Michonne will still play a "significant" role and gets a "nice, meaty" story in Season 10, showrunner Angela Kang previously told Deadline.
"Well, we are going to be doing some creative things with the order in which we write and shoot things so that she's sort of woven in a little bit. With Black Panther, Avengers and plays of her own and everything, I think Danai obviously is having an amazing career moment. She's like an international treasure," Kang said.
"So we've kind of known that she would have a reduced role this coming season. We're excited to tell a nice, meaty story with her for Season 10 regardless, I can tell you. I'm also so thrilled with all the great attention she's gotten for the work she's done on the show this year. Danai is not only an amazing athlete and warrior on the show, but she's such an incredible dramatic actress too in my opinion."
The Walking Dead returns to AMC with its Season 10 premiere Sunday, October 6.