'The Walking Dead' Showrunner Explains Carol And Michonne's New Looks

Six years is certainly long enough for The Walking Dead characters to take on new appearances.

Following Rick's departure from AMC's zombie series, several of the characters who have remained in Alexandria took on new looks in the six years which have passed. The standouts, however, were Carol and Michonne after being revealed in Episode 9x06. Michonne took on a new style with her hair at a similar length while Carol grew her hair out far beyond her shoulders for the first time. As it turns out, Danai Gurira and Melissa McBride played heavy roles in deciding on these new looks.

"Danai [Gurira] and Melissa [McBride] had these great ideas on what to do with their hair that we were able to design," The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang told EW. "We worked on costumes, using the comic book as references for stuff like Jesus' look, which we'll see in these episodes going forward, then also just stuff like was just fresh for the show. That part of the process was definitely a lot of fun. The production design team did such an amazing job bringing to life some of the looks from the comic, while still using some of the stuff that's specific to the show. We've got this windmill that's a big deal from the comic book that our production designer had the great idea to build it on top of one of the bombed-out houses. That was kind of specific to the show's mythology."

With deciding who was going to have really dramatic new looks versus stay the same, it really depended a lot on the character, because there are some characters that are just people who stay stable and steady. For example, Daryl — there's definitely things that have happened with his look because things have happened to him, but Daryl's not a guy who goes and gets crazy hairstyles, or whatever. Whereas, Michonne, she's someone who always has had an edge. I think that was one of things we were like, "Well, you know, maybe after everything that happened with Rick, maybe her hair, she gets a gray streak or something."

Each of the actresses had interesting points they wanted to make with their characters' new looks but the decisions also came with careful considerations regarding production. "Danai was like, 'Well, you know, we don't want the character to look like she's just old and uninteresting. She's gotta have her edge. Michonne has an edge,'" Kang said." We were like, 'That's true.' I think she found some different pictures of things. We were like, 'Wow, that would be so cool to have that shaved head on the side.' We had to test that to make sure the wig was going to work where she could still do her swordplay and stuff because it's kind of a challenging thing to have it so short on one side. Fortunately, the hair department and the wig maker were able to fashion something that worked really well."


Carol's look, however, was almost quite different than what viewers saw on Sunday night. "Melissa, at first we were going to keep her hair short, but she was like, 'You know, it'd be really interesting to have her grow her hair long,'" Kang said. "There's a whole story behind why Carol has short hair, and we actually have a scene that speaks to that at some point in the season. It's part of the backstory of Carol and why she has short hair, why she had short hair in her marriage and everything. It really shows where that character is at with her state of happiness. She's at a place where she feels safe and at peace, and that's reflected in the hair. That really was very driven by Melissa's feelings about where the character was at. That was the process. It came out of these conversations about these characters, and where they felt they were at, and what is important to maintain about that character's personality, et cetera."

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET. Fear the Walking Dead will return for its fifth season in 2019. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter and watch ComicBook.com's After The Dead each Sunday night following new episodes.