The Walking Dead star Danai Gurira advocated a script change for Season 10 episode 8, “The World Before,” where Michonne learns longtime close friend Siddiq (Avi Nash) was murdered by a Whisperer spy who infiltrated Alexandria under orders from Alpha (Samantha Morton). In the midseason finale, Michonne and daughter Judith (Cailey Fleming) are en route to Oceanside with Luke (Dan Fogler) when they stop at a library on behalf of budding historian Judith. There Luke is saved from attacking walkers by Virgil (Kevin Carroll), and Michonne receives a call over walkie talkie with bad news from back home: Siddiq was killed by Dante (Juan Javier Cardenas), Alexandria's backup medic.
In an early draft of the episode, Michonne was kept in the dark about Siddiq's death. As noted in The Walking Dead's latest Facts and Easter Eggs video, this was revised when Gurira reminded the writers' room of Siddiq's importance to the Grimes family, including Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln).
That connection comes back into play later that same episode when Michonne convinces a captured Virgil to open up about his trespassing at Oceanside, something Virgil explains is his only way of getting back home to his family.
When he tells Michonne he saved Luke because mercy is “in short supply these days,” she tears up: she’s reminded of “My mercy prevails over my wrath,” a saying imparted by Siddiq and co-opted by Rick.
“We were thinking for a while that it’d be interesting if, in some way, this character just kind of triggers thoughts about the past for Michonne. Just about all kinds of things,” showrunner Angela Kang previously told EW. “And so 'mercy prevails over my wrath' — obviously that’s tied to Rick, but it was first uttered by Siddiq. To give an eye into our process, at first, we were going to play a version where maybe Michonne and that group was sort of siloed from the information about Siddiq. But in talking with Danai, she felt like she wanted to be able to honor her connection to Siddiq, which I think was a really valuable thought. Because there is this very deep connection to her family and Carl. Siddiq was really important to Carl.”
Kang continued, “And so then he was really important to Rick and Michonne too. And I think being able to have this comment that immediately ties both the love of her life and this dear friend who was like family to her who just died — it all kind of worked. It just felt like it kind of did this nice triple duty in the moment and our actors did an amazing job playing it.”
Gurira earlier revealed she was “allowed to be a collaborator” in Michonne’s exit story that will continue to unfold in the back half of the season, which is set to address Michonne's heartbreak over Siddiq's death.0comments
“[Kang is] very collaborative, and I think that’s always great leadership, is when you’re very secure in your vision and you’re very collaborative at the same time,” Gurira told the Los Angeles Times. “So you allow people to really feel like fellow ownership, and she’s fantastic.”
TWD Season 10 returns with new episodes Feb. 23 on AMC. For more TWD intel, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.