Showrunner Angela Kang reassures viewers The Walking Dead will handle the final season of exiting Michonne star Danai Gurira with the same level of importance as Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes, whose own departure from the television show was revealed months ahead of his final episode in Season 9.
“Danai, she’s been here since Season 3, and her importance to the show just cannot be overstated. The mark that she’s left, the excellence that she brings every day, her professionalism, her passion, all of that, it’s been a remarkable journey that we’ve been on with her,” Kang said at San Diego Comic-Con.
“And it’s also been remarkable to see her blooming and spreading her wings out in the world as well. I think for all of us on the writing side, we take that responsibility really seriously.”
She continued: “This is a character that’s important to us, important to the fans. In the same way when we were working on an exit for Andy, we approached it with the same level of seriousness and wanting to do right by this incredible actress as well as the story. I hope we haven’t screwed it up.”
Story details are being kept under wraps — Gurira said at Comic-Con she “cannot answer” inquiries about Michonne’s actual exit strategy — but teases highlighted in the Season 10 trailer include a kiss with the freshly separated King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and an ominous closing shot of Michonne wielding Lucille, the barbwire-wrapped baseball bat once belonging to Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
“We’ve put her through her paces this year and she’s a spectacular actress, she challenges us, she brought the A++ game as she always does. I’m really excited to share the things that she’s doing,” Kang said.
“We saw a little clip of her in a mysterious pose with Lucille, so we’ll learn some more about that, I’m excited for people just to see the depth and beauty of her work, as always, and we will miss the hell out of her.”
TWD chief content officer Scott Gimple has since hinted Michonne could potentially live on in the movie side of the franchise. Lincoln reprises his role in a movie trilogy to be theatrically distributed by Universal Pictures.
The Walking Dead Season 10 premieres Sunday, October 6 on AMC.