The Walking Dead Showrunner Shares Intimate Details of First Rick & Michonne Love Scene

The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang reveals an intimate inside look at the romance that blossomed between Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) in Season 6 episode "The Next World." Kang, at the time a writer and producer under then-showrunner Scott Gimple, took to Twitter to share behind-the-scenes intel and the original scripted version of the episode co-written by Corey Reed. When Rick and Daryl (Norman Reedus) return to Alexandria after a disastrous supply run spoiled by a swiping Paul "Jesus" Rovia (Tom Payne), an exhausted Rick melts into a couch with Michonne. Talk of toothpaste turns into a steamy hookup: the first kiss of the "Richonne" relationship.

"[Gimple] told us, 'hey, we should have Rick & Michonne kiss. It'd be cool if it started out really casual, like friends hanging out that turns into something more,'" Kang tweeted Sunday, attaching a first draft script page from "The Next World": 

"They turn their heads toward each other, still leaning back against the couch, casual, tired. The image would be mundane except for their clasped hands. They look at each other for a BEAT, as if really seeing each other for the first time," reads an excerpt. "Rick starts to shift forward… and Michonne meets him in a TENDER KISS."

Kang then shared the final production draft version with revisions from Gimple, the steamy Michonne and Rick kiss lingering as "hands pull each other closer, the kiss becoming more passionate, urgent, like they're getting away from something. Getting away with something." 

"There's footage from this shoot that makes me blush," Kang tweeted of the episode directed by Kari Skogland. "When Scott was doing his pass on the cut, one thing that influenced it was [Gurira] advocating for the 'joyful take' where she laughs." 

"The Next World" ends with Rick and Michonne in bed together, their postcoital consummation interrupted by Jesus. In 2016, Lincoln said he and Gurira "campaigned" for the subsequent nude scene showing Rick and Michonne bare from behind. 

The script called for Michonne to "cover herself" with a sheet when Jesus appears in their bedroom, but as Lincoln told TVLine at the time, "Danai said, 'No, she wouldn't. She'd go for her sword.' And I said, 'Yeah. And Rick would go for his gun. And we'd both be naked.' So we campaigned for the butt-crack shot [at the end]. That wasn't in the script. We both said, 'If we're going to do it, let's do it.'"

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Season 11 of The Walking Dead returns with new episodes February 20 on AMC. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter and ComicBook's @NewsOfTheDead for The Walking Dead Universe coverage all season long.