‘The Walking Dead’ Showrunners Tease Danai Gurira Returning as Michonne for Feature Films

Danai Gurira said goodbye to “The Walking Dead” this past Sunday night but it’s likely Michonne will return in future films that are already in the works…

Danai Gurira may not return to “The Walking Dead” TV series but that doesn’t mean she’s finished with the franchise.

This past Sunday night, Gurira’s character Michonne made her final appearance on the zombie apocalypse series as her character set out on a new mission to find Rick Grimes after discovering that he was alive more than five years after his presumed death.

After being drugged and locked in a room where Michonne hallucinated a world where she became Negan’s right hand in the Saviors, she finally woke up and fought her way to freedom. As she prepared to return home, Michonne came across a pair of boots that Rick Grimes was wearing on the day he supposedly sacrificed his own life to blow up a bridge in order to save his friends.

In reality, Rick was saved by Jadis and flown away on a rescue helicopter for treatment by a mysterious group known for having a symbol of three circles on all their vehicles. Now years later, Michonne has discovered that Rick might actually be alive and she’s determined to track down the man she loves.

Gurira’s exit comes a year after Andrew Lincoln left “The Walking Dead” but it was later announced that he would return in a series of three feature films set in the same universe while reprising his role as Rick Grimes. Now all signs point towards Gurira joining him, although there’s no official confirmation that she will appear in those movies … yet.

“Death is always on the table for any of our characters, but Michonne is such a wonderful character that it feels like there’s more story to be told,” “Walking Dead” showrunner Angela Kang told The Hollywood Reporter. “The idea of her possibly joining the filmic universe was exciting for everyone. As Danai and Scott [Gimple] were having those conversations, similar to the ones with [Andrew Lincoln] about how he was going to transition out [of the series], I just needed the end point information, take that, and figure out how to craft a handoff as best as we can.”

“The Walking Dead” chief content officer Scott M. Gimple was also elusive when asked about Gurira’s return in the upcoming feature films but at this point it almost seems like a foregone conclusion that she will come back in some form or fashion in the future. Gurira left the show on very good terms as she turned her attention to writing and showrunning her own series on HBO Max but remains a part of “The Walking Dead” family forever.

“Is it fair to assume? It’s definitely fair to assume that,” Gimple said about Gurira returning for the movies. “There might even be her own story along the way. Some of it has to do with the way we’re playing around with the story right now. There’s this whole new story strand opened up with her departure. Angela and I talked in very broad ways at the beginning of the season that with Michonne, who stopped and helped someone in Andrea, it changed her life. We look at these stories as, ‘What was the point of her story? What was it all about?’
“At the end of her journey where she has these unbelievable hints about Rick and a direction to go in, she still stops to help someone. That’s who she is and who she’s become. In some ways, even though she has a whole lot of story ahead of her, that completes her journey on The Walking Dead.”

Right now, Gimple is still orchestrating plans for “The Walking Dead” films with the script for the first movie still in development at this time. It’s safe to assume Gurira will become an integral part of those movies but everything is still being plotted out for now.

“With the films, we definitely have plans. But even beyond the current plans, I have some ambitions,” Gimple said. “I love her and Rick together, but I love seeing her as the pure lead on her own, too. It just so happens that there’s a lot of story terrain to cover. But you’re right: it’s ambitions. Right now, the plans have to do with the feature film.”

Unfortunately almost the entire “Walking Dead” universe has been put on hold in recent weeks as the coronavirus pandemic has crippled the film industry with productions shut down around the world. “The Walking Dead” season 10 finale will be delayed and not air until later this year. “Fear the Walking Dead” had to stop production in the middle of filming season 6 while the upcoming third spinoff series “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” has been pushed back from its original April 12 debut date.

The same can be said for “The Walking Dead” movies, although Gimple promises that work is still being done by the writers in hopes that production can get started back as soon as it’s safe for everyone to return to work.

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