*After seven seasons playing zombie slayer Michonne on “The Walking Dead,” actress Danai Gurira departed the hit show in Sunday’s “What We Become” episode.
Gurira revealed over a year ago her plans to leave the show, but this may not be the last time TWD fans see her in action.
The actress and series showrunner Angela Kang tease in a new interview with Deadline that Michonne and her lover Rick (played by Andrew Lincoln) may be reunited in either the upcoming franchise films or in a whole new landscape.
Check out excerpts below about the legacy of her character and the future of Rick and Michonne.
DEADLINE: So, Danai, the way Michonne exits, in search of her love Rick Grimes, are you really gone from the world of TWD or just walking out of sight for awhile?
GURIRA: (LAUGHS) Well, you know I would never tell you yay or nay to that, but I think there is an open-endedness to how she exits. I will agree with you on that.
I thought it was beautiful that she got to, you know, kind of get cosmically rewarded for helping this weird guy, Virgil, who is played by a wonderful actor who I’ve always admired, Kevin Carroll. Rewarded by finding evidence that’s something she’s always suspected was true, which was that Rick didn’t die on that bridge. So, you know, we’ll see how that goes. See what happens next or see if something happens.
DEADLINE: Angela? Is there more Michonne to come with Rick on the big screen?
KANG: Certainly, that option is open there, and I really hope that they will reunite sometime. However, I think it’s more of a question for Scott Gimple.
DEADLINE: Obviously, even with the flashbacks to Lincoln’s Rick and alternative realities with Michonne becoming one of Negan’s Saviors and being the one to kill off some of the Survivors in what was that bloody Season 7 opener, what we saw tonight was one of those TWD episodes that primarily centered on a single character and a single main actor. Not having almost anything from (Robert) Kirkman’s comics to base this on, how did the particulars emerge from ideas to plots?
KANG: As we were talking about like what really had Michonne gone through on an emotional level through the years, we felt that ultimately here’s a person who has some tendencies to want to be alone and to be a lone wolf, but she is pulled to other people…
DEADLINE: Like the treacherous Virgil?
KANG: Yes, and ultimately her decisions to show mercy at various points and to connect with people rather than isolating herself has been what has healed her. It has given her the greatest joys of her life, and has allowed her to build a life even in the midst of this apocalypse too
So, it came out of this organic conversation about what are these key moments that really shaped who she was, and does she have any regrets? Does she think that the decisions were the right decisions? Is there any awareness of the easy paths that people can take where things shift, you know, and what is the line between a hero and a villain?
DEADLINE: Certainly, those near final scenes of you on the walkie with Cailey Fleming’s very mature Judith and Anthony Azor’s CJ were just so powerful. So, with all that has been built up over the past couple of seasons of Michonne as a single Mom to her and Rick’s kids and now saying goodbye with their blessing, what we’re doing those scenes like, knowing for yourself that those are potentially your final Walking Dead scenes?
GURIRA: It was everything. It was peaceful. It was beautiful. It was joyful. It was sad. It was, you know, gratifying.
DEADLINE: How so?
GURIRA: I had gratitude for how they allowed me to exit the show and how well they’d taken care of the character. I had gratitude for how much I got to do, and how I got to exit in a way that honored the character and gave her an ability to be true to herself, like that end scene you referred to.
DEADLINE: Danai, for you, what would you say to those TWD fans and those particular fans of Michonne as she heads off in search of Rick, perhaps never to be seen in this world again?
GURIRA: First of all, I couldn’t be more thankful and have more love for the fans of the show and for the way that they have bolstered me and loved what we’ve been doing and appreciated our work. Also, I feel there’ll be an indelible connection to this and the audience of The Walking Dead. The love that they show us and the way that I’ve been able to connect with them over the years, which has made me a better human being. It’s made me…it’s filled me with gratitude and love, and I’ll always be deeply appreciative of them for that.