Danai Gurira's Departure From The Walking Dead Could Be Trouble For The Future Of The Show
While ‘The Walking Dead’ is no stranger to seeing major characters leave the show after they get killed by a zombie, they have recently lost some major players in the story like Andrew Lincoln, who played Rick Grimes and left earlier this season. Dania Gurira, who plays Michonne, will be leaving in a similar way next season, but it’s hard to tell if the show will survive without her.
A LOSS TOO GREAT TO OVERCOME
Michonne appeared on the AMC hit series during its third season, and after eight years, it seems only natural that Gurira is ready to move on to other projects. Of course, the actress has been doing well for herself after appearing in Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ as part of the Dora Milaje, but she is also known for her playwright talent.
‘The Walking Dead’ will be starting its tenth season with only two characters from the first one alive. After Lauren Cohan’s exit announcement, and now Gurira’s news, the most senior female character will be Tara played by Alanna Masterson. While every fan can understand why Gurira is pulling out, how the showrunners are going to manage Michonne’s exit is much trickier.
Everyone assumes that Rick is dead, so Michonne became the defacto leader of Alexandria and the central character of the story. She became the mother of Grimes’ kids, and season nine has focused on her. It’s going to be extremely difficult for the series to handle her departure and have a new character as the central hero of the narrative.
However, since Andrew Lincoln has transitioned from TV star to ‘Walking Dead’ movie actor, Michonne’s exit from the show is easier to take if she also takes a role in the films. Some of the most important actors in the series can leave without having their characters killed or bitten. Michonne is likely to survive, and hopefully, reunite with Rick later on.
There is also speculation that Rick might be the reason Michonne leaves. If she finds out that Grimes might still be alive, she could go on her own to find her lover. However, if others hear about this, then they might decide to leave as well. Daryl Dixon, played by Norman Reedus, has not been the same since the loss of his best friend, and he could join up the search. Therefore, that might not be the reason for her exit.
Whatever her motivations, it has to be something not that significant to avoid losing more characters right away. Unless she is able to convince them to stay as protectors of Alexandria. Her exit might also mean saying goodbye to the kids, Judith and R.J. unless she plans to leave them behind for some reason. However, being on the road with two young kids might be interesting.
Michonne could ask Daryl to keep her children save after convincing him to stay behind while she searches for Rick. In the comic books by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard, Michonne is gone for some time, and she reunites with a loved one, but it’s different. However, it’s also crucial to the continuation of ‘The Walking Dead’ story, so it will be interesting to see how AMC handles that arc.
Another story involved Michonne at sea looking for supplies for her people, and they called her “Pirate Michonne”. In the end, it’s easy to see Michonne leaving the series to find Rick and surviving for the movies, but the show will be losing someone crucial, and it will be an obstacle to overcome. In terms of writing, the series is at its peak point with Angela Kang as showrunner.
Furthermore, the time jump has brought new life into the story, but according to The Hollywood Reporter’s Dan Fienberg, it might be too late. Even if Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride keeping going, the show needs to find actors that will keep the narrative as fresh and strong as all the people they have lost.
They need to introduce new central characters with enough excitement to interest their die-hard fans, otherwise, they might not get away with a story without Rick, Maggie, and Michonne. They might have to bring Morgan back from ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ and others from that show. It might also be time for showrunners to start discussing the possible end of this series.
WHAT ELSE CAN BE EXPECTED FROM SEASON NINE?
Since there is confirmation about season ten, many things can happen between now and then. Unfortunately, the show is getting lower ratings than they expected, especially after the season premiere which was 47% less than season eight’s first episode. However, ‘The Walking Dead’ is still the number one show on U.S. cable for Sunday nights.
As mentioned earlier, Andrew Lincoln left the show but has signed on to be on the AMC movies, so Rick will carry on. However, his departure has influenced the series in many ways: things have changed, there was a time jump, and more. The actor talked about his exit during New York Comic-Con in October:
“These guys and everybody back in Atlanta, and all of [the fans] here. I’m going to miss the whole experience. I can’t explain it. I think I’m only going to get a handle on it in 20 years when I look like the old Rick Grimes. I’ve loved every minute of it. Thank you.”
Right after the announcement of his departure, some fans speculated that Norman Reedus might be taking the lead, and some news outlets reported that he was negotiating a $20 million deal with AMC. However, the actor was quick to deny those rumors. “As soon as the news was out that Andy was leaving, the Internet was like, oh, he’s going to be the new Andy, but that’s not the case.”
“Andy was number one on the call sheet. I was number 20. I’m still number 20. I want to stay number 20. The Internet says whatever the Internet says, and that’s been a thing forever for this show, but I have to still play the character like I’ve played it. For Daryl, for the survivors, there are communities, which you can see from the first episode we’re trying to form alliances with and work together with.”
While some major characters will be leaving after Rick, there is some talk about older characters possibly returning. In fact, Angela Kang confirmed that Jon Bernthal, who played the role of Shane, Scott Wilson, a.k.a. Hershel, and Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha are returning. Shortly after that announcement, news about Scott Wilson’s death was made public.
However, their return to the show has to be dream sequences or perhaps flashbacks. There is also some speculation that Abraham Ford, portrayed by actor Michael Cudlitz, could be back after his brutal death at the hands of Negan, or rather, his bat. Meanwhile, the show changed significantly after Rick Grimes’ apparent death, as it has time-jumped several years into the future.
Scott Gimple talked about it last year, stating: “They’ll be dealing with things we haven’t seen them deal with before and dealing with each other in ways that we haven’t seen before. What [the writers] have planned… it just feels new. It feels like an evolved show. [The past eight seasons] very much lived in the world that Rick began with. It was so informed by the pilot. It just takes this quantum leap forward in the stories we’re telling.”
Kang also talked about the leap forward: “There’s a fun Western vibe that has emerged. We are going into a period where a lot of the things that we’ve seen in previous seasons have broken down, so they’ve got these horses and carriages that are being drawn around instead of cars. Things are lit with oil lamps. People are using different kinds of weaponry. There’s a real grittiness to it that I think will be fun and fresh for the viewers.”
Another new thing is The Whisperers, the villains that were introduced in the midseason finale, and they are the greatest foes the main characters will have to face. They look like the zombies because they wear masks made of the dead’s flesh, and their society is different from others in the sense that they do not have real names.
The leader’s name is Alpha, and the second-in-command is called Beta, but there is another character, Lydia. Season nine started out peacefully after the huge battle against Negan, and they were trying to rebuild society from the ground up. However, this show is not complete without more baddies, and these ones are insane.
A NEW VIDEO GAME
A new ‘Walking Dead’ video game was released this month on PS4 and Xbox One. It was out on Windows last November. Developed by Overkill, it’s titled simply ‘Overkill’s The Walking Dead’, and it features an FPS co-operative multiplayer with new faces for users to play with like Aidan, Grant, Heather, and Maya. Furthermore, Robert Kirkman confirmed that Skybound will be finishing the Telltale Games video games series.
What do you think about Michonne's departure? Will the show survive or is it time to say goodbye to this narrative and focus on the spin-off and the movies? If you liked this article, share it with your friends that have watched 'The Walking Dead' since the first season. See you next time!