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Danai Gurira Praises The Walking Dead's Writers For The Vision Behind Michonne's Exit

During its 11 seasons on the air, "The Walking Dead" introduced the television world to a cast of characters as singular as any in the history of television. The post-apocalyptic series, of course, made frequent sport of dispatching those characters in bloody, soul-shaking fashion, rarely allowing one to walk away with their lives, let alone their heads. Heck, "The Walking Dead" team eventually even created an entire series dedicated to departed characters and the actors who played them.

Thankfully, an exception was made when it came time for Danai Gurira to leave the series. The actor had already spent the better part of eight seasons portraying the series' katana-wielding badass Michonne when she decided it was time for a change of scenery. That decision no doubt threw a kink into the plans of "The Walking Dead" creative team, who were then forced to come up with a suitable exit plan for one of the series' best-loved characters.

For her part, Gurira told The Hollywood Reporter during a 2020 interview that she largely stayed out of the writing team's way when it came to Michonne's departure. "I had to leave that decision in the hands of the storytellers," she said. "That was very important to me, to let them make those decisions." 

Gurira was fascinated by the alternate reality explored in her The Walking Dead exit

Thankfully, Danai Gurira was more than pleased with how the "The Walking Dead" creatives handled Michonne's exit, telling The Hollywood Reporter, "I was very happy with what they came to for her." She went on to praise series showrunner Angela Kang and the writing team for the narrative they conjured in her character's swan song. "Angela told me about the architecture they had in place for the episode, the sliding doors component," Gurira said, noting, "I thought that was fascinating."

The episode in question is titled "What We Become." It's centered almost entirely on Michonne and, in part, explores who the character might've become in the post-apocalyptic landscape had she not joined forces with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his band of survivors. That alternate reality is disturbing, to say the least, and serves as a stunning counterpoint to the person Michonne is when she leaves the group behind in hopes of finding the long-missing (and presumed dead) Rick.

As Gurira told THR, she was more than grateful to the writing team for penning such a complex narrative for her exit. "It really felt like a very generous way of giving the character her final nod as she leaves the show," Gurira said, later adding, "I really dug that." Of course, "What We Become" wasn't Gurira's last appearance on "The Walking Dead," with her and Lincoln both returning for the 2022 series finale. And, as the pair are set to reprise their roles in an upcoming spin-off series, it seems there's still much to come for Michonne.