Never let it be said that AMC lacks ambition. Despite gently declining ratings, the network seems determined to expand The Walking Dead. Not only do we have Fear the Walking Dead, but they’ve also announced that there’s a Maggie-centric spinoff show in development and just the other month we learned that Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes will appear in his own movie trilogy.
Now, we’ve got word that he’ll be joined by longtime partner in walker-whacking, Danai Gurira’s Michonne, who’ll be exiting the show at some point in season 10. How she may factor into the films is unknown, but here’s Andrew Lincoln on his vision for what the movies will offer:
“I like the idea that we get to tell a bigger story, maybe with a sort of wider vista. And I’ve always been interested in what’s going on out there, you know, whether or not there is contact with the wider world. I want to know the meta of it all. And I suppose to be able to kind of touch upon that in a contained story for me is a very exciting proposition. [It’s] the start of a bigger story.”
Conscious that Gurira’s getting a little too big for network TV after the success of Black Panther (not to mention her upcoming expanded role in Avengers: Endgame), the network has apparently agreed a deal that will see her appear in only a handful of season 10 episodes, and in a limited capacity. There’s a number of reasons for this, but the main two are that her price tag’s gone up and that her popularity means it’s much trickier to schedule in a season-long shoot.
With that mind, it makes perfect sense for her to be a major player in the movie trilogy, where it’ll be easier to negotiate a pay deal and she can shoot them around the various other projects she has coming up.
Showrunner Angela Kang had this to say about Michonne’s role in the series going forward:
“I’ll just say Michonne is obviously a huge part of the story of The Walking Dead. We absolutely love Danai. Anything that’s contract-wise, that’s for people to work out, but we have a lot of exciting stories to tell with her going forward. We’re thrilled for what’s in store for her. That’s as much as I can say right now.”
Producer (and visual effects maestro) Greg Nicotero was similarly positive, stating:
“For me, it’s always important to maintain some integrity from season to season of these characters that we’re invested in and we’ve fallen in love with…There’s a lot of great characters that are still on the show and there’s a lot of characters that left the show that I miss. But I’m pretty confident that there’s lots of plans in place for all kinds of different scenarios.”
The Walking Dead returns to AMC this Sunday for the second half of its ninth season, and we can only hope that it’ll give Michonne a good chunk of screen time since her exit’s now quickly approaching.