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The Walking Dead's Danai Gurira on Michonne's exit, odds she'll return for Rick movies

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Mar 23, 2020, 11:00 AM EDT

The Walking Dead has lost another legend. Danai Gurira's Michonne has finished up her katana-wielding run on the AMC zombie show — and it's quite different than the ending comic writer Robert Kirkman dreamed up for her. Fans knew this end was coming, but it still hurts. However, perhaps it's not truly the last fans will see of her...especially since the MCU actress, playwright, and soon-to-be Americanah showrunner is playing coy about the performance's finality.

Making her exit from the show during Sunday's Season 10 episode "What We Become," after sailing off with Virgil, Michonne ended her small-screen run with the same level of badass benevolence that made her an easy character to enjoy upon her Season 2 debut. And, of course, it all led back to Rick Grimes — a character whose trajectory (of leaving the show but not the franchise) may be followed by Michonne. The episode ends with Michonne heading off into the sunset to follow a few clues that Rick might still be alive, and though she's done with the show, it stands to reason we could see her again in those Rick-centric movies.

The comics show Michonne all the way through the final issue, ending with her becoming a High Court judge in the Commonwealth. Showrunner Angela Kang didn't give such a definite outcome. Gurira was set on her exit — which she explains to EW was spurred by the pull of the writing side of her career ("there are aspects of my work as a writer, and I needed to allow it to have space") — making narrative sense and thematic sense with her character. She also told the The New York Times that it was simply the right time: "“It’s bittersweet. But it’s time for me to go on other journeys." And Kang's in-place storyline allowed enough wiggle room to make everyone happy.

Gurira told EW that she helped determine what kind of information and evidence would need to exist so "that her exit really made sense in terms of her doing it in a way that was very clearly coherent" when making the choice to leave her kids behind in order "to pursue what seems to be a real indication of Rick very clearly possibly being alive." This new quest — find Rick — seems to encourage the theory that Michonne will turn up in the upcoming TWD film universe.

Gurira, when asked directly about the possibility, said "I mean, we'll see how it goes, man. You know what I mean?" Asked the same question by the NYT, she said, "I’ve been part of The Walking Dead franchise and the Marvel movie franchise, and I’ve been taught to not talk about things. I’m not saying it is or it isn’t happening." That's much more vague than what Kang and franchise chief content officer Scott M. Gimple have to say.

"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," Kang said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "The idea of her possibly joining the filmic universe was exciting for everyone."

In fact, it seems that fans can safely assume that she'll be showing up on the big screen to find out what happened to Rick. "Is it fair to assume? It's definitely fair to assume that," Gimple said. "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."

While the first Walking Dead film is still in the early stages of production, it seems like fans can already start looking forward to much more Michonne down the line if all goes according to plan.