When The Walking Dead loses Michonne star Danai Gurira, longtime co-star Norman Reedus will miss her “every day.” Gurira bid farewell to the zombie drama after eight seasons in July, where filming on her final episode wrapped with a spectacular fireworks display purchased by Reedus, and The Walking Dead will send Michonne off in next week’s 1013, “What We Become.” The katana-wielding Michonne was last seen in November’s midseason 10 finale, “The World Before,” where she negotiated a trade with newly encountered survivor Virgil (Kevin Carroll): in exchange for sailing him home to his family on Bloodsworth Island, Virgil will supply Michonne with firepower needed to destroy the walker horde now threatening to destroy the allied communities.
“She attacks every scene with a ferocity and a grace that’s really inspiring to work with,” Reedus told EW. “I’ve seen her in the most vulnerable state and also the most aggressive. We’ve gone through it together. So it’s more than just losing a cast member. You’re losing somebody that you have such a tight bond with.”
Daryl and Michonne grew closer when they bonded over the disappearance and presumed death of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), the result of Lincoln exiting the show to spend more time with family and pursue other opportunities before he steps back into Rick’s boots in the first-ever Walking Dead feature film.
Similarly, Gurira exits to answer the call on other creative endeavors: beyond serving as a first time showrunner on Americanah for HBO Max, where she reunites with her Black Panther co-star Lupita Nyong’o, the in-demand actress and accomplished playwright will take on more behind-the-camera roles now that she’s signed a two-year overall deal with Disney-owned ABC Studios.
For Reedus, who has witnessed Gurira slice and dice walkers since Season 3 of The Walking Dead, he believes Gurira is a natural fit for a showrunner position.
“She’s not a follower. She’s a natural-born leader, that girl,” he said. “I’m happy for all the things that are going on in her life, but I’ll miss her every day.”
Added Gurira of her last days on set, “It was very emotional. I was really blown back by how much love I received from everybody.”
“The thing that she’s always brought is so much passion,” said showrunner Angela Kang, who had to send off Lincoln’s Rick early in Season 9. “This was her first series-regular gig, and she threw everything into it. Her work ethic is incredible, and she also knows how to have a good time.”
Gurira’s last episode of The Walking Dead premieres Sunday, March 22 at 9/8c on AMC. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.