The Walking Dead has had no shortage of core cast members depart over the years, from Jon Bernthal, Scott Wilson, Steven Yeun and Lauren Cohan to, most recently, of course, star Andrew Lincoln, who left last year. Danai Gurira, who joined the hit post-apocalyptic horror show in its third season, will be the latest to depart, when she cycles off the series in its upcoming 10th season, debuting October 6.
“It’s been one of my purest joys to play this character, Michonne,” said Gurira during a recent visit to the HFPA Comic-Con lounge. “The complexity, the range, the wonderful challenges I face every season as a performer to step into the next thing that her character calls me to do have all been a true joy. So it wasn’t an easy choice to make. And it’s not about my heart, because my heart is deeply embedded in this show in truly artistic and human ways. But my calling is pulling me to another place, and I had to heed to that.”
Hearteningly, hardcore fans of the series may not have seen the last of Gurira, as the 41-year-old actress left open the possibility of joining Lincoln in the first of the three planned feature film spin-offs focusing on his character, Rick Grimes, that were announced on Friday at the end of The Walking Dead’s Hall H panel.
In the meantime, though, Gurira has nothing but positive memories to share. “It really has been an amazing journey to step into something that had already broken barriers and boundaries and created a genre on television that had never been seen,” she said. “It (worked) because it was character-driven, and it was about human pain and suffering and truth and the pursuit of one’s humanity.”
Those thematic elements, it seems certain, will remain central to the future of The Walking Dead, despite any cast changes.