AMC hit “The Walking Dead” has been as unstoppable as a herd of walkers, but it seems that’s been changing the past year or two. With major stars leaving the show (causing even more major deviations from the comics), one must wonder if the show will be on life support soon. Today, we found out TWD will take another big loss soon – the samurai-sword carrying lawyer, Michonne.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the story, announcing Danai Gurira had signed a deal that would keep her on for one more season, and that would be it.
Under her new deal, Gurira will return in a limited capacity — described as only a handful of episodes — that will be interspersed throughout season 10. The actress, playwright and social activist will then likely segue to the three Walking Dead movies that AMC is planning with former leading man Andrew Lincoln. The latter has played the central role of Rick Grimes since the pilot and departed in the first half of season nine.
Gurira had been in talks with AMC for a new contract since well before season nine of The Walking Dead started. With the loss of other stars, AMC set their sights on doing their best to keep Gurira on the show, but it seems those plans fell through.
In the wake of this departure, it’s been reported that Gurira’s co-stars — Norman Reedus (Daryl) and Melissa McBride (Carol) — signed multiple-year “franchise/universe deals” with AMC to keep them on TWD for a long time.
Sources say those pacts will cover three years of the franchise as a whole, meaning if their characters are written off of the flagship and relocated to another property in the Walking Dead franchise — or depart completely — they would continue to get paid. Both received sizable raises. Reedus — who also hosts and exec produces AMC’s unscripted motorcycle series Ride With Norman Reedus — earns $350,000 per episode on top of additional guarantees and advances in a deal that sources say could be worth anywhere from $50 million to $90 million. McBride’s deal will see the actress score an estimated $20 million over three years.
Those deals allow Reedus and McBride to jockey between Walking Dead properties, including crossing over to companion series Fear the Walking Dead and, potentially, roles in the trio of TV movies. AMC, under chief content officer Scott M. Gimple, has further expansion plans beyond the movies for its billion-dollar franchise.
Gurira joined the cast in 2012 and became a breakout hit with viewers as the badass Michonne. Her name power continued to elevate every year, especially after her appearance as Okoye in “Black Panther”.
It may be the last time we see Michonne on TWD for some time, but fans will have to wait for the movies to see what happens when her and Rick cross paths again.
“The Walking Dead” returns for new episodes of the second half of season nine on February 10th at 9 pm ET on AMC.