WARNING, SEASON FINALE SPOILERS
*AMC’s “The Walking Dead” has recruited “Treme” actress Danai Gurira to play Michonne, the legendary heroine from the Robert Kirkman comic series on which the zombie drama is based.
The hooded, sword-wielding character made her onscreen debut in the final moments of Sunday’s season-two finale, saving Andrea (Laurie Holden) from an almost certain death when she arrived — with a pair of armless and jawless walkers chained behind her — to put down an approaching zombie.
The hooded Michonne arrived on TV much the same way she did in the comic book. There, she saved Otis from a group of walkers and joined Rick and company in the safety of the prison, which was shown in the very last scene on Sunday.
In an interview about the finale, Kirkman told The Hollywood Reporter that the series was “transitioning into a new world” where the survivors are “faced with more adversaries, danger and different kinds of threats” and that Michonne is a “big part of that.”
“She saves Andrea and she’s carrying a sword. This is a very strange visual for fans of the show,” Kirkman told THR. “Fans of the comic book know all about her and I’m sure are very excited to see her. … I like to think about how the audience that just watches the show takes that. I think that is such a bizarre and jarring image. It really speaks volumes as to what you’re going to be seeing in season three.”
Fan favorite Michonne was introduced in Issue No. 19 of the Image Comics/Skybound series and continues to survive in the comics, which recently published its 94th installment. The character quickly earns Rick’s trust and becomes his most valued ally as the group battles the sadistic Governor – who will be played by David Morrissey.
Kirkman says of Michonne: “We know that she’s a loner, we know she kicks ass. But we have some other traits about that her that are not in the comic book that we’ll deviate. There’s an interesting process as we start to write this character and bring her to life. We see this character as a significant character, not just as someone who’s in the mix. This is a major addition to the show.”
Mazzara noted that the series was looking for “someone who inhabits the traits of the character” and didn’t need to necessarily bring in a “name” actress for the part. “We really feel like we want an actress who’s going to be identified with the character and bring the character to life,” he told THR.
Gurira’s credits include six episodes of HBO’s “Treme,” playing Village Voice writer Jill. She has also appeared in episodes of “Lie to Me,” “Law & Order” and “Life on Mars.”