Michonne may have left “The Walking Dead” on Sunday, but it’s really tough to imagine that she’ll be gone forever. We know that Danai Gurira is done with the TV show version of “The Walking Dead,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s done with the “Walking Dead” universe complete.
Unlike when Lincoln exited the series in season 9, AMC did not publicize that Gurira’s run on “The Walking Dead” would end with this episode. But fans knew it was just a matter of time because she revealed last summer that season 10 would be her last.
But this ending felt like more of a jumping-off point than an ending, given the way Michonne said her goodbyes. During this week’s episode, we finally found out what happened when she and Virgil (Kevin Carroll) arrived at the island in the Chesapeake Bay that Virgil said might have stockpiles of weapons that Michonne could bring back to Alexandria.
Things did not go smoothly — this is “The Walking Dead,” after all — with the traumatized Virgil locking her up and serving her some kind of psychedelic tea that caused her to hallucinate a past in which she never saved Andrea or joined up with Rick’s crew. Instead, she saw an alternate version of her past, in which she fell in with the Saviors — and who was the one who swung the bat in that infamously brutal season 7 premiere.
Once Michonne was coherent again, she managed to settle the situation with Virgil, who had also locked up some of his neighbors. But during her time on the island, she found some of Rick’s things — his boots and a cell phone with a chalk drawing of Michonne and Judith on the screen. And when she returned the mainland, instead of returning home she set off to find Rick.
It’s tough to think of any reason to send Michonne off like this — like this scenario specifically — without it being some kind of lead-in to the theatrical films that are planned to follow up on Rick’s story. We know Rick is out there, wherever the helicopter folks took him, waiting to be found. So if they just wanted to dump Michonne off and never have her show up ever again in the universe of “The Walking Dead,” then it wouldn’t make a ton of sense to send her off in the direction of an upcoming story.
However, there’s no confirmation yet that Gurira will appear in the “Walking Dead” film. But judging by the way Gurira and “Walking Dead” TVverse boss Scott M. Gimple have talked about the situation in the wake of Michonne’s final episode, it’s clear that something is at least theoretically in the works.
“We’ll have to see. But that really is an open-ended goodbye,” Gurira told TheWrap. “She leaves on a quest. And she leaves with a plan to go and find the man she never was quite sure had died. So definitely open-ended. We’ll see where it goes.”
When I pressed a little bit more, she simply repeated that sentiment again.
Meanwhile, on the video chat-style episode of “Talking Dead” that aired after the episode, Gimple acknowledged, in very vague terms, that there’s more story for Michonne. But he never said if we’ll get to see the rest of it. So for now, we’re left to wonder.
The upcoming film, which will be released in theaters by Universal, sees Lincoln reprising his role as Rick Grimes. No plot details or other cast have been announced, but obviously it will involve the mysterious group that’s been flying around Virginia in a helicopter for several seasons. And who also popped up in “Fear the Walking Dead” last season.
Lincoln departed the series during the ninth season, with TV franchise boss Scott Gimple saying that Lincoln would return in a series of films. The character was last seen gravely wounded and being flown away with Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) on a helicopter towards an unknown destination — though obviously we now know he ended up on this boat that popped up this week on his way to someplace to the north. The 24-second footage that AMC showed at Comic-Con last summer featured that same helicopter and the words “Rick Grimes Returns.”
A third “Walking Dead” series, “World Beyond,” debuts sometime this year.