It’s the end of an era on The Walking Dead as Danai Gurira has laid down her katana and undone her braids as the fan-favourite Michonne.
While fans of AMC’s shuffling zombie apocalypse have known Michonne would depart in season 10 for what seems like an eternity, that didn’t make March 22’s ‘What We Become’ any less shocking. Read on to find out what happened to the sword-swinging badass and how Michonne’s swansong neatly set up the return of Rick Grimes to the fold.
Although most of ‘What We Become’ was fan service to those who’ve stuck with Michonne since her season-two debut, the final act put the pieces in place for an epic crossover with the network’s planned trilogy of Rick Grimes movies. Unlike Lori, Shane, Glenn, Carl, Abraham, Sasha, and Alpha (you get the idea), both Michonne and Rick have lived to fight another day.
While characters like Daryl Dixon refused to believe Rick perished in his explosive season-nine swansong, Michonne finally caught up with viewers and also learned Rick hasn’t met his maker. Well, not yet. Michonne’s emotional farewell was kick-started by finding Rick’s signature cowboy boots and a cryptic message hidden aboard a washed-up military boat.
Michonne was left rightly confused when she found a chalk drawing of herself and Judith Grimes alongside some Japanese writing and the name “Rick”.
Business Insider did a little digging and went straight to the source of the story to ask showrunner Angela Kang what the Rick message means. Kang obviously didn’t give away what’s next for Michonne and Rick, although she dropped a clue by revealing the translation of the Japanese is “Believe a little longer”.
She added, “The phone is obviously a hint at some larger story that took place”, teasing there’s a Rick-centric flashback waiting in the wings somewhere.
Only last month, franchise overseer Scott M Gimple teased Michonne’s role in Rick’s trilogy, so the logical way to go now is a globetrotting trip around the world. The inclusion of the Japanese writing suggests Rick could have found a new purpose in the Land of the Rising Sun, which would definitely alleviate criticisms the story has gone stale. Viewers have been asking to explore more of the zombie-riddled world on The Walking Dead, while the bigger-budget canvas of the Rick movies seems like the perfect way to do this.
Despite Michonne being a bit of a question mark right now, Rick’s next steps are arguably a little simpler. The gruff sheriff was last seen being flown off in a helicopter by the mysterious group known as the CRM.
Synonymous with its symbol of three rings, the CRM has now popped up in the main series, added another mystery to Fear The Walking Dead season five and is confirmed to be a major part of The Walking Dead: World Beyond. It’s a matter of connecting the dots on how Rick got from the CRM’s helicopter to a military vessel. Thankfully, there could be up to a six-year gap between these events that makes for some pretty handy storytelling.
Ironically, Chandler Riggs (known for playing Carl Grimes) gave his own theory on how The Walking Dead will end, which also brings back daddy dearest. Speaking at Wizard World Cleveland (via ComicBook.com), the young star predicted a bloody war between Maggie Rhee (heading up the Commonwealth) and Rick Grimes as part of the CRM.
Riggs explained: “My kind of theory is that the whole CRM thing they’re setting up, they’re setting it up to be the CRM versus the Commonwealth and there’s gonna be a big battle at the end. That’s kind of how they’re gonna close out the whole franchise. That’s my guess.”
Even if Michonne and Rick are currently miles apart – thousands of miles by the looks of it — there’s no doubt they’re set to cross paths at some point in the future. However, where does this leave Michonne for now? After assessing her life choices, Michonne went through the trippy “What if?” reality where she abandoned Laurie Holden’s Andrea and became a murderous member of Negan’s Saviors. Michonne found herself back in reality where she helped an injured couple get back to their group — which set up ANOTHER new community.
The last shot panned out as a shocked Michonne looked down on a huge convoy of survivors and their wagons. Given the outfits and the horses that were part of the colony, there’s a definite Wild West theme to Michonne’s exit. Japan and the Old West sounds like The Walking Dead is taking a leaf out of Westworld’s book, but it’ll probably make a lot more sense when Gurira or Lincoln return to Gimple’s world. Unfortunately, Michonne is bowing out for now and we’re left with more questions than answers.