The Walking Dead: Danai Gurira shares her always sharp perspective

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC, The Walking Dead
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC, The Walking Dead /

Danai Gurira talks about Michonne, Deanna, and taking a stand in Alexandria going forward in the second half of season 6 of The Walking Dead.

Entertainment Weekly has provided fans with some fantastic exclusive interviews this week as we look forward to the premiere of the second part of season 6 next Sunday. If you’re on Twitter, you can check out everything they have at the hashtag TWDScoops.

So far Dalton Ross has talked to Steven Yeun, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, and scored the first interview with the man who will be Paul “Jesus” Monroe sometime soon, Tom Payne.  Today’s scoop is from Danai Gurira. I love to hear Danai speak about The Walking Dead. She’s incredibly perceptive.

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As far as the overall experience of this second half, Danai seems to agree with everything we’ve heard and read, but I like how she states it. “There is an experience that they’re starting to go through that they’ve never experienced before, and it is new territory for them, though their response to it is based on a lot of what they’ve learnt in their past experiences. But they are stepping into newer territory than they realize. There’s also very specific character growth and experiences and arcs that are surprising — and I think very intriguing — that also occur in the midst of the larger arc.”

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC, The Walking Dead
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC, The Walking Dead /

I’m not a big fan of the word arc, but I like what she is suggesting. I like that there may be some surprises in store for us. I like that they can use what they’ve learned and what we’ve seen them experience, but that it will still be new and different not just for us, but for the characters as well. And I like the smaller stories within the larger stories.

Danai had quite a bit to say about her own character when she was asked about what all of that meant for Michonne specifically:

"“I think Michonne has already felt a deep responsibility to Alexandria. She’s the one who was really on Aaron’s side when Aaron came and tried to get them to go, and she’s the one who trusted him and got Rick there. Rick initially punched him in the face and was not having it. And she’s the one who when Rick was kind of losing it and really not trusting these people, she knocked him out, gave him a timeout really, so that he could really rethink how he approaches everybody.Michonne, The Walking Dead – AMCShe’s the one who put up her weapon and really tried to transform amidst their rules and put on the uniform they asked her to put on. So she’s always respected Deanna and always really wanted this place to work and always really wanted a home for them to really function with some degree of normality. She said in the episode where Tyreese died, “We’ve been out here too long.” And she was seeing it affects her people, so I don’t think that’s really the shift. I don’t think that’s necessarily a change for her.She’s always really cared about this place and wanted it to be a home for Carl and for Judith and for everybody, a place where they could stabilize and reconnect to their humanity in the more level-minded way. But I feel Deanna went a little further into Michonne with that question she asked her, about what do you want? It’s something more than being dutiful to the group and to those things. It’s something else, and I think that Michonne’s journey is to figure out what that something is.”"

Something in there made me think of Michonne in a way I haven’t really thought of her before. Michonne is a leader in experience, not just in the traditional sense, on the show. She makes a lot of the mistakes first, and goes through much of the experiences before the other characters.

She had the grief and experience of talking to someone who was gone before Rick hallucinated Lori. She lost herself in the walkers before Sasha took her nap with them. She knew they had been out there too long. She has tried to make Alexandria work, and failed already.  She can help the rest of them and herself push their way through this.

She has more balance than almost anyone on the show, yet she has experienced unbalanced swings at times: walking with her pets and putting away her sword. She also is the bearer of themes quite often. Themes that have been prominent recently include: the world is larger; we must keep moving forward; we have no choice; and we can’t do things without people.

"“It is a time where they have to make a decision about how this moment is going to differ from the moments before. And it’s about the idea of, do you go back out and run, or do you find a way to take a stand? And it is really kind of that thing that makes their journey continual and dynamic. We don’t know yet what exactly their response to this level of invasion is going to be, and whether or not they’ve really learnt from what their choices were in the past and the way they got there, but I do know that they are fed up with constantly moving.”“That doesn’t mean they can necessarily stop moving, but they’re fed up with it. They all wanted to be able to call a place home again because being on the road is the worst. I mean, that was horrible to shoot, let alone to live — living in cars or walking down the street and hoping some random animal is caught. You know, living off a few bullets and a few drops of water — there’s nothing worse. So really, I think it is a moment of truth for them to really figure out what is this moment going to mean for us and how does our journey continue? It all depends on we respond to this moment.”More from Undead WalkingWalking Dead alum Jayson Warner Smith promotes new film, Chipper, watch it nowWalking Dead actor Chandler Riggs filming new movie in Tampa BayWhy is there no season 12 of The Walking Dead?Will Morgan Jones find Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live spinoff?Watch Tales of TWD actress Jillian Bell in Prime Video’s Candy Cane Lane“It’s all going to be about how they respond to this crisis. It’s a really make or break moment in terms of the community and Alexandria. Will they band together? Do they become survivors together, or do they really break apart? From Michonne’s perspective, that is the thing that she truly does hope for and completely wants for Deanna’s people. Deanna really did save their lives and brought them into a community she had sustained and maintained during a time when no one else was maintaining communities. That’s something that Michonne takes to heart and really appreciates. There’s a possibility that we can create a society again, which is what’s she’s hoped for. But we’ll see what happens.”"

Another thing I’ve noticed on The Walking Dead in general, is that groups that focused too much on making the current world function too much like the old world or like the world they want to create in the future, failed. Consider Woodbury, Terminus, Alexandria, and to a certain extent the farm on the prison in 4B.

I think some of the flashbacks of Hershel talking about how great the farm could be, while we were suffering after the prison had fallen, were representative of that. You still must deal with the current threat while making life better now. Denial and hope must be tempered with reality.

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On the other hand, reality with no hope breeds evil and selfishness. Deanna was innocent and in denial, but she left her plans, her hope and her legacy in brilliant hands.

One more week! If you’re a marathon person, anytime from Thursday afternoon through Sunday, it will be all The Walking Dead all the time to get you prepped for the big night!