Sunday’s milestone episode of “The Walking Dead” featured another major departure of a beloved character, and fans are paying tribute.
The day we all knew was coming finally arrived when Danai Gurira’s iconic character Michonne finally made her grand exit — in expectedly surreal fashion: Exploring Michonne’s path through life and how things could have turned out differently.
The episode — which extensively featured hallucinations that were made up of reimagined and repurposed footage from past episodes, told from different perspectives — was something of a testament to Michonne’s impact on the series, and fans didn’t fail to extol the virtues of the character and Gurira’s powerful performance throughout the entire series.
“13 minutes into the episode and she’s already trending. Her impact 🔥 #TheWalkingDead” on Twitter user pointed out, showing the level of love and interest the character and her departure generated across the world on Sunday.
“Just watched Michonne’s final episode of #TheWalkingDead. I’m speechless. My mind is absolutely blown. I cried multiple times,” a fan page for “The Walking Dead” tweeted ahead of Sunday’s episode. “Incredible last episode for one of the greatest #TWD characters ever!”
“Her name is michonne. forever our katana queen,” another user wrote, referring to the character’s penchant for samurai swords when it comes to decapitating the undead. “THANK YOU DANAI GURIRA #TWD”
Former “Walking Dead” star Andrew Lincoln shared an Instagram video to send a message to his longtime co-star.
After serenading her with Paul McCartney and Wings’ “Live and Let Die” — with the words changed to “Oh yes we love you Danai” — he addressed her, semi-in character as Rick Grimes.
“We love you, Danai. Wow, wow, wow. What a thing,” he said. “I remember the first time I met you. You were fainted. You had collapsed outside the gates of the prison. Rick Grimes and his son, I thought you were a maniac with your katana swords, but my son Carl thought we should save you. So I ran out. The whole or production insisted I not pick you up, that the scene would finish as soon as I got you into a fireman’s lift. Oh no.”
Here are a few of the most heartfelt and adoring fan tributes to the beloved character and the celebrated actress who portrayed for her eight seasons.
Gurira first announced her departure from the series during last year’s San Diego Comic Con in July. She later opened up to ET about what leaving the show meant, and how hard it was to make the announcement in the first place.
“I will always look at it as ‘The Walking Dead’ forever in my mind,” she shared of her bond with the cast and crew while talking with ET at the season 10 premiere in September. “We love each other. I’m part of a family. It never ends. I’ll never leave this family. That’s how I hold it in my heart.”
“It was very difficult to tell that to the audience and I struggled through it because it wasn’t an easy decision to make,” Gurira added in regards to her Comic Con announcement. “But it was time for me to start exploring other aspects of what I do as a storyteller.”
“I’ve had an amazing time. I love the arc that [Michonne] got to take, and the way that she gets to exit the show is really special,” she added.
“The Walking Dead” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC.