In Michonne’s final episode of The Walking Dead, she leaves to go find Rick and comes across a new group of survivors, all of which is likely setup for the planned Walking Dead movies. Announced not long after Andrew Lincoln’s exit from The Walking Dead in season 9, Rick’s story is set to continue across three feature films. And while nothing has yet been officially confirmed, it’s thought that Danai Gurira will also return as Michonne in at least one of these planned movies.
The Walking Dead has lost many of its character over the years, and mostly through deaths, but recent seasons have seen a few of its major characters exit by other means. Morgan left the main series and joined the spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead, while Maggie left Hilltop to travel with Georgie to her still unnamed community. Their departures have left Carol and Daryl as the two longest lasting characters on the show, and though Carol’s shared a desire to leave Alexandria, Daryl doesn’t seem as interested. Not to mention, actor Norman Reedus has frequently expressed how angry he’d be if his character was ever killed off.
The Walking Dead season 10, episode 13, “What We Become” marks Michonne’s final appearance on the main show of the franchise. An episode that focuses solely on her escorting Virgil home in exchange for valuable weapons, it quickly takes multiple twists and turns before ending at a point that sees Michonne off in search of Rick. Here’s how Michonne’s exit from The Walking Dead is setting up the planned Rick Grimes movies:
The details surrounding the upcoming Walking Dead movies are slim, but we do know they will see Andrew Lincoln return as Rick Grimes. Behind-the-scenes, these films came about because Lincoln was tired of the months spent filming in Georgia that kept him away from his family in England. Rather than kill off their main character, though, then-showrunner Scott Gimple and Lincoln agreed on a way for Rick to exit the main Walking Dead series and later return in three movies. So in The Walking Dead season 9, Rick is seemingly killed in an explosion, only for it to be later revealed he survives and is taken away in a helicopter by a mysterious group.
This mysterious group and their helicopter have been hovering on the edge of The Walking Dead for years, most notably, they’ve been seen making deals with Jadis/Anne for A’s and B’s (people they deem to be good leaders or not). Their helicopter is marked by a symbol of three interlocking circles that represent three different communities who are joined together in a common cause. Fear the Walking Dead has since revealed that one of these groups (the one with the helicopter) is the CRM, or Civic Republic Military as the other Walking Dead spinoff, World Beyond has labeled them. What other two communities are represented by the circles is unknown, but the community that the main characters of World Beyond hail from is likely another of the three.
With Rick having been taken away by the CRM, it only makes sense for this organization to play a role in one if not all three Walking Dead movies. While plot details are still under wraps, it’s expected that the movies will explain what Rick has been doing for the six years since he disappeared. If he’s been among the CRM, as either a captive or willing participant, then it stands to reason the movies will reveal more about their motivations as well as identify the other communities represented by the three circles. Additionally, an early teaser released for these Walking Dead movies hints at Philadelphia being the setting, and if that’s the case, then at least Michonne is heading in the right direction – north.
In her final episode of The Walking Dead, Michonne discovers that Rick may still be alive. The evidence that leads her to this conclusion are his cowboy boots, which she finds among Virgil’s things, and an old smart phone with Rick’s name, a simple portrait of Judith and herself, and a Japanese phrase carved into its face. The phone she finds inside a ship that washed up on the island where Virgil lives, and it’s where he found the boots in the first place. Also inside the ship is a manifest listing its previous stop before it set sail – New Jersey Shipyard. With this information, Michonne deduces that travelling north is her best chance at learning if Rick really is alive, and if so, where he is.
On her way, however, Michonne crosses paths with another pair of survivors who have been separated from their group. They’re dressed in ponchos, wearing cowboy hats, and the group they’ve been separated from can be seen in the distance, hundreds of people strong and marching in formation. Michonne agrees to help them catch up, and in doing so, appears to momentarily abandon her quest to find Rick. Yet, it’s possible this group will be revealed as also being part of the three rings, in which case, following their path may actually bring her much closer to learning what happened to Rick.
Judging by their brief appearance in Michonne’s final Walking Dead episode, one theory suggests this group Michonne is about to meet are the Pioneers from Fear the Walking Dead. First introduced in season 5, the Pioneers are a network of communities whose goal is to spread out across the United States gathering resources. On Fear, the Pioneers are led by a woman named Virginia and she claims their group has over 800 members. The group that Michonne comes across is certainly large and shares the Pioneers’ western vibe, so it’s possible they are one in the same. This may even lead to the Pioneers being revealed as one of the communities represented alongside the CRM by the three rings. Then again, on Fear, Virginia says she isn’t familiar with any groups using helicopters, so if the Pioneers are in fact affiliated with CRM, that’s a development that’s happened in the six years since and therefor they cannot be one of the original three communities.
Still, the new group Michonne discovers in her final episode could be one of the three rings and not the Pioneers. It’d make a lot of sense for Michonne’s journey to see her become somehow involved with another of three rings’ communities seeing as her goal is to reunite with Rick, who we know has been taken by the CRM. And while Michonne leaving the main Walking Dead series to reunite with Rick in the movies is the most obvious outcome of her exit, Gimple has also hinted at there being more of Michonne’s own story left to tell. It may be that Michonne’s interactions with this new group is just another step on a journey that audiences will only see conclude in the planned Rick Grimes movies. Whether that means Michonne could get her own movie, a limited series, or something else entirely is still up in the air, but the future of The Walking Dead franchise isn’t at a loss for options if they choose to continue telling Michonne’s story.
Next: All The Unfinished Business Rick Grimes Has In The Walking Dead Movie
The Walking Dead season 10 continues Sunday, March 29th with “Look At The Flowers” at 9pm/8c on AMC.