It’s the beginning of a new dawn on AMC’s The Walking Dead. Danai Gurira, who plays Michonne on the popular series, could be the show’s next lead.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gurira could be on her way to becoming the top-billed character on The Walking Dead. Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl, and Melissa McBride, who plays Carol, are currently in negotiations for, as the report’s sources describe, “groundbreaking multiple-year ‘franchise/universe’ deals.” This would mean that if their characters get written off or moved to another Walking Dead property, they will still get paid. Gurira is reported to be working on a similar deal.

Gurira’s situation within the franchise is a little more complicated than Reedus and McBride’s. First of all, there’s Michonne’s position as the love interest for the main character, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln). Rick has made his final bow on the season and is presumed dead after an explosion. This leaves a vacuum open for a leader, and there’s no better leader than Michonne, who has not only held her own before joining Rick’s crew but has helped fight off zombies side by side with Rick.

Secondly, there’s the fact that Gurira is in demand. Her play Eclipsed, starring her Black Panther co-star Lupita Nyong’o, has become a Tony Award-winning production. And, as already alluded to, another thing on Gurira’s plate is being of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the films, she plays Okoye, the general of Wakanda’s Dora Milaje and the confidante of T’Challa, the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman).

AMC programming president David Madden said to The Hollywood Reporter that Gurira has been “very vocal” about her love for The Walking Dead.

“Right now, she’s got a lot of opportunities, and she needs to weigh what she feels is best for her. But we certainly would want her on the show as long as she wants to be on it,” Madden said. “We really want her to stay. She is an incredibly valuable character, and I’m really hoping she stays…The goal is to have Danai continue on whatever basis she can make work, given the other things that she has going on in her life.”

Meanwhile, Lincoln has also signed a deal to star in three upcoming The Walking Dead TV movies slated to air on AMC. According to The Hollywood Reporter, in his final episode, Rick is shown appearing to sacrifice himself to save his group from zombies by blowing up a bridge. But, as it turns out, Rick miraculously survives and is taken by Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) in a helicopter. The answer as to where Rick is headed will be divulged in the upcoming films, the first of which will start production next year.



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