Talk about an entrance. AMC's The Walking Dead introduced one of the comic series' most beloved characters -- katana sword-wielding Michonne -- in the closing moments of the second season finale, when a mysterious hooded woman saves Andrea from near certain death.
When season three picks up, the winter will have passed and a bond will have been formed between sharp-shooter Andrea (Laurie Holden) and former loner Michonne (Treme's Danai Gurira).
The former strangers have now taken responsibility for one another and as the previews have shown, are headed for Woodbury, a community lead by another comic favorite, the Governor (played by David Morrissey). Meanwhile, Andrea still has no clue about what's going on with Rick and the rest of the survivors -- or that everyone is infected and that her former flame Shane is now among the ranks of the dearly departed.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Gurira and Holden to talk season three, how the two Michonnes compare and what both could expect when they (eventually!) come face to face with both Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the Governor.
The Hollywood Reporter: How does the AMC incarnation of Michonne compare with the character depicted in the comics?
Danai Gurira: It depends on the circumstance. In the apocalypse, the becoming is how much of your old self, prior to the trauma of an apocalypse when you lose contact with family, friends and horrible things begin to happen, when you have to become someone else. We know Michonne re-creates herself, we know that from the comics and she becomes a whole new person and is a potent force in this world. How much of your old self do you start to let back in and when? That's the journey and arc that she's on. We see a lot of intensity: you can't really cage her. When the Governor sends her out to that fight, and she takes off the guy's head, it's exactly the opposite of what he tells her to do. You can't cage her and that's very much in the version on television as well. It's depicted completely differently but she's the same at her core. She listens to her own rules and sometimes those rules don't make sense to the rest of the world around her at all. She has a strong sense of justice and she's very deeply connected to that sword. There are a lot of the same things but the other thing that's interesting about her is she's becoming more of something; we see a lot of who she is very early on in the comics -- she's in the prison, she has her walker pets, she goes after her romantic interest all within the first few pages. But there's a much longer stretch on the series.
Now she's got to get to the prison.
Gurira: That journey in and of itself involves seeing different aspects of herself and those being revealed even to her through the course of the season.
Michonne saves Andrea and the premiere jumps forward to show that they've really bonded. What's the nature of their friendship? Michonne's a bit of a loner, why bring Andrea into her fold?
Gurira: What you see in the finale, Michonne sees what we're seeing -- Andrea fighting to the very end. Andrea will not stop fighting and will not go easy. That's very appealing to Michonne. This is person has strength, power, they won't go down easy, they're not a liability, they're an asset. There's something about this person that I deeply connect to and want to hang with. Loners can only be loners for so long and that's also part of Michonne's journey through this season.
Laurie Holden: They're responsible for each other. We're the best of friends and really have each other's backs. It's a real great love and respect that we have. We both have different skill sets: she's the katana sword-wielding warrior and Andrea is an expert sharp-shooter but we're also very human and we need each other as we're battling the elements in this world.
What's going to happen when Andrea and Rick are finally reunited? She's got a lot of news flashes coming her way. How will she respond to seeing them after all this time?
Holden: I suspect it will be very loaded. It's tricky because Andrea has really battled that internally: did they think she was dead, did they come looking for her, was there a search party, are they OK? There are a lot of unanswered questions and it's not one particular emotion because though there would be relief and joy in seeing the people that you've grown attached to, there's confusion because you don't know the full story. It'll be interesting to see how she registers that when she discovers the truth of what that separation was.
When Michonne finally does encounter Rick, what will that look like?
Gurira: Michonne functions on instincts. They journey between Rick and Michonne is not predictable.
Is Andrea still mourning Dale's death?
Holden: The loss of Dale, that's something that she will carry forever. Dale made Andrea a better human being and he was such an incredible, spiritual mentor and he really reminded her of what was important: humanity. Andrea carries the angel of Dale with her where ever she goes and all of those words of wisdom, they echo in her ears and as she moves forward, she's always trying to honor Dale.
Will her carrying Dale's lessons with her impact her pending relationship with the Governor?
Holden: Andrea is trying to be the best human being she can be and she sees a leader who by all appearances seems to be a good man and she wants to believe in the best in him as she wants to believe in the best part of our humanity. Sometimes I think she has some rose-colored glasses on as many of us women do.
Woodbury represents the darkest part of the comics. How does Michonne and the Governor's relationship compare?
Gurira: The aspects of the Governor and Michonne's relationship, there is an exploration.
Image Comics on Wednesday is releasing Michonne's Story, an origin for the character and her two zombie pets. Might we see that pop up on the series?
Gurira: I haven't seen many flashbacks. It's an interesting question. Tapping into her past here and there could happen in very unexpected ways.
What are you looking forward to seeing for Michonne and Andrea? Hit the comments with your thoughts. The Walking Dead season three premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC. Check back to THR's The Live Feed every day this week for the Seven Days of The Walking Dead preview.