top of page

Danai Gurira: From the Oscars Spotlight to Spinoffs of Her Most Iconic Roles

The red carpet for the 2023 Academy Awards was, as always, loaded with stars and celebrities in iconic and eccentric looks. For Danai Gurira, it was all about paying homage to African women who retain perfect poise while carrying things on their heads, rocking up to the event with a towering updo for the major US awards night.

Earning her place among the star-studded line-up of Oscars presenters that night, Gurira has become iconic in two of the biggest franchises of film and TV over the last decade. In 2012, she joined the ranks of the smash-hit TV show The Walking Dead before getting a role in the multi-billion Marvel cinematic franchise.

Now, Gurira has an eye on starring in spinoffs for her two most iconic roles – both of which happen to be action heroes wielding particularly sharp melee weapons.

Becoming a weapon-wielding star

In November 2022, The Walking Dead was finally able to put out its concluding episodes. It was a long, delayed, and interrupted process that may have hindered the conclusion, but that doesn’t take away from how massively popular the walker-infested show was through much of its run. Key to this was the new addition who fleetingly appeared at the very end of Season 2: Michonne.

Michonne went from a weird loner in the woods with a machete to a core character integral to the story and the central star, played by Andrew Lincoln. The cast has always been pretty big throughout the series, so it speaks volumes that Gurira made her character iconic enough to be a key part of the merchandising, as shown by the collection of TWD slots at the new UK casino. From the newest AMC The Walking Dead Cash Collect back to TWD 2 and TWD, Michonne is one of a handful of featured star characters used to appeal to fans and reel spinners.

Of course, Gurira departed the show around the time that the focus turned to Michonne after a time jump, having her run go from Season 3 to Season 10. Loose ends remained for the action star’s character, but during TWD, she was also becoming an instantly recognisable feature of the MCU. Playing Okoye, part of the Black Panther’s all-female warrior guard, the head of the Dora Milaje even survived the infamous Snap.

More for Michonne and Okoye on the way

As was initially revealed by this VF article back in May 2021, Okoye looks set to get her own Wakanda spinoff series with Disney+. Much has been quiet since then, and Disney+ shows for Marvel and even Star Wars have struggled to impress fans and critics alike, but Gurira was able to reveal that she can “gently allude” to it possibly still being in the works. Given that the two Black Panther films combined for over $2 billion worldwide alone, a Wakanda-based spinoff seems inevitable.

What is confirmed and officially in the works is what fans will hope to be the concluding chapter of two of the biggest characters of The Walking Dead. The Rick and Michonne spinoff show is already filming, as well as a part of a three-show slate of spinoffs for the characters of the core show. It was in November 2018 that Gurira and Lincoln were last seen on-screen together, and on 3 April 2023, an AMC account on Twitter put up a snap of the two running through the streets with a walker in the background.

Danai Gurira is a bona fide star of the big and small screen now, with fans buzzing to see where the 45-year-old takes her two iconic characters next.