'The Walking Dead' Will Lose Danai Gurira After Season 10

In the pages of Image Comics' The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes and Michonne are among the longest-surviving major characters and their war against the zombie apocalypse continues through the latest issues. However, the AMC television adaptation is about to feature a very different line-up. Following Andrew Lincoln's departure from the show earlier this season, Danai Gurira is set to exit as well.

The news comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter and follows the recent announcement that The Walking Dead would return for a tenth season. While the show's popularity has waned over the past few years, it remains a juggernaut and AMC's flagship series. And yet, it seems the stars can only take so many years of acting out a miserable existence in the zombie apocalypse.

Season 10 will be Danai Gurira's last – she will appear in a handful of episodes scattered across the season before exiting. THR speculates that Guriria could join Andrew Lincoln in those planned Walking Dead films, but that hasn't been confirmed.

Introduced in season 3, Guriria's Michonne instantly became one of the show's breakout characters. The stoic, samurai sword-wielding badass dispatched zombies with the best of them, acting as one of Rick's deadliest and most loyal soldiers. Even when The Walking Dead began to drop in quality (the when of that is something you can debate amongst yourselves), Gurira always gave the role her all – you always believed her every decision, even when the writing sent the show in nonsensical directions.

No specific reason was given for Gurira's pending departure, but it's easy to speculate why. In addition to her duties on The Walking Dead, she has spent the past decade honing her skills as a playwright, winning acclaim and awards for her Off-Broadway show In the Continuum and earning a Tony nomination for penning the Broadway show Eclipsed. And then there's a little movie called Black Panther, which proved Gurira could command the screen as a badass action hero, standing alongside the rest of the heroes of the Marvel universe. In other words: she's got other stuff to do and she's been on The Walking Dead for a looong time.

With Lincoln and Gurira gone, that seemingly leaves the entire series on the shoulders of Norman Reedus' Daryl Dixon. Reedus, the kind of blue-collar character actor who has never said no to job but also never phones it in, is probably going to ride motorcycles and kill zombies and brood until the day he dies...something for which AMC is undoubtedly thankful.

The second half of The Walking Dead season 9 premieres this Sunday on AMC. Season 10 will most likely arrive later this year.