‘Walking Dead’ Star Teases Michonne’s Season-Three Swordplay

Danai Gurira talks to MTV News at Comic-Con about playing the katana sword-wielding survivor of the zombie apocalypse.

SAN DIEGO — The season-two finale of “The Walking Dead” introduced a character fans of the comic book have been dying to see since the show first hit the air: Michonne. At Comic-Con on Friday, MTV News caught up with Danai Gurira who plays the edgy, katana sword-wielding, walker-toting survivor of the zombie apocalypse.

Her dramatic entrance last season is indicative of the exciting path she has to walk in season three, and Gurira is the lucky actress tasked with bringing Michonne from the pages of Robert Kirkman’s comic book to the small screen. The star told us she’s more than ready to carry the weight of AMC’s hit series on her shoulders.

“I’ve always kind gravitated towards dire stories,” Gurira said. “It’s just kind of the thing where I was like, ‘Yeah, let’s tell the dire story! The stuff where, you know, folks are at the end of their rope or they become, god knows what. Let’s tell that story.’

“So this is kind of thrilling to be a part of it, because I really haven’t seen any story told this viscerally and palpably as ‘The Walking Dead.’ To be able to step into it, it’s thrilling,” she added.

While Gurira hadn’t had any professional katana training before the show began, she did have some experience with the [British] broadsword while in grad school. “Sorry, Brits, I know it’s your thing. But the Japanese, really, they kicked your butts with that,” she laughed.

Gurira went on to add that the katana would be her own weapon of choice if confronted with an offscreen zombie apocalypse. “The katana is a whole other thing. I mean, it’s amazing. It was really kind of amazing to step in trying to learn it,” she said. “And it’s an ongoing process, but it’s really kind of how [Michonne] interprets that weapon, and that’s kind of been really, really enjoyable to do. And intense and challenging physically, but in the best ways.”

Greg Nicotero — who works as director, writer, producer, special-effects guru and sometime-actor on “The Walking Dead”— was also on-hand to answer questions. He said it was fun for him to be able to play with Michonne’s special brand of zombie killing. “It’s exciting,” he gushed.

“The thing you have to understand about where the show is now is that they have to save their ammunition,” Nicotero explained. “So there’s a lot more intimate, hand-to-hand combat then there was in the last two episodes [of season two]. Norman [Reedus] does have the most effective weapon. If you have a crowbar or a baseball bat or something, that just means you have to get closer to the walkers, but it just makes it more dangerous [too]. I think having the ability to have Michonne be able to dispatch multiple walkers in a couple moves is exciting.”

“The Walking Dead” returns to AMC on October 14.

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