Believe it or not, Black Panther director Ryan Coogler had never seen The Walking Dead when he chose Danai Gurira to play the badass Okoye, one of the Dora Milaje warriors who've now revolutionized cinema. Of course, fans of the series know that long before Gurira speared bad guys on the silver screen, she was slicing Saviors and walkers (and anybody who got in her way) with abandon on The Walking Dead -- the ultimate training for her performance in one of the biggest box office wins of all time.
As Michonne, the reserved and ruthless killer and (in later seasons) companion to Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Gurira wields a katana, a Japanese sword deadlier and more efficient than the broadsword of European heritage. Since she first appeared in the Season 2 finale, Gurira has lobbed off heads and gutted foes with the precision and force of a well-trained expert — because she is one. She'd already had some training with a sword as part of her MFA program at NYU snd practiced martial arts as part of her exercise regimen — but her Walking Dead role required an immersive education from a swordmaster in order to twirl the five-pound katana as she does so well. Every Michonne attack looks pretty intense, but throughout the seasons, a few moments have been standouts. Here are the top 7.
1. When she made her debut in Grim Reaper drag to let everyone know she means business
Andrea (Laurie Holden) went and got herself separated from the group and nearly nibbled on by a walker until Michonne showed up to save her life.
2. That time she bodied her pet walkers because she was DONE playing with them
Although every diva needs a set of fierce backup dancers, Michonne knew it was time to literally slay her squad in Season 3's "Walk With Me" when their rattling chains threatened to get her exposed. They get discovered by Merle anyway but, oh well.
3. When she dropped down out of the sky like a ninja and took some sucker's head clean off
Merle's backwoods henchmen never stood a chance.
4. When Michonne had the, uh, guts to kill the Governor's kid (David Morrissey) Penny (Kylie Anne Szymanski)
Not many people in The Walking Dead could do the deed when a kid is involved so efficiently but then, there aren't many Michonnes.
5. When she straight up cleared a whole field of walkers by herself in a matter of seconds
Light work for the queen. She doesn't even break a sweat.
6. When she cold clocked Rick upside the head when his masculinity was getting toxic AF
OK so she didn't use a katana this time, but in Season 5's unforgettable "Try," she used her fist to put Rick (Andrew Lincoln) down with a savage blow when he was going off the deep end, threatening people and waving his gun around. Not today Rick!
7. When she put Governor out of office, permanently
Governor had put Michonne through all types of hell — including being held hostage — in Season 4, but when she sees him choking Rick in Episode 8 she had enough and jams her katana through him like it was a chopstick and he was half priced sushi. Instead of finishing him off, she watched the pain swallow him whole.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.