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Danai Gurira Confirms Walking Dead Season 10 Exit

Plus, see the first trailer for the new season -- and meet new cast member Thora Birch

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Megan Vick

The Walking Dead panel at San Diego Comic-Con featured a shocking new Season 10 trailer, the announcement of new cast members, and confirmation that star Danai Gurira will leave the show during the forthcoming season.

"This has been one of the purest joys of my life to play this role and be amongst these people and those that are not here and amongst all of you. I am very thankful for all the experiences that I've had in ways that I cannot express right now," Gurira said to the Hall H crowd at San Diego Convention Center on Friday. "The Walking Dead family is forever... [The decision to leave] was about my calling in a sense and other things I feel called to in my work... All I'm filled with is a lot of pain and a lot of gratitude about leaving this show."

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The audience and cast responded with a standing ovation, which officially brought the actress to tears.

Gurira's departure and her touching statement were just one of the many big moments from the panel. Things started with the news that Thora Birch will join The Walking Dead as Gamma, a Whisperer who is "fiercely protective of Alpha" and super committed to the Whisperer way of life. Kevin Carroll (Snowfall) will be playing Virgil, another survive who when he encounters our heroes will be "desperately trying to get back to his home and family."

Showrunner Angela Kang also revealed that Season 10 will feature a whole different type of war than we've ever seen before, because the Whisperers are a new type of enemy. Greg Nicotero -- who will be directing the season premiere, written by Kang -- teased during the panel that the first three minutes are unlike anything that The Walking Dead fans have ever seen.

Check out the complete panel schedule for SDCC 2019

After the EPs finished their Q&A, panel moderator Chris Hardwick showed the Season 10 trailer for The Walking Dead (watch above). The trailer opens on a beach with walkers crawling out of the water and then flashes to Michonne and crew on horseback. It also features Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) trying to rile up Daryl (Norman Reedus), who seems ready to punch Negan in the face. However, it looks like Negan is going to team up with Aaron (Ross Marquand).

The biggest moments of the trailer, though, belong to Michonne, who's spotted kissing Ezekiel (Khary Payton), and then closes the trailer holding Negan's famous bat Lucille.

The Walking Dead Season 10 premieres Sunday, October 6 at 9/8c on AMC.

Danai Gurira, The Walking Dead

Gene Page/AMC