The Walking Dead may have concluded the series-regular run of Danai Gurira’s Michonne over a year ago, but her presence on the AMC television show remains. That’s because the latest teaser for the show’s eleventh and final season seemingly confirms the upcoming presence of a character from the comic book source material who’s crucial to the sword-swinging survivor: her long-lost daughter. So, how will that work with Michonne no longer on the series?
Elodie Hawthorne, a comic book character who is the apocalypse-estranged daughter of the TV show-departed Michonne Hawthorne, is coming (well, a version of her is coming) to The Walking Dead Season 11. While no casting has been revealed, the character’s presence is implied in the new teaser’s blink-and-you-miss-it flash of a storefront window from the character’s comic-inspired bakery, which indicatively brandishes the business’s name of “Elodie’s Treats.” The logo was just one of many things showcased in a montage of ominous imagery of the militarily and economically powerful group called the Commonwealth—indicating that Elodie’s shop is firmly located in that community. That notion leaves us with even more questions, since some of our survivors experienced a less-than-hospitable introduction to that community at the end of Season 10.
The character’s presence became the center of speculation after the preceding teaser released last week, which flashed an image of a brick wall covered with photos of people, topped by a rough-looking sign that read, “Flag for Expedited Assessment and Admittance to the Commonwealth.” The image—the show ephemera’s first usage of the Commonwealth name—is an adaptation of a similar board in the comics known as “The Wall of the Lost.” While the board serves as a memorial, it also has a constructive purpose, since members of the community use it to pin pictures of their lost loved ones who—upon the hopeful event in which they show up—would ideally be given preferential treatment into joining the de facto nation state, due to their direct connection to its current citizens.
Pertinently, in the comics, the Wall of the Lost is what turns everything around for our wayward survivors—Michonne, Magna, Eugene, Siddiq, Yumiko, and Princess—during the hostile first encounter with the Commonwealth, which is where their show counterparts—in this case Ezekiel, Yumiko, Eugene, and Princess—currently find themselves. The comic group spot a pinned pre-apocalypse photo of Michonne with Elodie’s name in the contact information, thereby providing a major revelation. Comic Michonne, who had lost custody of Elodie and her other daughter Colette after a divorce from husband Dominic, had long-assumed that her children didn’t survive the undead world. However, she was half-right, since Colette was killed long ago in Kentucky after the two sisters—having lost their father—had taken up with a bad group, to whom they rebuffed demands of sexual favors. After taking equitable revenge on Colette’s killers, Elodie ended up at the Midwest-located Commonwealth, where she made a new life for herself working at the bakery. While she hated her mother, who she thought had abandoned her, Elodie’s resentment of Michonne quickly quelled upon their reunion.
Without Michonne’s presence, The Walking Dead‘s television introduction of Elodie seemingly lacks its emotional connection, and also loses the practical plot device that eventually gets our survivors out of interrogation and on to good terms with the Commonwealth. It makes even less sense when recalling that a version of the Elodie reunion already occurred on the series, specifically in 2019’s Season 9, Episode 14, titled “Scars,” in which a fully-shown-pregnant Michonne has a fateful encounter on the road with her old law school friend, Jocelyn (Rutina Wesley). While the reunion is friendly at first, it eventually becomes clear that Jocelyn has been driven insane by the apocalypse, and—motivated by a bizarre self-spun ideology—had brainwashed a group of orphaned children into becoming her murderous minions. While a reunion with an old friend obviously differs in scope from one with a daughter, the episode aired during a period in which Danai Gurira already had one foot out the door, and it was believed that the Jocelyn ordeal was a rough, rushed quasi-nod to the comic’s Elodie reunion, a notion also evidenced by the fact that Jocelyn wears the exact same turtleneck sweater that Elodie wears in the comic reunion moment. Moreover, the version of Michonne’s pre-apocalypse past on the TV series revealed that she only had a young son named Andre, who was tragically eaten by walkers.
Now that we’ve covered the context, let’s get back to our initial question about Elodie’s television arrival. I think we can safely assume that Danai Gurira’s Michonne—last seen walking off with a convoy of unknown survivors on her quest to find Rick—will NOT miraculously surface in the Commonwealth to hog all the pathos-packed plot glory for a reunion with Elodie. However, looking at the survivors who are currently stuck in the custody of the Commonwealth, we can speculate that the reunion arc could go to Ezekiel (Khary Payton), who has avoided his comic book counterpart’s fate of becoming a reanimated severed head on a pole at the hands of the Whisperers. Indeed, with the details of his pre-apocalypse life limited only to his career as a zookeeper, Ezekiel seems like the prime candidate to inherit this poignant story arc as TV Elodie’s father. That is, if the showrunners aren’t just putting out a red herring with the bakery image.
Of course, we’ll likely get plenty of plot resolutions by the time The Walking Dead Season 11 concludes its run, which will spill into 2022. The final season kicks off on AMC on Sunday, August 22. However, before that happens, we might just learn more about the Elodie situation during the show’s virtual Comic-Con panel, which will be held on Saturday, July 24 at 3:00 PM PT.