Danai Gurira of "Treme" fame has joined the cast of the hit show "The Walking Dead" and will play the heroine Michonne, starting in the upcoming third season.
The season 2 finale of the AMC show aired on Sunday, March 18, and earned the series its highest ratings yet. At least six million people aged 18 to 49 tuned in, marking a 50 percent increase from its first season's finale.
Executive producer Robert Kirkman revealed the casting news involving Gurira on the post-episode talk series "Talking Dead." In the comic book series on which the show is based, Michonne is one of survivors of the zombie apocalypse and becomes one of its defenders. She carries a katana sword.
The character made a brief appearance on the season 2 finale of "The Walking Dead." She rescues Andrea from an attacking walker. The character, who wears a hood, was not played by Gurira in the episode.
The 34-year-old Iowa-born actress, whose parents are from Zimbabwe, began her on-screen acting career about eight years ago after earned an MFA from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
She had parts on shows such as "Law & Order" and "Lie To Me" and movies such as "Ghost Town" before she began her breakout role as Jill, a Village Voice reporter, on the HBO series "Treme." She starred on the show from 2010 to 2011.
Her character in "The Walking Dead" will be "very similar to her comic-book counterpart," Kirkman told TVLine.com, adding: "The stories that we're going to tell with her are going to be somewhat different at times."
"The show has always followed the comic book to a large extent - it just has different divergences from time-to-time and we're definitely going to continue that in the third season," he said. "But the fans have expectations for Michonne, and I can say with full knowledge that their expectations are going to be met. They need not worry."