The Season 6 finale to The Walking Dead was a rough one for fans. After week after week of foreshadowing that Negan was going to kill somebody in the last episode, the finale ended without actually showing us which of the good guys had come to a bad end. According to actress Danai Gurira, the episode wasn’t any easier for the actors to film than it was for viewers to watch.
It was intense. It was a 2-day shoot, it was freezing cold. We were on our knees in the gravel. It was hard. Like it was really hard. For us, we had gone through the process of overcoming so many folks. You know from the cannibals who were trying to eat us to the Governor. We had developed an ability to work it through and we hit a dead end…It was horrifying because you know something imminent is about to happen and you’re completely out of control, and for these characters like Rick and Michonne, to not be in control is just, it’s the most painful thing.

Danai Gurira’s chat with The Wall Street Journal is proof enough that at least some of the pain and despair on the faces of the actors was very real. Even without all of the emotional stress of a major character being bludgeoned to death, kneeling in gravel for more than a couple of minutes isn’t a fun prospect. All in all, it sounds like the actors whose characters aren’t candidates for the big death have another reason to be glad that they weren’t on set for the scene.

Especially interesting is her comment about Rick and Michonne being characters who particularly struggle to deal with the loss of control, considering their reactions to their plight at the end of the finale. Michonne was bravely defiant as one of the few survivors who would look Negan in the eye, whereas Rick was falling to pieces in front of our eyes at the realization of what he’d gotten his friends and family into. Heavy is the head that wears the zombie apocalypse crown, and it should be fascinating to see if Rick can recover from his sudden and brutal loss of control. Assuming that Michonne survives, she could be the perfect person to help Alexandria get through the shift of power to the Saviors.

Given that Walking Dead executive producer Gale Ann Hurd recently revealed that she doesn’t know which of the characters got a face full of Lucille in the finale, Danai Gurira and the rest of the cast will likely find themselves back on their knees in the gravel once more when filming for Season 7 kicks off and the big death is revealed.

The Walking Dead is sadly on hiatus until October, but you can catch more zombie action on AMC with Fear the Walking Dead on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET. For a look at what other shows will be around before Michonne and Co. are back on screen, check out our summer TV premiere schedule.

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