A ton of work goes into keeping the secrets of The Walking Dead from reaching audiences early, but sometimes big announcements just can't be silenced. When the bombshell news broke last month that the zombie-busting Sonequa Martin-Green was cast as the lead on Star Trek's upcoming return to TV, many fans understood that Sasha's post-apocalyptic adventures would possibly soon be ending. Showrunner Scott Gimple has now officially commented on the issue, and even though his wording is as positive as possible, there's no way he has us convinced that Sasha will survive Season 7. In his words:
Sonequa Martin-Green can do anything. I've seen her battle a horde of walkers this year while simultaneously battling a stomach flu that would have had most people crying in the dirt. She can fulfill the duties of a Lieutenant Commander on a Constitution-class starship whilst battling walkers, Saviors, and whatever gets in Sasha's way. We've had to juggle before. I will certainly juggle for Star Trek any day of the week. Okay, maybe not on Sunday.
Props to Sonequa Martin-Green for dealing with a horrendous stomach flu while filming Season 7, since this isn't a show known for soothing nausea. But intestinal fortitude is definitely not a guarantee that the actress has permission to (or even the ability to) star on a new series while still keeping up appearances on The Walking Dead. And if Scott Gimple isn't directly confirming Sasha will survive, his words are but window dressing masking the truth!
The Walking Dead has already caused a delay in the premiere date for Star Trek: Discovery, which was pushed back so not to confuse viewers seeing Sonequa Martin-Green in space-faring promos while The Walking Dead was still airing. And production is only just in the kick-off phase for the new Star Trek series, which will presumably take a while, considering all the special effects that will no doubt be used. She could just get demoted to a recurring role in the AMC drama, since Season 8 would likely air around the same time as Star Trek: Discovery's first season, but is it likely?
Sonequa Martin-Green's work on The Walking Dead Season 7 has been limited to date, given the standalone aspect of several episodes, but all the communities are coming together eventually, so everyone will likely show up more in the back half's installments. Sasha seems to be planning something big to go after Negan, and she doesn't appear keen on sharing it with many people, which is a perfect recipe for a character's demise at this point in the narrative. Sasha could easily fill in for the death of the comic books' Holly, who was Abraham's romantic other when he was killed in the source material. And Holly's comic death did indeed involve Negan, so it would work out almost too well to avoid. (Plus, it could lead to this unexpected moment.)
The actress herself is somehow even less forthcoming about Sasha's chances. Here's what Sonequa Martin-Green told EW about how Star Trek: Discovery will affect her Walking Dead character.
Well, I can't say anything. I can say that the story is as impactful and powerful and dynamic as it always has been, and there's nothing to worry about where that's concerned.
I understand the caginess, of course, but I just wanna know! And don't get me wrong, while the show's scheduling and its hectic Georgia-set production haven't generally allowed for the regulars to take on big roles in films or TV shows, exceptions have occurred. At other points in the past when it's seemed like that's happened with actors Jon Bernthal and David Morrissey, their TV deaths had already been set in stone, so it wasn't much of an issue.
But this past year saw Corey Hawkins land the lead in Fox's 24: Legacy, while Danai Gurira was cast in Black Panther and Lennie James created an upcoming U.K. drama that he'll star in. That said, Heath basically disappeared both metaphorically and then literally, even with 24's presumably hasty network filming schedule. Meanwhile, British dramas are usually only a handful of episodes, and even though action-heavy Marvel films take actors out of commission for a few months at a time, a big budget streaming series like Star Trek: Discovery could have an even longer production. I'm anxious to see what happens, even if I think Sasha would need Starfleet behind her in order to survive.
The Walking Dead returns for the rest of Season 7 on AMC starting Sunday, February 12, at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see what else is coming to your TVs in the next few months, head to our midseason premiere schedule.