SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of Sunday night’s The Walking Dead Season 7 finale.
Deadline had a Q&A with TWD Executive ProducerGale Anne Hurd. Below is what she said about the Sasha, as portrayed bySonequa Martin-Green, story line.
DEADLINE: Last night’s sacrifice and walker end for the Sasha character was a very different season conclusion for you guys and the retirement or sorts for one of the Survivors. It seemed clear that Sonequa was going to exit the show, but why in this manner?
HURD: We just wanted to make sure that she went out in a heroic way. I think the story is very much about three strong women in the finale episode – Sasha, Maggie and the Scavengers leader Jadis.
DEADLINE: How did you tell Sonequa that her time onTWD was up?
HURD: Well, our series airs in two different pods with a season premiere, midseason finale, midseason premiere and season finale. So generally we talk to the actors about the particular sequences in which their death or exits occurs, as we are about to film it, as opposed to the overall season. I’ve rarely had to break the news — in Sonequa’s case, it was Scott Gimple who told her. We never like saying goodbye and it’s partially why when we do say goodbye it’s after the character has really had what we consider to be a very fulfilling arc – and, as I said, you certainly couldn’t go out more heroically than she did.
HURD: Which is fantastic. Every one of our actors has moved on to have magnificent careers post-The Walking Dead, and I think its fantastic that she is going to be the first African-American woman to lead a Star Trek cast. She’s also a fine actress regardless, and even if hadn’t been Star Trek, I know she would have been the lead in another series.
DEADLINE: Speaking of series, the Sasha character, like Norman Reedus’ Daryl Dixon, is not found in the Robert Kirkman comics the TV series is based on. Even with that, a lot of her story was clearly drawn from the comic book’s Holly. So how do you still not reveal too much to fans who are tracking the comics to see where the TV show will go?
HURD: The key thing is the comic is already on a separate trajectory given that there are characters on The Walking Dead like Sasha and Daryl, who don’t exist in the comic book. Also, there are characters in the comic book, like Andrea, who are still alive who aren’t alive on the show. There’s a natural change, but of course we do want to make sure there’s a nod to the comics.