The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live Revives the Rick and Michonne “Richonne” Saga

Editorials, Television, The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live

The love story between Rick Grimes and Michonne will never die.

And that’s said quite literally, as the two are embarking on a new chapter in their storied love affair during the upcoming spinoff series, The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live.

Whether you’ve been an ardent fan of the comics and series for years or are relatively new to the Walking Dead lore, most fans can agree on the importance of Rick and Michonne to the overall narrative. And it’s why this series is the most anticipated one yet.

The Walking Dead premiered back in 2010, and I don’t think anyone was ready for the way it would invade pop culture.

Sure, it was a wildly popular comic book series, but those adaptations don’t always translate well to the screen, especially ones cloaked in violence. It can be challenging to recreate the magic of illustration with a bunch of CGI.

But The Walking Dead became a cultural phenomenon, unlike anything we’d ever seen before and may never see again with the changing tide of television viewing.

The series spawned a whole other series that involved a breakdown of the most recent episode, complete with actors and actresses from the show and celebrity fans dissecting the biggest kills and lingering plotlines.

Think of another series that’s reached those kinds of heights in the last decade. You probably can’t.

Although the flagship series officially wrapped only two years ago, various spinoffs have rolled out too much fanfare and critical success. Though the Richonne-centric spinoff is by far the one fans have been clamoring for the most.

And they have good reason to be excited, as it’s been a few years since we’ve seen a slice of the Richonne goodness that dominated so many seasons.

When you think about The Walking Dead, your mind will probably land on your favorite character, but you can’t deny that you love or hate him; Rick Grimes IS The Walking Dead. The series begins with the cop encountering a walker, and then it’s off to the races from there.

We see Rick reunite with his family and deal with betrayal, heartbreak, and everything in between while hanging onto his de-facto title as leader.

Michonne shows up in The Walking Dead Season 3, and it takes the two a while to trust one another, both with walls a mile high and distrust running rampant through their veins.

Theirs is a slow burn for the ages, with little moments sprinkled throughout various seasons as the two learn to work together and protect their people.

But most notably, during the seasons before the dynamic turns romantic, they have to work on understanding one another enough to foster a sense of trust.

It’s a hard thing amid the end of the world to believe in the people around you and think they will have your back when their back is against the wall, and there’s a possibility the undead could eat them.

Michonne, with her katana-wielding goddess persona, was an immediate hit with the masses. And how could you not be?

She was powerful and capable, and as she allowed those around her to penetrate her walls, there was a funny and illuminating personality under the hardened exterior she adopted as a means to exist in a world no longer built to accommodate that.

Could Michonne and Rick learn to work together? That was a serious question in the early times, and once it was established they could, fans began to wonder what else they could do.

While a zombie apocalypse isn’t the most romantic of settings, it was the perfect backdrop for Richonne to mutually realize their attraction as two formerly lost souls who found an unimaginable sense of peace amongst so much decay.

When Andy Lincoln left the series during The Walking Dead Season 9, it meant the end of the line for Richonne. And to be fair, nine seasons in and with so many characters lost and added over the years, the series lost some of the momentum that carried it through the years.

Danai Gurira’s departure during The Walking Dead Season 10 soon ushered in the series end.

Fans were left wondering if we’d ever get the long-promised Rick Grimes-centric movies to see the light of day so, at the very least, Rick Grimes’s story could be tied up in a neat little bow.

Well, the Dead Universe did one better and gave us The Ones Who Live.

The decision to bring Rick and Michonne back to the forefront seems like a no-brainer, as their relationship was the series’s most prominent and arguably the most popular.

While the universe thrives on outrageous walker kills and devastating emotional moments, it’s always been a survival story at its core. What you’re willing to do to survive, and what drives that desire to survive.

What are you choosing to live for? Or better yet, who?

In the beginning, Rick’s primary objection was always to get to his family and protect them, which was born from his innate fatherly instinct. As well as his past in law enforcement.

Michonne was more of a lone wolf in the early days, and it took a while for her to endear herself to the rag-tag group of survivors she encountered at the prison.

The dearly departed Carl Grimes was perhaps the first person Michonne connected with once she was integrated into the group, and that lovely friendship developed into a vibrant bond between the pair that would last until his death.

Rick and Michonne found safety and understanding in each other.

They didn’t always agree, and they sure as hell didn’t just glide through their years in Alexandria in total bliss, but their love was all-encompassing and based on a foundation of respect.

In The Ones Who Live, we get Rick and Michonne back, and their presence was sorely missed.

The series is being kept very hush, hush, and for good reason. We’ve been without Richonne for years, and you can’t give it all away during a thirty-second tease.

As someone who didn’t make it through The Walking Dead (with plans to finish those lingering episodes one day), I have to admit there was never a doubt in my mind that I’d be tuning in to see the next stage of Rick and Michonne’s story, whether that be together or apart.

Even without knowing exactly where things stood with some core characters like Darryl, Carol, and Maggie, I want to see where Richonne lands because their love story has always been even bigger than the show for many.

The Dead Universe is filled with various colorful, controversial, and beloved characters, but this is Rick and Michonne. This is the mother and father of the whole damn thing.

They are the centerpiece and the cornerstone of everything.

The stakes feel incredibly high during the first four episodes critics and journalists were able to screen. And there’s no stopping the powerhouses that are Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira in roles they step into like a second skin.

It’s always been evident they understood their characters, for better or worse, and each gets ample opportunities to play in this somewhat new universe, which has seen them bogged down by neverending time.

Gurira, in particular, glows on-screen, wholly wrapped up in everything it means to be this weathered and beaten-down mother, unwilling to give up on the man who gave her so much in their time together.

And Lincoln knows Grimes like the back of his hand. He’s as cool as ever with his commanding speeches and quiet, solitary moments.

The internet has been abuzz with a renewed interest in both Richonne and their portrayers, with the seasoned actors hitting the promo circuit full of the camaraderie and charisma they’ve shown us for years.

The spinoff has much to offer outside of Rick and Michonne, including new characters and a heavy focus on the CRM, which will be familiar to those who stuck around for the duration of the series.

And there’s something to be said for the heavy focus on the other side of the end of the world, not just dodging walkers in the woods.

But even if you tapped out at some point during the original run or chose not to stick around for the spinoffs, there’s still a reason to tune in: Rick and Michonne.

The story of Richonne is the reawakening of two embattled souls made whole again in the middle of unspeakable tragedy. And who doesn’t want to see how that ends?

Where Richonne goes, we should all follow and be reminded of that mighty little thing called love.

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live premieres on February 25 at 9/8c on AMC.

Whitney Evans is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is a lover of all things TV. Follow her on X.

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