Great news! Sonequa Martin-Green landed the lead role on CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery, becoming the first African-American female to head up a Star Trek show or movie.
But after fans celebrated that historic news, they were left with all sorts of worry about what it meant for her character of Sasha on The Walking Dead. After all, there is a long, sad history of Walking Dead actors being killed off soon after news gets out about them accepting a different acting role.
Jon Bernthal landed a part on original Walking Dead showrunner Frank Darabont’s Mob City (then called L.A. Noir) in 2012 while season 2 of TWD was airing, and sure enough, his character of Shane was soon stabbed and shot by Rick and Carl Grimes. In 2014, AMC announced that David Morrissey would be starring in a pilot called Line of Sight (which the network ultimately passed on), and then his character of the Governor was soon disposed of on AMC’s The Walking Dead. Of course, both of them landed those jobs after their characters had been killed off (even if the episodes had not aired yet).
However, when Corey Hawkins (who plays Heath) landed the lead role on 24: Legacy as well as a part in Kong: Skull Island, his character — who was still alive — went out on a supply run, was seen in one episode this season, and then disappeared again, giving him the opportunity to return to the fold (as Lennie James did with Morgan) from time to time or on a regular basis should 24 not be renewed.
Considering she is the lead on Star Trek, it seems unlikely that Martin-Green would have time to stay on as a TWD regular due to the Trek shooting schedule (which begins filming this week), and she was predictably cagey when we asked her what her new job means for her current one. “Well, I can’t say anything,” laughs Martin Green. “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.”
We also asked showrunner Scott M. Gimple if Martin-Green’s Star Trek gig was a sign that her Walking Dead tenure was about to come to a bloody end, and he left open the chance that the actress might be able to juggle both schedules. “Sonequa Martin-Green can do anything,” says Gimple. “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.”
But is Gimple bluffing? After all, he’s certainly not going to come out and say that Sasha is a goner. There may be a few clues as to what is going to happen from The Walking Dead comic on which the show is based. [SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you want to know about moments from The Walking Dead comic which may or may not occur on the TV adaptation. Seriously, stop right now if you don’t want to know.]
While Sasha is a character created for the TV version of The Walking Dead and does not exist in the comic, her romantic connection to Abraham mirrors one that a character named Holly had in the comics. Holly eventually sought revenge on Negan after Abraham was killed (with an arrow through the eye like Denise on the TV version), sacrificing herself at the Sanctuary to help the group escape. After being captured by Negan, Holly was then delivered with a bag over her head back to Alexandria. But when the bag was taken off her head, it was revealed that Holly was now a zombie, and she bit Denise, who, again, had not yet been killed in the comic.
Confusing matters even more, Fear the Walking Dead recently used the same zombie-with-a-bag-over-its-head prisoner exchange stunt from the comic, throwing into question whether Walking Dead would still use the same thing after it already aired on its prequel series. So put it all together and what does it mean for Sasha? Will she meet her maker at some point in the back half of the season (which kicks off on Feb. 12), or simply disappear for a while next season like Heath?
Either way, we should have our answer soon enough. And let us not forget that star Danai Gurira is currently filming the Black Panther movie for Marvel, and Lennie James will be starring in a U.K. show he created and wrote called Gone. Start your speculation on what that means for Michonne and Morgan right now.
For more Walking Dead scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 9 p.m. ET.