The actress explains how the story draws parallels to many real life struggles

By Dalton Ross
October 15, 2017 at 10:00 AM EDT

Instead of an iron fist, Negan has been ruling over our heroes of The Walking Dead with a barbed-wire baseball bat. But it’s time to rise up against that oppression, and for star Danai Gurira, the mobilization to take down an oppressive evil force draws parallels to many real-life struggles.

The actress explained while talking about the theme of season 8 (which kicks off Oct. 22 on AMC) at our EW cover shoot. “We saw such a powerful way to end the season, I thought, with the pain and then the triumph and the standing up together,” says Gurira. “It’s a very powerful thing when you think you’re in the clutches of oppression or tyranny and actually come together as a people and decide to stop it. And I loved how that echoes through many a thing we’ve seen — the fight against apartheid, the fight for the civil rights movement. There are so many ways you can actually parallel that to when people decide enough is enough, and they come together in unexpected ways and come up with new ways to move forward and to get rid of the oppression as a unit — the unity.”

It is that arc of coming together and standing up against oppression that makes season 8 so thrilling — and timely — for Gurira. “That’s what I love about what happened at the end of season 7. And we’ll see how that manifests itself in season 8. It really is the power of that unity that I think is really, really compelling and powerful to me.”

Watch the video above to hear from Gurira herself about the importance of season 8, and for more Walking Dead intel, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.
  • TV Show
  • 9
  • 123
  • TV-14
run date
  • 10/31/10
  • On Hiatus
Available For Streaming On
Complete Coverage