Danai Gurira is here to make you feel better about The Walking Dead. After more than 100 episodes on the beloved AMC series, the actress will be hanging up her sword and moving on to less undead pastures. While the exact timing and details of her exit are still under wraps, she opened up to EW about what it was like to go out with a bang. And we mean that literally because her final day of filming took place on the Fourth of July.

“They did a lot of really cool things for me which I didn’t expect,” she says. “Norman [Reedus] organized this big fireworks display, which was really beautiful, and there was this really cool cake that was basically Michonne’s sword…There was of course a lot of pain and saying goodbye and teariness, but it was such a free flow of love and that’s what sticks with me the most.”

As The Walking Dead viewers watch her final episodes, Gurira herself has already begun work on her next project: The HBO Max adaptation of Americanah, which puts her on the other side of production. She worked to create the show and serves as a writer, which proves to be quite different from her days of zombie-killing.

“With writing, I feel like I’m always going to find the thing I need to find,” she tells EW. “But in acting, you need to find it within community, which can pose its own challenge. They’re both exhilarating and excruciating and that’s the beauty of storytelling.”

Watch the video to hear more from Gurira about saying farewell to TWD, and read her digital cover profile here.

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The Walking Dead

AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.

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