'The Walking Dead': Is Love Next for Rick and Michonne?

The Walking Dead Andrew Lincoln Danai Gurira Still - H 2015
Courtesy of AMC

The Walking Dead Andrew Lincoln Danai Gurira Still - H 2015

Poor Rick Grimes.

The beleaguered former sheriff can't seem to catch a break in the postapocalyptic world. While he managed to locate his wife, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), and son, Carl (Chandler Riggs), after awaking from a coma to find the world as he knew it had ended, he learned that she had cheated on him with Shane (Jon Bernthal), his best friend.

Ever since Lori died during childbirth, Rick has been a single father of two navigating the walker-filled world without a love interest. But die-hard fans have picked up on something more between Rick and Michonne (Danai Gurira) — aka Richonne. But can the alliance between the leader of the survivors and his katana-wielding companion evolve into something more? The Hollywood Reporter took that question to Walking Dead showrunner Scott M. Gimple and the stars to find out where they stand.

See more 'The Walking Dead' Audition Tales: 26 Stars Tell All

"They have a very intimate relationship, that’s the funny thing. People are like, 'Oh my God, what if they were together?' They’re really, really intimate. They have done things for each other that’s familial or deep, deep, deep friendship. But the way that they speak to each other — for example in [the season five finale] — represents how far these people have come with each other," Gimple says, stressing how their relationship has evolved since Michonne showed up holding a basket of powdered baby formula while she was covered in zombie guts. "The fact that they reached that bedroom in Alexandria when they had that conversation where Rick admitted that he had a gun and was going to give it to her. I think they have an incredibly intimate relationship right now. Where that goes, who knows? I think there’s something to be said about those two characters' journeys right now."

See more 'The Walking Dead's' Most Shocking Deaths

A romantic pairing would make sense given the group's arrival at Alexandria. The location is the longest-running home for the survivors in the comics and [spoiler alert!] finds Rick and Andrea's relationship evolving to more than friends and confidants. That storyline, however, is off the table after the AMC drama killed off Laurie Holden's Andrea, leaving an opening for a new potential love interest for Rick, Alexandra Breckenridge's Jessie currently appearing poised to take over that role

"Comic book-wise Andrea is still the most important character in the books, and there is that vacancy in our show, and I think a lot of aspects of Andrea are going to be shared among a lot of characters — and not necessarily female characters," Gimple stresses.

Lincoln, meanwhile, says he most enjoys the light-hearted banter that Rick shares with Michonne.

"There’s a kind of jokiness to them," he says. "They’re both warriors, but she's one of the few people who can take the piss out of Rick, which is great. She has the arched eyebrow kind of smart-ass remark [persona], and I love playing those scenes. But also she has a great point of contact. There aren’t that many people in the apocalypse, but when everybody is dead and it’s just me and her left, let’s get it on!"

For her part, Gurira is appreciative that fans want her loner character to "get some."

"I always say to Gimple that she's the nun and she don’t get none! But it’s cool, it shows that there’s a palpable true friendship there [for Michonne and Rick] that people can pick up on. But there’s a friendship there that I treasure with Michonne’s connection with Rick. He’s the one who really challenges her to step out of who she was and who she was becoming. After that fight with the Governor (David Morrissey), she was becoming something quite ugly. … She had to go through that because of Rick, so that caused her to have a respect for him, and eventually he gained a trust and respect for her. There’s definitely an intimacy of friendship there.

See more 'Walking Dead' Comes to Life: From Comics to the Small Screen

Do you want to see Rick and Michonne become an item? Vote below in THR's poll. The Walking Dead returns Oct. 11 on AMC.