First I have to start with thanking members of this fandom who not only supported this venture—having a Richonne panel—but also helped to fund it. Basically, patrons sans Patreon. Anyway, I put a lot of thought into this panel, and attempted to cover all bases. But, as life can sometimes do, I kind of got kicked in the nuts. My photographer had the awful misfortune of being robbed a day after the con. She had a few clips on her phone, but that was all that was salvaged. If anyone from the panel is reading this and recorded the panel, please comment or PM me.
The panel itself was great—I started with this beautiful Richonne fan vid to commence the ceremony:
As it ended, the room applauded and cheered.
Delving into the power and prejudice of Richonne, I chose topics that are quite anti-Richonne as points of discussion, which went as follows:
Agree or Disagree
- she’s just a love interest (now)/she’s weak (YNB à weak, only serves to debilitate Rick)
- she doesn’t need a man
- I hate Rick; he doesn’t deserve her; she deserves better
- it’ll ruin their friendship
- they have no chemistry
- it was too fast
- she’s going to die/be the LV victim because of Lori/Jessie blah blah blah
Though it took a good twenty minutes [and after several invites], people started trickling to the mic. A lot of them had statements more than questions, but I loved that they were so engaged. The audience–I think there was between sixty to eighty people. I wish the room had been packed, but considering this was the first panel, I think it wasn’t too shabby. I began to alternate between people at the mic, and questions from those online.
The balance of power between Rick and Michonne came up. A gentleman asked what we thought of the dynamic between Rick and Michonne, and I said that they had such incredible balance between them. I pointed out that they can both take the reins without being demeaning (e.g. when Rick says, “I owe it to Carol,” to keep Michonne at the church with the children, or Michonne gently saying, “Just one more day,” when Rick wanted to go with her and Carl on that run).
There is no leader or follower, as they are equals. Michonne was not hindered by her relationship with Rick; the first time after they make “sweet, honey love” (and that is a direct quote from me at the panel), she hopped out of the bed, buck naked, wielding a sword. She calls the shots with Jesus not once, but twice. Michonne has not changed. In fact, if anything has changed, it’s that Rick just readily defers to her more. That isn’t to say he doesn’t call shots when he is so inclined (e.g. signing off on taking out the Saviors), but he trusts her to make calls, too, and has for some time. And in addition to that, equally, she trusts him.
They share the power between them–there is no short stick with Richonne.
The topic of race did come up. I mentioned how some began to ship Michonne with Lucille shortly after the airing of “The Next World.” My panelists for the most part, didn’t think, or didn’t want to believe that race was the case for this. One said that she thought that perhaps they were just comic purists and were interested in the Rick/Andrea arc, to which I said, “She dead.”
Monique (Panelist): What?
Me: She dead.
Which, got a laugh from the audience, happy to say. I let the panelists go first with their responses before giving my own, saying something to this effect:
It isn’t necessarily a racial issue. It is, however, a colorist/ethnic issue. Michonne is quite ethnic, with her dark skin and dread locks. The general audience would find someone like Sasha more “palatable” perhaps. There’s nothing wrong with being ethnic or dark, but it is not something viewers are used to. Keep in mind that Rick isn’t just some white guy—he’s the guy—he’s the lead of the show. The expectation is to see him with someone who looks like Jessie. It’s why he is shipped with Maggie, that Savior woman Paula or whatever her name is, or pretty much any white woman on the show.
One (white) woman, the first up to the mic, said that she didn’t think it was a color thing as she herself didn’t see it that way, and that it was clear to her that Rick and Michonne belonged together. In fact, she grew aggravated waiting for them to happen. It was a lovely response. Unfortunately, at present, this footage is unavailable.
Somehow, we talked about Carol and Morgan for a bit, and I will reiterate this point: They are getting together. Carol and Morgan are going to happen. At this point, given all that has occurred between them, it would be ass-backwards if they didn’t. I am sorry to the Carylers—Daryl loves Carol, it’s true. But it does not seem to me he has ever looked at her in a sexual manner. He loves her, but he does not appear to be interested in her [in a sexual way].
Anyway, we went over in time, and the last person at the mic said that she thought they were gross, as she only saw them in a brother and sister fashion. Well, I had a response, and it went as follows…
In hindsight, I wish I had delved deeper into the topic of race–why some could only see Rick and Michonne as having a “sibling relationship.” I think that this is due to media conditioning –why this has occurred and doesn’t seem to be going away. The writers, actors and directors have all made it painstakingly clear that Rick has not nor has he ever looked at Michonne in that way, and vice versa. On the next panel, and I fully plan to do a next panel, I shall dig deeper.
Also, I just love discussing these two.