The Walking Dead has introduced two new characters who will soon be unveiled as a lesbian couple.
Magna and Yumiko made their debut on the AMC’s post-apocalyptic zombie drama in November, during Episode 5 of the show’s ninth season—but have not explicitly been shown as a couple.
But Eleanor Matsuura, who plays Yumiko, has now revealed to Digital Spy that the women’s relationship will be made obvious to viewers when the show returns on Sunday (February 10).
“We will see a lot more of Magna and Yumiko functioning as a couple, and it’s something that I fought really hard for and Nadia (Hilker) fought really hard for, to make sure we have that inclusion,” she said.
“Obviously in the comics, it’s obvious that they’re a couple. But we wanted to make sure that it was also obvious in the show,” Matsuura said.
“So we fought really hard to have a kiss between us included in one of the later episodes, so we’ll have that to look forward to!”
The actress, who has also had roles in Wonder Woman and British TV series Sherlock, said she and Hilker were excited about the impact their roles could have.
“We feel very proud to be representing the LGBTQ community,” she said. “I feel a responsibility about it.
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“I don’t take it lightly. I’m delighted to be representing where I think television and actually all platforms and media need to be going. I’m happy to be part of it.”
The Walking Dead has a history of featuring LGBT+ characters
Magna and Yumiko are the latest in a series of queer characters to feature on The Walking Dead.
Tara Chambler, played by Allana Masterson, made her first appearance in Season 4 and is still alive, doing her bit to fight the Bury Your Gays trope which has haunted so many LGBT+ characters on TV.
A report in 2017 from campaign group LGBT Fans Deserve Better showed that 62 lesbian and bisexual female characters on TV had been killed off in the previous two years.
“It’s been so amazing to be a part of that community and to give visibility as a gay character on one of the biggest television shows ever.”
— Tom Payne, who played Jesus on The Walking Dead
Unfortunately, The Walking Dead’s Eric failed to escape this fate in 2017 during Season 8.
The gay character, played by Jordan Woods-Robinson, had been in a relationship with Ross Marquand’s Aaron since the beginning of his time on the show.
And in November’s Season 9 midseason finale, actor Tom Payne made a shock exit from the show after three seasons playing gay character Paul “Jesus” Monroe.
Once Jesus’s death was broadcast, he told The Hollywood Reporter: “It’s been so amazing to be a part of that community and to give visibility as a gay character on one of the biggest television shows ever.”