Warning – potential spoilers for Season 8 of The Walking Dead
In the Season 8 premiere of The Walking Dead, viewers were treated to a not-yet-to-be-determined-as-fact “flash forward” involving a visibly older Rick, Carl, Michonne, and Judith. The “flash forward” appears to imply all four survive the events of All Out War and are living happily ever after in Alexandria as they prepare for a festival.
Some fans, however, are suspecting a slightly darker turnout for the Grimes family. Astute viewers noticed a rather important detail shared between Episode 1 “Mercy” and Episode 2 “The Damned.”
In the episode 1 “flash forward” were are introduced to the six year old version of Judith, played by Kinsley Isla Dillon. In the scene, you’ll notice Judith is holding a stuffed rabbit.
Innocent enough, right? Well, if you remember correctly, after battling a Savior in Episode 2, Rick enters a room he assumed to be an armory full of weapons. As it turns out, the room is actually a nursery. And in that nursery, he finds a sleeping baby named Gracie. But take note as to what toy is in the crib with baby Gracie. Yes, that’s right — the same stuffed rabbit from the “flash forward.”
As it turns out, this detail was added intentionally into the show. According to an interview with Comicbook.com, prop master John Sanders spent a lot of time aging the rabbit for the flash forward. “We’ve been working on this rabbit for nine hours right now to age it to appropriateness,” Sanders said.
This has caused quite the shit storm in the fandom, with the most wild theory being Judith dies at the end of All Out War and Rick takes Gracie in to raise as his own as penance for killing her father.
But are fans really supposed to believe the girl in the flash forward is actually Gracie from Episode 2? Well, let’s break down what we know.
The most notable piece of evidence is what we know from outside of the show — particularly the character Kinsley Isla Dillon was cast to play in Episode 1. According to the show, Kinsley is credited as playing “six year old Judith.” Additionally, this photo from the set seems to solidify that fact. Would the casting department intentionally misname a character in order to trick fans for a later twist?
We also aren’t completely positive the “flash forward” is actually a flash forward and not a dream sequence/hallucination. From what we know about Episode 1, we see Rick in a variety of different time periods, one of which includes him visually upset, almost defeated. His disposition even seems to imply someone very important to him may have died — possibly Judith, Carl or Michonne. So it’s completely likely this “flash forward” is more of a “what could have been” dream sequence.
Lastly, if we’ve been lead to believe the “flash forward” in Episode 1 is only a few years later, surely the girl in the flash forward is far too old to be Gracie and could only be Judith.
We want to hear your theories about the Judith/Gracie/rabbit conundrum. Sound off with your thoughts in the comments section below.