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Season 7 of The Walking Dead has taken a fairly unique approach to laying out the comic book's according arc and all its memorable moments. One pretty important distinction between the two came in "Service," when Rick plainly admitted to Michonne that he knows Judith isn't biologically his daughter, which remains a suspicion on the page. Former TWD star Sarah Wayne Callies spoke with CinemaBlend about heading back to Fox for the upcoming Prison Break revival, and she shared her thoughts with me about the zombie drama overtly revealing Judith's parentage, which she hadn't been aware of before our talk.
Oh, did it? . . . You know, I get asked a lot of whose baby it is, and my answer is always, 'It's Rick's, because a man who stands up to raise a baby is that baby's father.' I have a unique perspective on this. My son is adopted and my husband is my son's father. They don't look a thing alike. They're a different race. They don't have the same DNA. Anybody who has kids, I think, would recognize that none of that matters. What matters is who stands up for this kid, and Rick has stood up for this kid, and that makes Judith his daughter. Nothing else matters.
Boom. Considering Judith's birth is the reason why Sarah Wayne Callies isn't on the show anymore, you're not going to find a more appropriate judge and jury for this particular child-based situation than this mother and actress. Callies isn't wavering in her views on the real father of her fictional daughter Judith, finding parallels in her own life to draw from, as well as (presumably) the normal human gland that produces the instinct to always choose Rick as a child's father over Shane. That gland resides within us all, I think, but I'm no biologist.
Even though I didn't go into verbatim about what Rick told Michonne during those emotionally fraught moments earlier this season, Sarah Wayne Callies hit the same nail on the head with her thoughts. A father-daughter connection is not about the DNA or the blood coursing through one's veins, but rather the amount of time, energy and love put into it, and Rick has clearly done a better job of raising Judith than Shane has. Granted, Shane is dead two times over, but I don't really think that makes him any less absent. There was one point when Post-Apocalyptic Shane would have been good father and husband material -- something that culminated in Shane and Lori bumping uglies -- but he ruined his chances a million times over.
Laughing, Sarah Wayne Callies shared an amusing and related anecdote about what the actors would say about Judith's biological dad.
We always had the joke that if Judith grows up and has a big honkin' nose that looks like it's been broken in six sites, that answers the question.
Jon BURNthal, amirite? Callies extended this thought by offering a brief but interesting parallel between Rick's situation on The Walking Dead and her character Sara on Prison Break, who is also currently raising a child years after the other parent was killed (or whatever it is that happened to Michael Scofield). It's one that I probably wouldn't have thought about had she not mentioned it, and also one that doesn't change either show, but it's still cool.
Don't expect to see Judith getting assertive anytime soon, as The Walking Dead will almost definitely keep her on the safety-ridden sidelines for next week's Season 7 finale, which will hit AMC on Sunday, April 2, at 9:00 p.m. ET. If you're looking to get more Sarah Wayne Callies in your life, though, she's currently starring in USA's acclaimed sci-fi hit Colony, and she'll soon return to the role that made her famous for Fox's upcoming revival of the action drama Prison Break, which kicks off its shortened fifth season on Tuesday, April 4, at 9:00 p.m. ET. (Take our Prison Break quiz for a chance at prizes and bragging rights.)