Spoilers below for The Walking Dead's latest episode, "Monsters."
For years now, Walking Dead fans have been wondering what the show would be like once Maggie's baby was born and following in Judith's tiny footsteps as this story's next generation of survivors. Well, the zombie drama flipped the newborn script on fans by introducing Gracie, the daughter of a Savior that Rick killed, who went back to Hilltop with a mourning Aaron at the end of "Monsters." Gracie (and her crib toy) are at the center of a fan theory that involves Judith getting killed off and replaced in time for Rick's big flash-forward. But how legit is that theory at this point?
The main piece of visual info driving this theory is a stuffed rabbit that has appeared in two different places. (Or has it?!?) The first time viewers laid eyes on the toy bunny, it was a quick flash during the Old Rick sequence in the season premiere, when non-baby Judith comes out to talk about the fair outside. The second time, it was in Gracie's crib upon Rick discovering her (and then Morales, in short order). Check out the pics below.
One train of thought has led people to believe that it's actually Gracie we see in the flash-forward with the toy, and not Judith, with the likeliest scenario backing that up being Judith's death inevitably happening at some point in the near-ish future. After all, why would Rick just steal Gracie's bunny to give to Judith, after already having killed the former's (evil henchman) father? And Judith's death could easily inspire Rick's tearful-eyed moments we saw in the premiere, not to mention giving the replaceable leader a life event so mind-numbing that it prematurely turned his hair grey.
It's certainly easy to get caught up in that line of thinking, but only if all the proper assumptions are made. We didn't actually see Rick bring that rabbit down from the Saviors' outpost, nor did we see him give it to Aaron, so we'd have to assume that the show would explain that detail away in the future. Also, the credits listed the premiere's flash-forward character as Six-Year-Old Judith, so we'd have to assume that the ruse carried over into the credits, which is an easier one to accept.
But it also necessitates the assumption that Rick's future vision was concrete reality, which is not at all a certain thing just yet. Not to mention the fact that Judith's death would need to be followed by Aaron giving Rick custody of Gracie, which is technically possible, if not as likely as other situations where both children are still alive in the show's future. Of course, there's another option here that puts Gracie at death's door in the upcoming storyline, meaning Judith would then inherit the rabbit doll from the doubly-depressed Aaron. But that's another can of worms, which is not the ideal turn of phrase there.
By all means, The Walking Dead has not shied away from presenting some truly horrifying moments involving children. From Lizzie and Mika on the TV show to Judith's much earlier death in the comics, this is a franchise that goes that extra depressing step when it needs to. So Judith could very well meet her early maker without understanding anything about what was happening, but I'm still not convinced that it'll happen, or anything about Old Rick. What do you guys think?