The latest Walking Dead theory about Old Man Rick might just spell doom for Judith, making way for a future that’s even more depressing than the present.

Fans were mystified during the Season 8 premiere of The Walking Dead by what looked like dreamy flash-forwards to a peaceful future for Old Man Rick, but the latest theory about this future has everything to do with that baby Rick took in last week after killing the father. The gist of it is this: What if that little girl Old Man Rick lives with isn’t Judith at all but is instead the new baby, Gracie, that he’s adopted?

If that’s the case, then it spells doom for poor Judith, whose death could trigger Rick’s bloodshot meltdown seen during a different flash-forward in the Season 8 premiere. Could this season’s all-out war end in Judith’s death and what finally sets Rick down the path of peace?

What's going to happen to Gracie now?
What's going to happen to Gracie now?

We can’t rely too heavily on what happens in The Walking Dead comics to predict what could happen on the show, considering how far the show deviates. (Consider that at this point in the comics, Rick only has one hand.) But sometimes the show does rectify things that happened in the comics. Eric was shot in an Episode 2 battle — one that he died during in the comics — and by Episode 3, sure enough, he was dead. By this point in the comics, Judith is long dead, having been killed by the Governor’s people years earlier, so perhaps it’s finally time for the show to play catch-up?

Would The Walking Dead be so messed up that it would kill off Rick’s young daughter and have him replace her with a surrogate? Terrible things have happened on the show in the past, but should this come true, it might just be the most disturbing thing to happen yet. Who might kill Judith? Will she become a Walker? Would Rick himself have to kill her then?

As farfetched as this seems, the show has already presented some pretty convincing visual evidence.

Here’s Gracie when Rick finds her, shortly after he killed her dad.

Baby Gracie has a stuffed rabbit tucked in her crib when Rick finds her.
Baby Gracie has a stuffed rabbit tucked in her crib when Rick finds her.

Now here’s the young girl that adores Old Man Rick, the one we all assumed was an older Judith.

We're starting to think that this girl is totally Gracie.
We're starting to think that this girl is totally Gracie.

See the stuffed rabbit? Rick left the first rabbit behind when he took Gracie away, but they’re almost too similar for this to be just a mere coincidence.

Rick isn’t exactly young, as it stands, on The Walking Dead, but considering the fact that Old Man Rick has almost entirely white hair on his head and face and walks with a cane, he’s gotten really old. Especially if this theory turns out to be true, then the time jump between present-day and Old Man Rick’s time could be more significant than we previously thought. It almost makes more sense for the little girl to be Gracie, who’s currently a young baby, than Judith, who’s already a toddler.

We’re still pretty far from this theory getting confirmed or denied in some way, but now we’ve got one more thing to dread on The Walking Dead in Season 8.


The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Photos via AMC (1, 2, 3)