Why Judith Grimes is the future of The Walking Dead

THE WALKING DEAD -- Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC -- Acquired via AMC Press Site
THE WALKING DEAD -- Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC -- Acquired via AMC Press Site /

The Walking Dead said goodbye to their main character but they may have introduced the future of the TV series. Walking Dead fans, get ready to meet the new Judith Grimes.

Viewers had months to prepare for when it came time to say goodbye to the cornerstone of The Walking Dead. Actor Andrew Lincoln confirmed that this season would be his last portraying the role of Rick Grimes. After much speculation, we finally got our answers regarding how the series would write him out of the show.

After a major twist, The Walking Dead served up one of the most heart-pounding episodes to date. The series also gave us a glimpse into the future.

Note: Spoilers below for The Walking Dead Season 9, Episode 5.

Time is up for Rick Grimes on the TV series but he still has more story to tell for The Walking Dead‘s expanding universe. After blowing up the bridge to take out a horde of walkers, Rick was presumed dead.

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In reality, the severely injured Rick floated down the river and washed up right in front of Anne who was waiting for the helicopter. She used Rick, classified as a “B,” for her ticket on the helicopter and they flew away with Rick very much still alive. The problem is that nobody witnessed it so all of Rick’s group believed he died in the explosion.

In a major twist, rather than leave the fan’s hanging about Rick, the creative team behind The Walking Dead confirmed that Andrew Lincoln is returning to headline a trilogy of AMC movies centered on Rick Grimes. But what does that mean for the future of the TV series without their leader?

Time for a makeover

Even though the latest episode, “What Comes After,” felt like a finale, there is still plenty of stories to tell this season. There will be yet another time jump that starts with the sixth episode this season. AMC has even released a trailer previewing the events at the center of the next handful of episodes which can be seen below.

Not only does it tease the arrival of the Whisperers but it gives fans a taste of how The Walking Dead is revamping the series. Showrunner Angela Kang confirmed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that the time jump will be six years. Many of the characters will have new looks and new roles in terms of leadership. The time jump also means that young Judith Grimes will be around 10 years old which is the same age as Carl when we first met him in Season 1.

The Force is strong with Judith Grimes

With the time jump in place, Judith will now be portrayed by actress Cailey Fleming. Fans might recognize her as young Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Viewers were given a look at the new version of Judith at the end of Rick’s final episode.

Equipped with a gun and a katana, she takes down a few walkers to save a new group. Considering she grew up in this world, Judith seems to have an advantage compared to Carl’s transition. Wearing the cowboy hat, it looks like Judith will carry on Rick and Carl’s legacy.

THE WALKING DEAD — Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC — Acquired via AMC Press Site
THE WALKING DEAD — Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC — Acquired via AMC Press Site /

With Carl gone, Judith could possibly take over some of his storylines from the comic books. Carl emerges as a leader in the comics series which is where it looked like he was going before being killed off in the series. Over time Judith might take over that role, especially since she is the only Grimes character left. The trailer also hints that she strikes up a friendship with Negan which is something that happened with Carl in the comics.

If anything, Judith’s survival and the group’s continued trend of thriving proves that Rick helped build the world that he promised. Everything he did was for her and his family, the group he nearly sacrificed himself for. The group will live on and continue to build something far greater than what they imagined.

Maybe Rick will return one day to see how much progress they made. Crazier things have happened in the world of The Walking Dead but for now, it’s up to Judith Grimes.

Next. 5 times we ugly cried during Rick Grimes’ final episode of The Walking Dead. dark

What do you predict for Judith Grimes on The Walking Dead Season 9 and beyond? Tell us in the comments!

New episodes of The Walking Dead air Sunday nights at 9/8c on AMC.