The Walking Dead slipped a major detail into its most recent episode which should have fans worried for a precious character.
Spoilers for The Walking Dead Episode 8x02 follow.
The Season 8 premiere revealed a series of flash forward sequences which, by their end, revealed a little girl who referred to Rick as "Daddy." The little girl was seen in Rick's house with a significantly aged Rick Grimes and his beloved Michonne telling Rick about an owl built outside the house for the big festival. The most important detail, however, may have been the worn out stuffed bunny she was carrying.
In Episode 8x02, a little girl by the name of Gracie was introduced when Rick and Daryl were raiding a Savior outpost. Rick had killed the little girl's father just prior to entering her room and finding her in a crib. Right beside Gracie was the same stuffed bunny, though it was not aged and worn as it appeared to be in the flash forward scene.
This is the same stuffed bunny, years later.
ComicBook.com learned more about the stuffed rabbit while visiting the set of the AMC series and speaking to property master John Sanders, who had to go to extreme lengths to get the perfect prop for Episode 100 and its direct successor.
"[Scott Gimple] wrote in the script, a velveteen rabbit," Sanders said. "I went to Etsy and I looked and there were nine different velveteen rabbits but this velveteen rabbit reminded me of my childhood. Scott's a little bit younger than me, but not much, so I showed it to him and he picked it instantly. Guess where it's made? Scotland. And we only had six days. So I called the woman and I said, 'I need ten of those rabbits!' She said, 'No.' I said, 'We're The Walking Dead!' She said, 'No.' Maybe she doesn't get that in Scotland. So, I explained it to her and how much I really wanted it and what I was gonna do with it and she got really excited. She made me two rabbits."
Luckily for the AMC series, two rabbits was all they needed. One of the rabbits would appear looking fresh and new while the other would look old and worn.
"We've been working on this rabbit for nine hours right now to age it to appropriateness," Sanders said.
There are a number of scenarios which can explain why the bunny is in Rick's house with a little girl holding it...
The first scenario is Rick took the toy and gave it to his daughter Judith. Of course, this would imply he left the little girl behind, which doesn't seem like something Rick would do assuming the child is alive. Still, his current situation of being held at gunpoint by Morales doesn't bode well for those expecting him to simply go a grab the rabbit before heading out.
While Sanders would not reveal why the AMC series needed two versions of the rabbit more specifically, ComicBook.com did see the young actress playing Rick's little girl carrying it into the scene while visiting the set.
Judith, being a very young girl, might have developed a special attachment to the rabbit if Rick does manage to bring it back for her...
Another scenario suggests a possibly more grim fate for Judith.
With Rick having taken a long and hard look at himself in the mirror upon realizing he killed Gracie's father, he may feel an obligation to look after her. After all, this wouldn't be the first time Rick played father to a girl who wasn't biologically his own.
With Rick seen standing at two graves at the Hilltop community to start Season 8, many fans are suggesting those belong to characters other than Glenn and Abraham. With Michonne, Carl, and possibly Gracie having been featured in the flash forward sequence, there is a dark possibility that Judith is buried in the Hilltop's graveyard and Gracie took her place.
After all, the rabbit would be the one thing Gracie would retain from her life prior to Rick's arrival, though she would have little recollection of any attachment to it at such a young age. The litter girl growing up, however, might explain why Andrew Lincoln's Rick looked so old in the time jump.
"It looks to be four to five years. The problem is that Rick seems to have aged in dog years," Lincoln told ComicBook.com. "He hasn't aged as well as Michonne, you could say. You could say he had aged on behalf of Michonne, who knows? Certainly, the years haven't been favorable to Mr. Grimes."
If Rick Grimes were to lose either of his kids, his will to live and rebuild society would become questionable, meaning the landscape of The Walking Dead would be completely shattered.
While the detail might be an important indication of Judith and/or Gracie's fates, it's also part of a plan from the AMC series to release some merchandise which isn't centered around the show's violence.
"We're gonna turn out two toys for kids, this year," Sanders said. "The Gremblygunk and the bunny, so when you go to store and you want to buy something from The Walking Dead, based on some people we know who have tried to buy their family's children things, that it's not gonna be a monster or a bloody thing or something you beat somebody with. It's gonna be a toy."