Judith Grimes, Rick Grimes’ adopted daughter, has long been dead in creator Robert Kirkman’s ongoing The Walking Dead comic book — and Kirkman admitted he frequently tries to have the child killed on the show.
“I tried to kill that damn baby that’s not even a baby anymore — I have pitched the death of Judith so many times it’s not even funny,” Kirkman said during his New York Comic Con panel Thursday.
Judith, the product of an affair between Rick’s wife Lori and best friend Shane Walsh, was killed off in the comic books in issue #48 when a fleeing Lori — attempting to get the baby to safety — was shot in the back by one of the Governor’s people during an attack on the survivors’ newfound prison safe haven. The shot felled Lori, whose corpse crushed baby Judith to death.
A similar scenario almost played out in Season Four of the television series, after Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) died at the prison during childbirth. When the Governor (David Morrissey) attacked the prison, his assault apparently claimed the life of Judith, whose empty and bloodied carrier was discovered by Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs).
It would later be revealed Judith survived the ordeal and was in the care of Carol (Melissa McBride) and Tyreese (Chad Coleman), who ultimately reunited the child with her father and brother after they believed her dead.
The decision to spare Judith from her comic book fate, Kirkman admitted, would make the upcoming ninth season stronger.
“I’ll say, when you see Season Nine, you will be as happy as I am that no one listened to me,” Kirkman said. “There’s some really cool stuff coming up with Judith. Judith’s a very fun character.”
Kirkman added “it’s cool having a kid running around” during the zombie apocalypse and that he “was wrong to want to kill her every season from Season Three on.”
Judith has since become a fixture of the happy Grimes family, lovingly doted on by father Rick and mother Michonne (Danai Gurira). Moreover, the last-surviving Grimes child will go on to play an important role in the series moving forward.
“I used to say Carl would grow up and have kids and that his kids would take over with all his grandkids, so obviously it can’t work like that,” executive producer David Alpert told Huffington Post of Judith’s older half-brother Carl, who was killed off in Season Eight.
“But Judith, she’s a little ass-kicker. I think it’s possible we could see Judith grow up and take over the whole team.”