"Interesting. That got brought up earlier on, actually. Someone thought that Rick might be immune," Payne told Serieously when fielding popular fan theories.
"And I hadn't even thought about that. But I do think that that could be a future storyline in the show, definitely. And I think, yeah, it makes sense that Judith could be immune. That would be cool. It would be kind of funny if she got bit and didn't die and Carl got bit and did die."
Creator Robert Kirkman said previously The Walking Dead aims to "not be as definitive as possible because we don't want to reveal anything," shooting down a potential cause and cure storyline at San Diego Comic-Con 2017:
"One, because it's been done on a lot of other zombie stories. And two, because you know it's kind of a mythology-breaking proposition," Kirkman said.
"You don't want that kind of thing as far as somebody being immune. And we have dabbled in that a little bit in [Fear the Walking Dead]."
Despite flirting with scientific explanations in Season One when Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the band of Atlanta survivors reached the CDC, the series is unlikely to explore neither cause nor cure — especially as Chief Content Officer Scott Gimple sets out to expand the Walking Dead Universe well into the future.
"But as far as actually trying to solve the thing, I've always thought that one of the best things about this show is that it's not about scientists and it's not about people that would take that on as a task — because I feel like that's unrelatable," Kirkman said at the time.
"I think if there were a zombie apocalypse, I don't know that there's maybe five people in this room that would have that job. To go off and try to solve this would be a boring show, so definitely not."
Kirkman remarked more recently he might one day pull a J.K. Rowling and "casually mention" the cause of the outbreak in an unofficial capacity after The Walking Dead has ended, calling the origins of the virus "a crazy sci-fi thing that would make the story all that much weirder."
The Walking Dead Season Nine returns with new episodes Sunday, February 10.