Former The Walking Dead star Sarah Wayne Callies, who played Lori Grimes, credits Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) as the true parents of daughter Judith Grimes (Cailey Fleming).
“I wish I had a great answer for this. I’ll say this again, I’m sure you guys have all heard this — I never watched the show, zombies scare me, I’m sorry,” Callies said aboard Walker Stalker Cruise 2019 when asked how Judith would be different had Lori survived past Season Three.
“I’ve also said for years when people go, ‘Who’s Judith’s father?’ I have an adopted son. I am his mother. I don’t care whose DNA... Rick Grimes stepped up to raise that girl, and that is her father.”
Lori fell pregnant through a fling with Shane (Jon Bernthal), dying in childbirth when Maggie (Lauren Cohan) was forced to deliver the baby unassisted during a walker invasion on the survivors’ prison base. Rick took Judith as his own despite later admitting to Michonne he knew the child was Shane’s.
“Now, similarly, while I would like to believe that Lori’s sacrifice for Judith is a little bit like Harry Potter’s mom dying to save his life and gave him superpowers and a cool scar, Michonne is that girl’s mom. Because she raised her,” Callies continued.
“And so I can’t tell what would be different if Lori was still alive, but I think Lori is up there somewhere — or down, whatever — she is super grateful that in a world that broken, two human beings stepped up to make sure a little girl survived.”
A vision of Shane would later taunt Rick about Judith’s parentage when Rick, suffering from a bloody wound, hallucinated his former partner asking about his “baby girl.”
Michonne was later forced to raise Judith alone following Rick’s disappearance and presumed death, giving way to a six-year time jump in which Michonne gave birth to her and Rick’s son, RJ (Antony Azor).
Fleming was cast in part for her resemblance to Judith’s late mother and late half-brother Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs), exhibited when the actors assembled for the first time in a Grimes family photo captured aboard Walker Stalker Cruise.
“We’re just really thrilled to have Cailey Fleming playing Judith because she’s such a ray of sunshine for the cast and the crew. They just absolutely love her,” showrunner Angela Kang previously told EW.
“People teared up when they saw her step on the set. She looked so much like Sarah Wayne Callies. There’s a resemblance to Chandler, who played Carl. That’s really been a bright spot for us in making this season.”
The Walking Dead premieres new episodes Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.
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