Longtime The Walking Dead executive producer David Alpert says he expects Judith (currently played by twins Chloe and Sophia Garcia-Frizzi), daughter of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Alexandria co-leader Michonne (Danai Gurira), to succeed Rick as the one-day leader of “the whole team.”
“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,” Alpert told Huffington Post of Judith’s late half-brother Carl (Chandler Riggs).
“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.”
The biological daughter of Rick’s late wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and his police partner-turned-chief rival Shane (Jon Bernthal), Judith is fully accepted as Rick’s daughter — despite her actual lineage.
Come The Walking Dead Season Nine, Judith is 18 months older and one-third of the loving Grimes Family, who get a heartwarming family day montage early on in the season set to Bauhaus’ “All We Ever Wanted Was Everything.”
Unlike her comic book counterpart — whose story ended tragically at the prison early on in creator Robert Kirkman’s long-running series — Judith has the potential to someday adopt some of the storylines that belonged to the comic book’s Carl, who is still alive and poised to assume Rick’s leadership position sometime in the future.
Michonne and Judith will next have to navigate the fallout the soon-approaching loss of her father — Lincoln’s Rick will be written out in 905, leaving Judith in the sole care of her surrogate mom — the show’s biggest deviation yet from the comic books, bringing the show into unknown territory.
The season sees Michonne step up in a big way, working to create a charter that would lawfully bind all neighboring communities — Alexandria, Hilltop, the Kingdom, Oceanside, and the Sanctuary — a major step towards realizing the future civilization put into motion by Rick and Michonne as inspired by Carl.
“We’ll see that Rick and Michonne, it’s one of the strongest relationships that we have on the show,” showrunner Angela Kang said on Talking Dead of the couple, who have fully embraced the idea of forging a hopeful future.
“They’re raising Judith. They’re so in sync with each other and they support each other’s goals. They’re not doing exactly the same things, Michonne has her own journey she’s going through this season. This being Andy’s last season on the show, we’re going to explore what that does to Michonne.”
Kang teased the season “will be exploring the different directions that Michonne goes,” adding, “it may not be exactly the way that you expect.”
The Walking Dead Season Nine launches Sunday, October 7 on AMC.