The Walking Dead's "What Comes After," marked the expected departure of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), albeit in a way that shocked viewers, but that wasn't the only surprise of the hour: The episode ended with the sight of a tween Judith Grimes (Cailey Fleming) -- the first character born into his new world with no memories of life before it -- coming into her own as a character and a young woman. Judith, such a little boss in "What Comes After," caught fans completely off guard and renewed the faith of many that The Walking Dead could continue to stay fresh as it inches towards Season 10 with both Rick and possibly Maggie (Lauren Cohan) gone forever.
Here's what we know about Judith Grimes so far, other than the fact that she's clearly a badass already:
She's uncharted territory for the TV series. In the comics, Judith dies after being crushed by her mom Lori when Lori is shot, so everything that happens with Judith moving forward is a total invention of the show, which we are 100 percent here for.
She looks to be around 9 or 10. This means about six years have passed since Rick boarded that chopper to Whoknowsweresville in his final episode.
She has a nickname and an origin story for her real name. Daryl (Norman Reedus) nicknamed Judith Lil' Ass Kicker a few seasons back; Judith Mueller was the name of Carl's (Chandler Riggs) third grade teacher.
She's indisputably Shane's biological daughter, but Rick and Michonne's kid all the way. Jon Bernthal confirmed that Judith was, in fact, Shane's daughter years ago when he said she's "100 percent Shane's baby." That said, we've all watched her get cradled in Michonne's (Danai Gurira) arms and loved up by Rick, so she's definitely Rick's daughter -- she's wearing his old sheriff's hat, which was in turn given to her by her brother Carl when he was on his deathbed -- and she has clearly been getting some training in katana-wielding too, since she wears her very own sword on her back like her adopted mom Michonne.
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We may not have seen the last of her and Rick together. While Rick is gone from the show for good, he's going to live on in the Walking Dead universe, which could mean fans get to see more of Judith and her dad interacting down the road. If Judith comes to believe her father is alive somewhere, it stands to reason that she's going to go try to find him. Also, Judith is an excellent sharpshooter; she takes out the walkers surrounding a group of newcomers with a few clean shots from a pistol that looks remarkably like Rick's Colt Python. (She's even wearing what looks like his leather holster too.) Given the things she's clearly borrowed or inherited from her papa, it's possible that Judith learned a thing or two from Rick once she became old enough to understand what she was doing. That would require some complicated time play foolery on the part of the show, but that's not uncharted terrain and not entirely impossible. Who taught her to shoot that pistol like that?
She's played by an accomplished child actor. Cailey Fleming is not some kid producers plucked from obscurity. She made her movie debut in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Young Rey. So she's worked on one of the biggest movies and one of the biggest TV shows, and she's only 11 years old. Not surprisingly, she's a total pro. "Her first two days on set, the actors, Danai [Gurira], Jeffrey [Dean Morgan], they're all like, 'Oh my God, she's out-acting all of us,'" showrunner Angela Kang told Insider. "They really love the work that she's doing and love working with her. She's just absolutely fantastic for us."
She's coming back, and soon. Judith is due to appear in the next Walking Dead episode, "Who Are You Now?"
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.