It may seem as though the two most credible theories about that strange bearded Rick scene in The Walking Dead are only that it's either the real future or it's a dream future. But think again. Because a new fan theory about Old Man Rick on The Walking Dead indicates that Judith might be dead or gone in that future. If you buy into this theory, it means that the serene circumstances in the Season 8 premiere are surrounded by immense tragedy — and it's all based on a stuffed bunny.
While bunny stuffed animals have meant a lot to people over the years (think The Velveteen Rabbit), who knew they would still have relevance in the zombie apocalypse? But if this Walking Dead theory is to be believed, the presence of a stuffed bunny is a game changer when it comes to Rick's life. Because before Morales surprised viewers during "The Damned," Rick killed a Savior presuming that he was guarding a weapon supply. But the Savior put up such a good fight against Rick (not something everyone can do) because he was protecting his baby. Rick, who has his own young daughter at home in Alexandria, was horrified when he discovered Baby Gracie, but fans don't know what his next step would have been since Morales came into the picture.
Most viewers were probably paying attention to Rick's guilt-ridden reaction during this scene, but some fans picked up on a detail in Gracie's crib. There's a stuffed bunny in her crib, and it looks like the same bunny that Judith carries during the Old Man Rick scenes in the Season 8 premiere. Because fans don't think this is a coincidence, Make a Path Presents posted a video that the bunny may indicate that it was Gracie in the Old Man Rick scenes — not Judith. As for where Judith could be, well, the most pessimistic interpretation is that it's her grave that Rick was shown mourning over also in the episode "Mercy."
Most fans probably assumed the young girl was Judith during the Old Man Rick scenes in "Mercy," — because who else would she be? But "The Damned" changed that with a strategically placed stuffed animal. In the flash-forward Old Man Rick scenes, the girl does call Rick, "Daddy," but Rick, Michonne, and Carl never say Judith's name. So the theory is that Rick will bring back Gracie to Alexandria and raise her as part of his family. And the morbid kicker is that Judith died during the war with the Saviors.
In his explanation video, Ronny Haze of Make a Path Presents notes that this could be a case of a prop used twice, which the show has done before both intentionally and unintentionally. Yet, with the Old Man Rick scenes still a mystery, it would seem like everything that appears in these time jumps should be very strategically placed. That's why Haze analyzes the usage of Weird Al Yankovic's "Another One Rides The Bus" and considers that the song may be a sign that Negan will take away Judith from Rick. While the logic behind the bus theory is a bit of a stretch, the point that every moment in the Old Man Rick scene is up for investigation is completely legitimate.
Now, just because the bunny in Gracie's crib and the Old Rick bunny look (as Haze said) " like the same damn bunny," doesn't mean that Judith has to die. Perhaps Rick does take Gracie and raise her as his own, but Judith stays alive and views Gracie as a sister. (Fans on Twitter have acknowledged that there's a precedent for this since Judith is more than likely Shane's biological child.) If that's the case, the girl who appeared in "Mercy" could be Judith, especially if you believe that IMDb was correct when it credited the young actor, Kinsley Isla Dillon, as 6-year-old Judith.
Another scenario is that Gracie eventually dies and Rick stumbles across the rabbit again and takes it to Judith. In this version of events, he could be crying over Gracie's grave since he feels responsible for her death and prays for mercy. Or, the future scenes are all just a dream and because he killed Gracie's dad, visions of that bunny haunt Rick even in his imagined happy times. And, of course, never underestimate that The Walking Dead is messing with viewers entirely and the bunny has nothing to do with anything.
Viewers were already puzzled by the Old Man Rick scenes, but this bunny rabbit adds a new layer to contemplate. And while it would be completely cruel to have something as innocent as a stuffed bunny be a sign that Judith is going to die, don't put it past The Walking Dead to be doing exactly that.