Warning: There are massive spoilers ahead for season nine, episode six of “The Walking Dead,” “Who are you Now?”
One week after Rick Grimes’ final episode of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” the fandom has another reason to rejoice.
While a new group was introduced on Sunday’s episode of the zombie drama, “TWD” also surprised fans with a rather subtle introduction to Rick and Michonne’s son in the time jump.
And he doesn’t have just any name. If you missed it, INSIDER can confirm that Michonne’s son is named after his father, Rick Grimes.
“Yes, it’s R.J. for Rick Jr. That’s his name,” showrunner Angela Kang confirmed to INSIDER.
The show planted the seeds for Rick Jr. back on the third episode of season nine. Michonne said she was working on a charter for the future of the community. Rick interrupted her work and said he could think of some other ways to build for the future, by insinuating they have a child.
For a while, fans of Richonne, the couple name given to Rick and Michonne, have been asking whether or not we may see Rick and Michonne have a child of their own.
“In terms of the baby, it’s funny. I don’t always read the online reactions,” Kang said in reference to many fans who have been asking for a Richonne baby. “I’m not unaware of it, but we’re so busy actually making the show in the present. I’m on set right now tucked away in a weird little room that I just don’t actually have the time to read all the reactions.”
So how did the idea for Rick Jr. come about? Kang isn’t just adding in a Rick and Michonne baby simply because it’s what the fandom wants.
“But it was really, internally for us, we were talking so much about, ‘What is it that happens after a war?’ And how do people rebuild and what are the things they do? And one of the things that’s true to a post-war society is there tends to be a baby boom,” said Kang. “This has happened throughout history across cultures.”
The end of World War I and World War II saw massive spikes in birth rates in the United States and overseas. According to the US Census Bureau, between 1946 to 1964 there were 76 million births in the US. (That’s compared to 55 million births for Generation X and 62 million births for the Millennial generation.)
“It’s like a symbol of people’s hopefulness that maybe things are going to be better now. And, I think we wanted to show that Rick and Michonne were in a very hopeful place as they’re planning this sort of rebuilding of society, that they believe that they can create a world that is better for their children than it is for them right now,” Kang said of why they chose to introduce another child to the show.
Kang also pointed out that there was just something completely different in Rick’s relationship with Michonne that he didn’t have with Lori that made the idea of a child for the two of them make sense.
“So that [the baby] just seemed like the ultimate symbol of their connection to each other, their commitment to each other, and it shows the travel that Rick has had since the time that Lori and Rick found out that Lori was pregnant,” said Kang. “Lori was distraught, thinking this child [Judith] is not going to make it. [She thought] the child is going to die a horrible death and we may die a horrible death.”
“To see, over the years, what they have [Michonne and Rick] achieved, what they have survived, and feel like they can have a child, and continue to keep the human species going just seems like something that was very right for where they were at, at this point in the story,” Kang added.
Well, Judith is alive and thriving and she’s now the oldest Grimes to look after, and protect, her younger brother, Rick Jr., the way Carl did for her growing up. We hope to see more of R.J. during the rest of the season, including the moment Michonne learns she’s pregnant. Kang teased the show will fill in some of the gaps, so our fingers are crossed.
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