UK fans are yet to see the episode, but viewers in America have expressed confusion online after Rick Jnr was seen in the arms of Michonne (Danai Gurira) – thanks to a time jump.
Speaking after Andrew Lincoln's last outing as Rick Grimes, showrunner Angela Kang confirmed R.J. is Rick's son.
She told Entertainment Weekly: "Yes, that is. That is Rick junior, R.J., who's scampering around."
She continued: "We thought that was a fun thing, because we had this big reveal of Judith, so we felt like, 'Let's give Judith her moment in the sun'.
"But we started setting up really at the beginning of the season that this was something that Michonne and Rick [were interested in]."
"They believed that they could build a world where children could thrive."
But viewers were not pleased and one asked on Twitter: "Confused by the timeline. This is 7 years later, right? But Michonne's child is, what, 4 or 5 years old? Hmmm…..how can it be Rick's child? Or am I wrong with the timeline? Help me out here."
Another said: "Honestly mad, we are supposed to be 6 years in the future. Rick and Michonne’s child should be minimum 5 years old and the baby shown was roughly 1.5-2 years old. Everything needs to be accurate if y’all are going to do a time jump like this."
Meanwhile, Angela insisted Michonne needed another character to focus on after Rick's exit, following the shock cliffhanger which saw him impaled on a metal bar.
She said: "The kind of tragedy of it is that Rick was not around to see this happen. But for Michonne, it's just another person that she is fighting for, and that she wants to keep safe.
"But it's part of what plays into some of the philosophy and decisions behind how Alexandria is run, which is a big part of the story going forward for the season."
Season 9 of the post-apocalyptic long-running hit returned to screens on October 8, 2018. Each episode is shown in the US first before arriving on UK screens the day after.
Fox will air the series, but the episodes will also be available on NOW TV through the service's Entertainment Pass.
Rick Grimes is also set to returns to The Walking Dead after actor Andrew Lincoln was confirmed for three TV movies.
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