When you look back on the past seven seasons of The Walking Dead and try to remember the saddest, most gut-wrenching moments, what scenes spring to mind? Lori's death? Tabitha's tragic and untimely demise? Maybe that horrible CGI deer? If there were a list of, say, the "Top 14 Most Tragic Scenes From The Walking Dead," many of those points are likely to involve the children. Sophia, Noah's brothers, Mika and Lizzie — those scenes left us unable to look at flowers or barns the same way ever again.
But what about the billions of other children that are missing from those massive walker herds? Where did they all vanish to? There could be several reasons for their absence, but this theory in particular is pretty depressing.
Children Would Be Fun-Size Snacks To Adult Walkers
When we've seen adult walkers go to chow town on a fresh kill, the walkers often completely devour the whole damn carcass. Like this guy, shown right after he ate Lori Grimes:
As morbid as this sounds, imagine a group of walkers cornering a child and turning them into a meal. One walker could easily eat every bit of the youngster before they had a chance to turn into a pint-sized walker. This would leave no muscles or tendons for the kid to stagger upright-ish and walk around on, explaining the absence of child walkers in a zombie horde.
Of course, not all walkers completely devour their meals. And in #AMC's version of the apocalypse, many children will die for reasons other than walker bites, which may explain why there's still the occasional child walker in the series. Such as the one that pushed little Sam Anderson over the edge in Season 6:
That gross little theory is one possible reason why young walkers don't show up on the show. But what's the most plausible real-life reason there aren't any herds of walker kiddies?
Child Walkers Are Just Too Much Trouble
A kid as a walker is disturbing enough for viewers, let alone an entire computer-generated herd of undead whippersnappers. But imagine the logistics of having thousands of pint-sized extras on set, covered in walker goo and makeup, should the CGI herd prove too problematic?
Then there are child labor entertainment laws, specifically for the state of Georgia where the series is filmed, that would have to be adhered to. This would require pages of paperwork to be filled out for each individual child actor. According to the Georgia Department of Labor:
Minors under the age of 16 may work no more than
4 hours on a school day
8 hours on a nonschool day
40 hours during a nonschool week
Minors under the age of 16 may
Not work before 6 a.m.
Not work after 9 p.m.
Then there is the army of parents or guardians and on-set tutors, and don't even get me started on engineering the strategy of protecting all those kids from the potential psychological minefield of playing make-believe in the zombie apocalypse. It would be a nightmare to plan, a nightmare to pull off, and nightmare fuel for some of those kiddos.
#TheWalkingDead is depressing enough and pushes the envelope plenty when it comes to the ick factor. Adding a herd of undead kids to that? Everyone involved is probably happy that has yet to happen, and perhaps never will.
The Walking Dead Season 8 returns to AMC in October. What's your theory about what happened to all the kids on the series? Sound off in the comments below.