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The Walking Dead Star Cailey Fleming's Budding Career Is Already Full Of Genre Powerhouses

With "The Walking Dead" having finally come to close, spare a thought for Judith Grimes. The daughter of Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Lori Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies) is proof positive that growing up in the zombie apocalypse means being dealt a rough hand.

Played by several actors in her younger years, the iteration whom viewers had a full chance to get to know and root for was the one played by Cailey Fleming. This child version of Judith has no recollection of her birth mom, and only a short time with her dad, though she carries his gun to keep him in her mind, and his old hat to remember her older brother Carl (Chandler Riggs). Such early loss didn't stop her from being loved by the other members of her group, or from growing into the "little a– kicker" that Daryl (Norman Reedus) knew she'd become. Little wonder Fleming's Judith became as beloved as most of the other characters in the ensemble of survivors.

While "The Walking Dead" has reached its emotional finale, the future of the franchise — and more appearances by Judith — isn't necessarily closed. Fleming, for her part, has already shown interest in the character's future (via Insider). However, despite her young age, Fleming has already branched far beyond the world of zombies and into some of the biggest franchises in pop culture history, so there's every reason to believe she has a long and exciting career ahead.

Cailey Fleming played Young Rey in Star Wars

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was a long-awaited film, the continuation of the primary "Star Wars" saga that saw the return of beloved heroes from the original trilogy alongside new protagonists and stars. Among that last group is Daisy Ridley's Rey, who rises from a scavenger to become the last remaining Jedi in the galaxy, and takes it upon herself to rebuild the Jedi Order.

The parallels between Rey and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) are fairly obvious. Like Luke, she's scrappy and resourceful. Like Luke, she was raised on a desert planet, and is (for all intents and purposes) an orphan. During one pivotal flashback scene, we see young Rey literally sold off to the Crolute junk boss Unkar Plutt (Simon Pegg), and it is an eight-year-old Cailey Fleming playing her.

Fleming was so young at the time that she hadn't even had the chance to watch any of the movies in the franchise yet, and had to ask director J.J. Abrams about it. "'J.J.,' I said, 'What is this film even called?'" she recounted to Nerdist. "He said, 'Have you ever heard of Star Wars? It's called Star Wars.' Which I'd heard of it. But I didn't watch it or anything." 

We're guessing that she has probably caught up on the franchise since then.

Fleming played a terrified dollhouse owner in Creepshow

Even before "The Force Awakens," the young Cailey Fleming was getting used to the world of genre world-building. She had a small, uncredited role in the second season of AMC's "Preacher" in 2017. You could also say that she really cemented her relationship with the comics-to-screen pipeline in 2018's action comedy "Supercon" (again in a bit, uncredited part), which took place at a massive comic convention. In 2019, with both "Star Wars" and a few episodes of "The Walking Dead" under her belt, Fleming appeared in Shudder's serial continuation of the 1982 horror anthology classic "Creepshow," itself an homage to the old EC Comics pulps. 

The sequence she appeared in was titled "House of the Head." In it, Fleming plays Evie, a little girl gifted a dollhouse that includes a full doll family, and, inexplicably, a severed doll head that is able to move through the house when Evie isn't looking. One by one, the severed head kills off her doll family, before almost moving onto Evie's real family. It's one of the more inventive stories to be included in the first season of "Creepshow," with the lion's share of the script focused on Evie's attempt to communicate with a gruesome, inanimate doll's head.

She was Kid Sylvie in Loki

Some more bragging rights: Cailey Fleming has not just played important roles in "The Walking Dead" and the "Star Wars" universe, but also joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Phase Four. Those familiar with the Disney+ series "Loki" will recognize her as the younger iteration of Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino), the female, alternate dimension variant of Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the god of mischief himself, who is initially posited as the show's villain before she and the titular figure join forces.

To say Kid Sylvie has had a rough time of it would be an understatement. As we learn in the flashback during Episode 4 (that features Fleming), the Time Variance Authority basically destroyed her entire timeline. Though she ends up escaping the TVA's attempt to arrest her by stealing Ravenna Renslayer's (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) TemPad, she is left temporally and cosmically unmoored.

Though all Marvel actors have experience with the studio's intense secrecy, Fleming later noted that she was kept in the dark about even her character's name and place in the series. She told Insider that "Whenever I was filming, I only got my scenes ... I didn't get the script for the episode or anything. I had no idea what was going on."

She's starring in John Krasinski's upcoming fantasy comedy

The cast of John Krasinski's upcoming comedy-fantasy "IF" is an impressive one. There's Krasinski himself of course, along with Ryan Reynolds, Steve Carell, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Louis Gossett, Jr., Fiona Shaw, and, naturally, Cailey Fleming. Krasinski is directing, and producing alongside Reynolds, Andrew Form, and Allyson Seeger. Krasinski also provides the script.

According to Deadline, "The story is based on Krasinski's original idea about a child's journey to rediscover their imagination." We can't be entirely sure, of course, but given that Fleming is one of only a couple kids confirmed to be part of the cast, we're willing to guess she is at least one of the children struggling to get her imagination back. If Krasinski's own Twitter is to be believed, then filming for "IF" started in late August of 2022. The most recent news has the film's release date scheduled for May 24, 2024 (via Deadline).