While the show has avoided it for practical reasons, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman would still like to see Rick lose his hand on the TV series. The Walking Dead series has recreated several shocking moments from its graphic novel counterpart, including – most infamously – Glenn’s gory demise at the hands of Negan in season 7. But there’s one iconic moment the show has shied away from - Rick getting his hand lopped off.
In The Walking Dead comic this occurred in Issue #28, in which Rick is being interrogated by The Governor, who cuts off his hand when he refuses to answer questions. Dealing the lead character of a long-running comic a permanent disability was considered a bold move, but Kirkman has since expressed regret over the decision since he often has to write around the injury to make a story work. That’s one of the reasons why Rick got to keep his hand on the show - so far.
It seems Kirkman would still like to recreate the famous scene though, as evidenced by his response to a fan question during the Walker Stalker Cruise 2018 Q&A (via Comic Book). When asked if there was any story he’d like to change on the show, he first joked about killing Carl twice, before admitting, “I wanna cut off Rick’s hand.”
Andrew Lincoln has previously campaigned the showrunners to go all in on Rick losing the hand, but they’ve resisted for a couple reasons. One is the difficulty of writing an action show where the main character can only use one hand, which would make issues like reloading in the heat of battle tricky. The other is the cost of CGI hand removal, which would add up after a few episodes.
The Walking Dead played a variation on a character losing their hand in the first season, however, where Merle Dixon is forced to chop his off to escape from cuffs - an injury he blamed on Rick. The character eventually reappeared in the third season wearing a metal covering over his missing hand with a knife attached. That was one solution to saving costs on CG hand removal, and Kirkman has also admitted that if they were really committed to the storyline, they’d find a way to work around Rick’s injury.
Maybe the show will commit to this storyline in the future, or have another character suffer a similar fate. Since both Kirkman and Lincoln are in favor of it, it feels like a matter of time. That said, The Walking Dead has proven willing to ignore major events from the comic, so perhaps Rick will suffer an even worse injury.
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