Will Rick Lose His Hand on AMC's 'The Walking Dead'?

Showrunner Scott M. Gimple offers a definitive answer to the storyline that originates in Robert Kirkman's comic series.
Courtesy of AMC

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from AMC's The Walking Dead and the comic book series it is based upon.]

Could AMC's The Walking Dead be taking on a major storyline from Robert Kirkman's comics with Rick's hand?

While Sunday's "Thank You" episode delivered its most contested "deaths" with Steven Yeun's Glenn, the zombie drama based on the comic book series of the same name also saw Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes struggling with a nasty gash on his hand.

Spoiler alert for those who haven't read the long-running comics: The Governor cuts off one of Rick's hands during a confrontation in Woodbury where the latter refuses to share that his group of survivors have found safety at the prison.

The AMC series, which often takes a "remix" approach to its source material, skipped right over that plot point during its Governor storyline. So when Rick repeatedly looked concerned about his badly injured hand, many comic book diehards seemed to celebrate the AMC drama bringing back a storyline many thought had passed.

Kirkman has repeatedly said that he had regrets about taking Rick's hand in the comics and the subsequent challenges his one-handed hero presented, while Lincoln has also been adamant about avoiding the storyline as well.

So is the AMC series finally ready to tackle that storyline?

"I'll give you an absolute because I've been dealing with a lot of ambiguity in storytelling here in protecting the story: Rick's hand is safe," showrunner Scott M. Gimple tells The Hollywood Reporter. "You can proclaim it from the mountaintops: His hand is safe! He will be wrapping it. There will be some ointments involved."

While Rick's hands appear to be safe for the time being, the same can't be said for the rest of him as the expression on the former sheriff's face seemed to express a fear that viewers hadn't seen before as his RV — stalled thanks to the shootout with the Wolves — was left surrounded by walkers.

"He is scared — and he should be. I don't know if he's scared for himself," Gimple said. "The direction those walkers are going in, that's pretty scary because they are heading directly toward Alexandria. That's the scary thing."

What's more is that Alexandria is already vulnerable after the Wolves' savage attack killed multiple members of the community that's already ill-prepared, given that Rick and so many of his people are out on the road trying to lead the massive herd of walkers away from the gated residence.

"It's a very big season. … We're dropping everyone in the deep end of the pool," Gimple said of the heart-racing start of season six that won't feature a ton of time passing before the midseason finale. "Things can get worse — in different ways. There will be some very unique turns to this story coming up."
With the survivors' leader left in an impossible situation, Gimple confessed that this is a universe in which even a character like Rick Grimes can be killed off. 

"Absolutely. It's a scary thing but this is a scary show," he said.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.

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