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Despite a number of hints at re-emergence,The Walking Dead‘s leather-clad tough guy Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) will not return in time for Sunday’s season finale on AMC.?Rooker tells The Hollywood Reporter, “I won’t be back. I’m still going to be M.I.A.”?His unhinged character was last spotted as certain zombie road kill as he was handcuffed to a pipe as angry undead approached. He managed to cut off his own hand with a dull saw and escape. Rooker discusses his getaway and where The Walking Dead will take his character in Season Two.
THR: Between 127 Hours and The Walking Dead, self-amputation is in the air.?
Rooker: It is a theme that has occurred often in our cinema history. I’m just a new member of the self-amputation club.?
THR: Who had it harder, your character or James Franco’s character in 127 Hours??
Rooker: He didn’t have zombies trying to eat him up. And there were no paramedics waiting down the hill for my character. Merle’s on his own with his stump and zombies. And I sawed off my hand with a dull blade. Now that’s impressive.?
THR: Like 127 Hours did you want to show the cutting scene?
?Rooker: The way they did it was great. Any more would have spoiled it. My idea was to leave my hand with the middle finger up in a pool of blood in rigor mortis defiance. They passed on that.?
THR: What are the zombies like on-set??
Rooker: They are cool. They have their own zombie-world. They eat lunch at their own zombie table. They sat with each other.?
THR: Will Merle be back Sunday for the finale?
?Rooker: I won’t be back. I’m still going to be MIA. But it’s really set up well for me to bounce back. And I’m looking forward to it.
THR: What’s he going to do with the stump??
Rooker: Merle wouldn’t just walk around with a stump at the end of his arm. I’ve been coming up with scenarios. Maybe it could be a spring-loaded spike, you push a button and it shoots into the zombie’s brain. Or a mace. A ball-and-chain with spikes from the stump. Or a bazooka.
THR: Will we ever see Merle kick zombie butt??
Rooker: If people think my onscreen brother is good at killing zombies, wait till they see Mr. Merle come back. Brother Merle is a Zombie-Mo-Fo-Killing-Machine.
THR: Will Merle be a changed man after his near-death experience??
Rooker: I don’t think he’ll be a nice person. But Merle’s brain got fried and he’ was praying to God at the end. So there’s a relationship there with God. And God moves in mysterious ways. It would be fun to explore if he’s moving through Merle in some weird way.?
THR: Preacher Merle perhaps?
Rooker: Perhaps. One of those preachers who preach eye for an eye and hand for a hand. Definitely hand for a hand.
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