Rick Grimes Finally Gets The Comic Moment The Walking Dead Was Scared To Adapt 11 Years Ago

By Craig Elvy Published 8 hours ago

The Walking Dead avoided giving Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes a key moment from the original comic books, but The Ones Who Live finally goes there.

Rick Grimes Finally Gets The Comic Moment The Walking Dead Was Scared To Adapt 11 Years Ago

Warning: spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live episode 1.



  • The Ones Who Live adapts the brutal comic book moment Rick Grimes loses his hand.
  • Rick removes his own hand to escape from The CRM, and chooses to cut off his left hand instead of his dominant right hand.
  • In the comics, the Governor cut off Rick's hand.

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live pulls no punches, using its opening moments to adapt a brutal comic book moment that the main show deliberately avoided. Across his nine seasons on zombie apocalypse duty, Andrew Lincoln was able to bring many of Rick Grimes' defining comic book moments to life in live-action, albeit with one major omission. When Rick's group first encountered the Governor in Robert Kirkman's comic story, the villain chopped off Rick's hand — just to make a point. From the prison arc to the downfall of the Commonwealth, therefore, comic-Rick was fighting single-handed.

AMC's The Walking Dead TV show never followed through on Rick losing a hand. Despite numerous teases, several close calls, and constant foreshadowing, Rick still had both hands by the time Andrew Lincoln left The Walking Dead in season 9. Negan had an opportunity to do it, Rick injured his hand badly while fighting Jadis' spiky gladiator zombie, and Andrew Lincoln occasionally wore bandages on his right hand as nods to his comic counterpart. The Walking Dead never took those hints further, but The Ones Who Live has other ideas.

Rick Finally Loses His Hand In The Ones Who Live Episode 1

Rick Grimes Finally Gets The Comic Moment The Walking Dead Was Scared To Adapt 11 Years Ago

The Ones Who Live begins with Rick Grimes serving as a "consignee" for The Walking Dead's Civic Republic, earning his place in the community by completing a six-year period of menial work, clearing zombies and such. Rick would rather return to Alexandria, but CRM policy prevents his departure, meaning Rick's wrist is tethered to a CRM soldier whenever he gets sent to clear zombies. One failed escape attempt sees Rick use his trusty axe to lop off his tethered hand and make a run for freedom. He stops to cauterize the wound, and CRM guards catch up soon enough.

Aside from the scene's placement in The Walking Dead's timeline, The Ones Who Live makes several other key changes to Kirkman's source material. Rick removes his own hand, rather than having it cut off by a villain, which speaks to how much Andrew Lincoln's character has hardened since the zombie outbreak began. Perhaps because Rick gets to remove his own hand, he naturally chooses his left, less dominant, hand, whereas the Governor deliberately separated Rick from his trigger-pulling right hand.

Theories that Rick would finally lose a hand arose after The Ones Who Live's trailer was released. The footage avoided showing Rick's left hand, aside from one scene where Rick is tethered to the CRM soldier.

Because Rick lost his hand far earlier in the comic books, many chapters passed before he had the resources to replace it with a proper prosthetic attachment. Thanks to the CRM, however, Rick gets a false hand almost immediately in The Ones Who Live.

Why Rick Didn't Lose His Hand In The Walking Dead

Rick Grimes Finally Gets The Comic Moment The Walking Dead Was Scared To Adapt 11 Years Ago

It simply wasn't practical for The Walking Dead to adapt the moment Rick Grimes lost his right hand in the comics for TV. Doing so — especially as early as the Governor's debut in season 3 — would have created problems for writers, who would constantly have to account for the change, and the props department, which would need to consistently find ways of covering up Andrew Lincoln's still-very-much-attached real hand.

Speaking at SDCC in 2011 (via DigitalSpy), Robert Kirkman admitted that Rick losing his hand in the comics caused headaches as the series progressed, and expressed his belief that the TV adaptation should avoid the same mistake. Certainly, whatever problems Kirkman encountered while writing his The Walking Dead comic would have been amplified in a live-action environment with cameras and real actors. Since The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live only runs for six episodes and reportedly has a bumper budget for a Walking Dead show, the narrative gains of Rick cutting off his own hand perhaps outweighed the drawbacks.

Sources: DigitalSpy

Episode #

Episode Title

Release Date



February 25



March 3



March 10



March 17



March 24



March 31

Release Date February 25, 2024 Cast Andrew Lincoln , Danai Gurira , Pollyanna McIntosh , Lesley-Ann Brandt , Terry O'Quinn Seasons 1 Network AMC Showrunner Scott M. Gimple

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