Andrew Lincoln "bullied" AMC into huge The Ones Who Live moment

When Andrew Lincoln tells you to do something, you do it, including leaning on The Walking Dead team to let Rick Grimes lose a hand.
AMC Networks' "The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live" Advance Screening And Conversation
AMC Networks' "The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live" Advance Screening And Conversation / Arturo Holmes/GettyImages

The series premiere of The Walking Dead spinoff series, The Ones Who Live, was a massive success. The return of beloved survivors Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) has rejuvenated the series, presenting an epic love story in the midst of the biggest threat TWD Universe has ever seen: the Civic Republic.

In the beginning of the series, which is set five years after Rick was carried away in season 9 of the original show, Rick Grimes is an unwilling soldier in the Civic Republic Military. On several occasions, he attempts to make an escape and return home to Michonne and his family. However, the Civic Republic has a strict rule to protect secrecy: Those who enter must never leave. This leads Rick into making a huge decision: at one point, he chops off his own hand in order to escape, although it ultimately proves hopeless.

This moment shook the entire fandom. But for readers of The Walking Dead comics by Robert Kirkman, it felt like a long time coming. Rick's hand is sliced off much earlier on the page; the Governor cuts it off way back during the prison story arc. The TV writers have been reluctant to make it happen...until Andrew Lincoln forced their hand.

“I just bullied everybody into submission,” Lincoln told Entertainment Weekly. “And there were quite a lot of conversations, particularly with AMC, with people going, ‘Now Andy, we love the idea, but are you really sure about this?’ But I just thought: This is the time to do what the comic book did and honor that. I've been trying to pitch this for years, and everybody was just shouting me down.”

The moment underlines just how determined Rick was to return home. The feeling of being trapped in the Civic Republic breaks him. "We had to explain why Rick had never returned,” Lincoln explained. “This is a guy that would do anything to return, so what is the most extraordinary act or effort that he would put himself through in order to try and get back to his beloved?”

Of course, now that Rick's hand is gone, that's going to change how he fights. No longer can he simply reload his revolver, for instance. According to showrunner Scott Gimple, the loss of Rick's hand will mean “a commitment to figuring it out, whatever problems might come of it.” Thankfully, the franchise has a history of dealing with handless characters, like Merle, Alicia, and Aaron. I'm sure they'll get along just fine.

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live continues Sundays on AMC.

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