A few days ago some photos from the set of The Walking Dead season three popped up and delivered a sizeable casting surprise.
WARNING! Spoilers follow. Stop reading now if you don’t want to know…
They showed Michal Rooker back as Merle. So this new picture, which also shows Rooker as Merle, shouldn’t come as shock to those of you who are hungry for news.
The interesting bit in this picture concerns Merle’s hand. Last we saw of Merle, Rick had handcuffed him to an Atlanta rooftop for being a violent, racist asshole. When the group went back to release him, they found that Merle had hacksawed off his own hand. That’s desperation and resolve right there.
There’s been much speculation about Merle’s ultimate fate, some even guessed he would return as the Governor. He’s not (the Governor is played by David Morrissey), though from the pictures from the set of Woodbury, the Governor’s survivalist enclave, the two are definitely in cahoots.
From this photo it is clear that when life hands Merle lemons he makes lemonade. He’s outfitted his stump for maximum zombie killing efficiency. There is some sort of blade, hook, spike, or other undead cleaving tool attached where his hand used to be. Being familiar with Merle, his orneriness and general unpleasant temperament, you just know that he’s but that thing to bloody good use.
It’ll be curious to see what effect Merle’s return will have on the group of survivors. Merle’s brother Daryl (Norman Reedus) is sure to face some conflicting feelings, and you can only imagine how Merle feels about Rick leaving him for dead. There’s going to be some ill will and hurt feelings.