The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman reveals a cut Rick Grimes moment from the comic books that the creator says was "too far to go." In issue #17 of Volume 3: Safety Behind Bars, Rick is guilt-ridden over the gruesome murders of Hershel Greene's young twin daughters, Rachel and Susie, who are discovered to be the decapitated victims of a violent inmate of the prison where Rick's group of zombie apocalypse survivors have taken residency. Also weighing on a sleep-deprived Rick: the recent double deaths of Tyreese's daughter Julie and her boyfriend Chris, a teen couple who die tragically and violently shortly after arriving at the prison.
When the meek inmate Thomas Richards attempts to butcher Andrea with a knife, revealing Thomas to be the killer who murdered the twins instead of the accused convict Dexter, Rick brutalizes Thomas with his bare fists. Rick's pregnant wife, Lori Grimes, tries to stop Rick before he kills Thomas, but it's former football pro Tyreese who physically restrains Rick from beating Thomas to death.
With his mangled hands soaked in blood, Rick explodes at Lori when she pushes back against his plan to kill Thomas for his crimes. Lori wants to "break the cycle" and protests putting Thomas to death, arguing it makes them no better than him, but group leader Rick decides: "You kill? You die. It's as simple as that."
Dale and would-be victim Andrea agree, and Rick ends the argument when he tells Lori to "shut the f—k up." The issue concludes with Rick deciding to make an example of Thomas, telling the group: "We're going to hang him."
In bonus material ending June's The Walking Dead Deluxe #17, a colorized reprint of the 2005 issue, Kirkman's handwritten notes reveal the original plans for issue #17: Rick would strike Lori when she interferes with the beating. In his 2005 notes, Kirkman writes, "Rick delivers beating. Lori leaves then comes to stop him. Rick hits her. Looks back @ Lori. Goes back to beating Thomas. Tyreese stops him."
"Man… Rick was originally going to hit Lori when she tried to stop the beating," Kirkman reveals in "The Cutting Room Floor" bonus feature of Deluxe #17. "This plays into what I'm going to talk about next issue, but I'm CLEARLY trying to push these two to a breaking point and it's just not sticking. Clearly I realized having Rick hit Lori was just too far to go, it just didn't work. I settled for the grating 'shut the f—k up' moment later in the issue, which is… pretty damn harsh on its own."
Rick and Lori make peace in the first pages of The Walking Dead #18, where the couple agrees they have to kill Thomas. Before the killer can be executed by hanging, Maggie avenges her little sisters when she guns down Thomas during his attack on another survivor, and his corpse is fed to walkers outside the prison gates at Hershel's request.
The Walking Dead Deluxe #17 is now on sale. Issue #18 of the Deluxe reprint series in color releases Wednesday, July 7, from Image Comics. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD.0comments