Before The Walking Dead Season 9 started fans were saying that Ross Marquand was beginning to look like post-time jump Rick from the comics (especially on Instagram). For the most part it was because of their similar builds and beards, but then this week’s episode happened. A bridge-building mission gone awry resulted in a giant log rolling on Aaron’s arm, forcing Enid to amputate. Now with a long beard and one arm Aaron looks nearly identical to Rick in the comics.
Andrew Lincoln’s impending departure left some fans speculating that the producers were transforming Aaron into comic Rick to fill the gap. We spoke with The Walking Dead’s new showrunner Angela Kang to see if this was on purpose or just a happy accident. “(It’s) kind of this funny coincidence,” Kang told us. “We actually came up with the idea of (Aaron) losing his arm before he was at full bearded capacity. I kind of knew what he looked like with a beard but I didn’t really think about it too hard because Andy was still growing his beard, and then I was like ‘huh, that’s interesting.’ It wasn’t like fully intentional, but it’s kind of like a fun parallel.”
Even though they’re not preparing to have Aaron step in Rick’s shoes, the producers are still utilizing the comics to tell a new story in the show. “…the arm chop was a little bit of a nod of the thing that we never did with Rick, (and) it’s going to play out differently with Aaron.” Kang said, referring to Rick getting his hand chopped off by the Governor back in Issue 28.
“You know we were just really interested in telling the story of…if somebody starts the apocalypse and they are fully physically able and then something drastically changes with them physically…how do they cope with that?” Kang said. “(Aaron) is such a strong character and I just think it allows us to tell a different sort of story that finds more ways to represent the various people who watch the show. So that’s been really cool.” It looks like the fans were kind of right, it WAS a nod to the comics. But don’t expect an Aarontatorship anytime soon.
The Walking Dead airs on AMC Sundays at 9PM and Mondays internationally.