In the off-season, many fans are eager to hear any news they can get their hands on about their favorite TV shows, even if it’s a bit of a spoiler. If you’d prefer to be kept spoiler-free — both for the comic and TV versions of ‘The Walking Dead’ — then read no more!

It’s been said before, but it bears repeating, that ‘The Walking Dead’ television show’s departures from the comic book source material are part of what keeps die-hard fans guessing and continuing to be shocked, even when they thought they knew how something was going to play out.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to skirt around this issue, so we’ll assume the readers of this article have read the comics and know that Rick Grimes, the group’s fearless leader, gets his hand cut off in the comics at a point which we presume will be showed early on in the next season. (Although, we suppose they could “Sophia it” and stall until the end of the season… but that would suck.) However, perhaps not everyone knows that Robert Kirkman, creator of the comic series, has often been quoted as kicking himself for having made that particular artistic choice, as it would go on to limit various cool story branches he’d been hoping to send his hero down.

Knowing this, many fans assumed that the character Merle, who doesn’t appear in the comics, became the stand-in for the difficulties that come with being a badass amputee in the zombie apocalypse. There was also a wink during Glenn’s torture that he, too, might lose a hand if he didn’t give away the group’s safe location, but Maggie’s compliance avoided that situation.

So, with these pictures going viral (thanks to The Walking Dead Enthusiasts) where Rick’s hand is clearly bandaged up, it leaves fans wondering — is the television version going to go through with it, after all?

Personally, I say no. With Robert Kirkman looming over the show writers like the Ghost of Christmas Future, warning of the painted-into-a-corner drawbacks of lopping off a vital extremity, I can’t imagine why they would stick more rigorously to the source material here than they have for so many other areas. I keep imagining that Kirkman must have super-cool story beats that his live-action Rick could now perform if he keeps both hands — ones he had to leave on the cutting-room floor that he could now reanimate and comic fans would know nothing about it.

Then again, the comic story has already been written, however long it took Robert Kirkman to come up with contingencies for Rick, so we all know it’s possible for him to survive with his handicap. After all, Jaime Lannister seems like he’s out to prove a warrior’s life doesn’t end with the loss of a dominant hand., so why should it affect Rick’s performance any more?

What do you think? Is this just a wounded hand tightly bandaged, or are they sticking to the comic script? Leave your hunches in the comments below, and until the next season starts up, stay vigilant against the zombie horde.