'The Walking Dead': Michael Rooker's Merle is back... and bionic?

the-walking-dead-michael-rooker-arm-amc.jpgOkay, so maybe Merle Dixon -- the character played by Michael Rooker on AMC's "The Walking Dead" -- isn't exactly bionic, but in a new Season 3 production still released by AMC he is sporting a tough looking device on the stump formerly known as Merle's right hand.

Which tells us two things: 1. His appearance is likely NOT just another Daryl Dixon fever dream hallucination and 2. He's managed to overcome sawing off his own hand in order to slip out of the handcuffs Rick Grimes left him shackled in on an Atlanta rooftop. Is he hanging with The Governor?

Hard to say. There's no template since neither of the Dixon brothers existed in Robert Kirkman's comic book source material and AMC ain't telling. But it's certainly a possibility since showrunner Glen Mazzara and the whole cast and crew are busy filming Governor-centric episodes now with new cast addition David Morrissey.

The other possibility is that Merle returns as yet another thorn in the survivors' side just as they're meeting a new threat in the form of the Governor. Or, who knows, maybe he's seen the error of his ways and will emerge as a strong member of team Grimes.

Go ahead and spin your hypothetical theories below...

the-walking-dead-david-morrissey-amc.jpg

Photo/Video credit: AMC