Why 'The Walking Dead' Changed An Iconic Line From The Season 4 Finale

“The Walking Dead” season 4 ends on an iconic line from the comic series.

Rick, played by Andrew Lincoln, and a group of survivors are reunited after being kidnapped and thrown into a railroad car by others.

The group isn’t fearful for their lives. Instead, the camera passes over the trapped characters before stopping on Rick and slowly zooming in before he delivers the line, “They’re screwing with the wrong people.”

In the comics, the line is less TV friendly and delivered under slightly different circumstances: “They’re f—— with the wrong people.”

The line was filmed as such and is available for diehard fans on the Blu-Ray release of season 4.

During Saturday’s New York Comic Con panel a fan asked both Lincoln and series showrunner Scott Gimple why the line was changed for television.

The simple answer is that the cable television show couldn’t air the word due to strong language and Gimple didn’t want the last line of season 4 to be censored.

Gimple showed the audience how the line would have sounded delivered on AMC if they kept in the curse word.

“It could have been, ‘They’re (pause) the wrong people,'” said Gimple. “You all are looking at me like it’s weird. It would have been weird. ‘They’re (pause) with the wrong people.'”

Scott gimple the walking dead nycc 2014Robin Marchant/Getty Images for AMCShowrunner Scott Gimple, creator Robert Kirkman, executive producer Gale Ann Hurd, and director, executive producer, and special effects makeup artist Greg Nicotero.

Panel host Chris Hardwick elaborated that Gimple was pausing to demonstrate AMC cutting sound from the episode rather than “bleeping” it.

“[It would have been] the last line of the season and I think people would have been hitting their sets like Homer,” added Gimple. “We did know that we were going to be able to do it on the Blu-Ray. Andy Lincoln can say screwing in a way that frightens me.”

Lincoln, Gimple, and series director and executive producer Greg Nicotero then expanded on the line swap more.

“I only gave one take of the actual screwing line because I refused. I just went, ‘No, that’s the way they say it in the script,” added Lincoln.

“Oh, yeah. That was my own mistake. I put f——- in the script,” said Gimple.

“We get outlines and then we get the scripts,” explained Nicotero. “In the outline Scott had written it, you know, ‘They’re f—— with the wrong people.’ And I said, ‘We have to shoot it. We have to find a way.’ We actually, for a long time, experimented with how much we [could] dip the word so we can still say it.”

Greg nicotero andrew lincoln the walking dead nycc 2014Robin Marchant/Getty Images for AMC‘The Walking Dead’ director and executive producer Greg Nicotero and Andrew Lincoln laugh on stage at NYCC.

Hardwick jumped in to say how strange it is that “The Walking Dead” can show copious amounts of blood, guts, and violence, but not a swear word before moving on to the next audience question.

“Isn’t that kind of weird though that this is the way that television works now? And it’s not their fault,” said Hardwick. “It’s not the network’s fault. It’s just the way that you can show another guy rip another guy’s throat out with his teeth [a reference to a scene from “The Walking Dead” season 4], and you’re like, all right but no swearing!'”

“Kids have the internet anyway now, so f— it,” he added.

You can watch the uncensored clip seen on the Blu-Ray here.

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