In Season 3 episode “This Sorrowful Life”, Merle Dixon went on a lone fight with the Governor and his army. After the army captured Merle, the Governor insisted on handling the captive himself in revenge. In the scene, the Governor bites off a few of Merle’s fingers. However, this was not the original plan of the scene.
In an interview with Greg Nicotero (producer/director of The Walking Dead) on The Walker Stalkers, he revealed that the fight was going to be longer and more brutal. As he put it,
“The whole time that he is beating up Merle, the Governor was saying to him, ‘I’m going to kill your brother. You’re going to watch him die, and you’re going to watch him get torn apart’. And he puts his arm into that machine and breaks it, and the Governor walks away and walks out of the shot, leaving Merle alone, and then Merle says, ‘I’m not going to beg.’ And then, the Governor steps back in and raises the gun and says, ‘No’, and pulls the trigger. And the original intent of the scene was that you were actually supposed to believe for a second that the Governor was going to keep Merle alive, and Merle was going to watch him kill his brother, like he talked about briefly in 311. So there was a slightly different intent there.”
Well, AMC obviously didn’t want to deal with the Daryl riot that would surely ensue…