Anyone who’s a fan of “The Walking Dead” knows zombies aren’t referred to as zombies on the hit series.
According to creator Robert Kirkman, the concept of the term just simply don’t exist in the series’ universe.
Instead, in the television series — and the comic from which the series is adapted — zombies have been called a range of names including walkers, roamers, lurkers, biters, and even geeks.
When the show’s prequel spinoff series “Fear the Walking Dead” premieres later this month on AMC, it will also slowly introduce zombies.
However, they will be referred to in an entirely new way.
Instead of calling the undead roamers or walkers, they will be known simply as “infected” to reflect the early days of the apocalypse in a new setting. Unlike “The Walking Dead,” which takes place on the east coast of the United States, “Fear,” as the cast and crew refer to it, will take place in Los Angeles from the perspective of an entirely new group of people.
“One of the things I like about the way Robert [Kirkman] did it in the comic is it does feel regional whether they’re [called] walkers, or roamers, or biters,” “Fear the Walking Dead” showrunner and executive producer Dave Erickson told Tech Insider. “We definitely didn’t want to use any of those descriptors in our show and we also talked a lot about how the outbreak would be perceived and I think, for the most part, if this were to happen in real life, you would assume it was a virus, you would assume it was some kind of a sickness.”
The name infected is a natural extension of how someone unaware of a zombie apocalypse would interpret the situation initially.
Of course, the “Fear” crew didn’t only have to figure out how to refer to these new zombies, they also had to think about their look. Because “Fear” takes place at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, the infected won’t look quite like the walkers and roamers we’re used to seeing on the AMC series.
Instead, they will look closer to zombies we saw in season one of “The Walking Dead” and earlier.
“In terms of the look of the walkers, or infected, we talked a lot about how we distinguish our undead from that of the original show. One of the things about our zombies is we’re very early in the apocalypse,” Erickson continued. “For the most part, our walkers, they look human, which poses certain challenges to our characters because going into this story they don’t have a George Romero shorthand. One of the things that Robert talked about when he and I first sat down was, you know, the question of violence and the difficulty in killing. We don’t have walkers who [are] atrophied and already look like monsters, we have colleagues or friends and family members you were having coffee with the day before.”
However, just because the newly discovered undead will be referred to as “infected,” it doesn’t mean that’s how they will always be known. Erickson hinted we may see the name evolve over time.
“Infected seemed to be the best shorthand — at least for season one and we’ll continue to think about other west coast terms as we go [forward],” Erickson said.
We’ll have more from our interview with Erickson ahead of the “Fear the Walking Dead.”
The series premieres on AMC August 23 at 9 p.m.
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