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Here’s why ‘The Walking Dead’ doesn’t have ‘zombies’


A zombie in The Walking Dead

It’s no secret that characters in The Walking Dead TV series steer clear of the ‘Z’ word, and now we know why.

The executive producer and director of The Walking Dead has revealed why the show avoids using the term ‘zombies’.

Speaking at today's Walker Stalker Con 2016 here in London, Greg Nicotero confirmed that the characters have no concept of a zombie like we do in the real world.

“That word does not exist in The Walking Dead universe,” Nicotero said. “If you really think about the definition of the word zombie, it’s a Voodoo Haitian term for people who have been controlled using Voodoo.”

gregGreg Nicotero (left) at Walker Stalker Con 2016 in London

He described how zombies as we know them today didn’t exist until they turned up in film. That’s why The Walking Dead steers clear of the trope, instead opting to use the term “walkers” to describe reanimated corpses.

“Zombie, in terms of pop culture, was invented by George Romero. Not even in Night of the Living Dead, and not even in Dawn of the Dead,” explained Nicotero. “I think in Dawn of the Dead they used the word zombie once. So the word zombie has come about because of a zombie movie.”

“That’s why they’re not called that,” he added.

zombiesNight of the Living Dead (1968)

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Nicotero also confirmed that we’ll “never hear the word zombie” on The Walking Dead, and that the scriptwriters are “very specific about never calling them zombies”.

However, he did admit to calling them zombies “on set”.

The original concept for “zombies” is generally considered to have come courtesy of Romero’s Night of the Living Dead in 1968. However, the term “zombie” was only applied to the movie by fans retrospectively.

zombiesZombies in TWD spin-off Fear the Walking Dead

Since then, the zombie craze has spawned countless movies, books, and TV series, including AMC’s hugely popular The Walking Dead, which averages 5.6 million viewers per episode.

What’s your favourite word for the living dead – zombies, walkers, or something else entirely? Let us know in the comments.


February 21, 2016, 12:16 pm

Animated corpses


February 21, 2016, 2:56 pm


David Dickerson

February 21, 2016, 3:08 pm

Biters or Walkers are my most thought descriptions ......

Apis Bull

February 23, 2016, 10:03 am

Too true, people would call the dead coming back zombies, would you really have a conversation about a technicality ?
Well maybe after being stuck in a building surrounded by zombies for a couple of weeks, I mean walkers...after going a bit mad...

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