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.”
Greg 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.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Related: Netflix vs Amazon Video
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.
Zombies 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.