There are just days to go before AMC debuts its ambitious companion series, “Fear the Walking Dead,” set in the time period just prior to episode one of “The Walking Dead.” As the premiere draws closer, the question on everyone’s minds is: What will the zombies be called on the new show?
As many fans have noticed, “The Walking Dead” -- and the new series will take place in the same universe -- has always avoided actually saying the term “zombies.” Instead, it opts for nicknames like “walkers.” Previously series creator Robert Kirkman has stated that when he envisioned the world of “The Walking Dead” as a TV show, he didn’t want the concept of zombies to exist within the universe’s pop culture.
“One of the things about this world is that people don’t know how to shoot people in the head at first, and they’re not familiar with zombies per se,” he said on an episode of “Talking Dead” (via The Wrap). “This isn’t a world the [George] Romero movies exist, for instance … because we don’t want to portray it that way. We felt like having them saying ‘zombie’ all the time would harken back to all of the zombie films which we, in the real world, know about.”
So, with the series painting itself into a corner regarding what to call these monsters, the addition of “Fear the Walking Dead” adds another layer of complexity to the issue. With the show tackling the onset of the zombie apocalypse in a different location, the companion series will have to answer not only what the public initially calls zombies, but the origins of the nicknames as well.
Speaking at the Television Critics Association press tour, IGN reports Executive Producer Dave Erickson revealed what the initial survivors of the outbreak decide to call the zombies. He confessed that they’ll be called “infected,” which makes sense. Given the nature of the zombie virus, and how a modern-day public would likely refer to those that contract whatever is causing the problem, an infection seems very reasonable. However, don’t expect the name to stick because, as Erickson revealed, they’re “coming up with as much West Coast verbiage” as possible.
That’s right, it seems as though the companion series will take a page from its predecessor’s book and see how many nicknames it can come up with for the characters instead of "zombies." Although, let’s face it, the term “walker” is sort of the default lingo for most of the characters on the original series. MentalFloss notes that the zombies have been nicknamed upwards of 13 times.
The outlet notes that so far, within the TV universe of “The Walking Dead,” zombies have been referred to as: walkers, biters, cold bodies, creepers, dead ones, floaters, geeks, lamebrains, lurkers, monsters, roamers, rotters and skin eaters. All of the terms are both accurate and a fancy way of avoiding the word “zombie.”
It’s important to note the distinction between the nicknames used in “The Walking Dead” TV show versus the original comic book. In the written source material, not only is the term “zombie” used frequently, but the nicknames are understood by Rick’s group of survivors to describe the type of zombie. For example, a “roamer” refers to a zombie that’s constantly on the move, while a “lurker” describes one that often lies in wait for victims.
So, with “zombie” off the table and a bevy of really good nicknames already used up by the original series, fans will just have to wait and see what “Fear the Walking Dead” characters call the infestation when the show debuts Aug. 23 on AMC.
What’s your idea for an L.A. zombie nickname? Comment below or tweet your thoughts to @TylerMcCarthy.