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Walking Dead New Smart Zombies Leverage Season 1 Mistakes

Walking Dead producers turned mistakes from the first episodes into a new breed of super-zombies.


When AMC's The Walking Dead premiered, the level of skill that the walkers had varied from person to person, but even by the second episode, fans noticed that some of them seemed actually smart--like really smart. Those particular super-zombies will return during the series' last eight episodes in October.

Back during the show's Comic-Con panel, there was footage at the end with Ross Marquand's Aaron speaking about walkers that weren't actually mindless and still possessed certain motor functions and a level of intelligence that made them more threatening.

"I've heard stories of walkers that can climb walls and open doors. I was never sure if they were just stories," said Marquand during the panel footage. Suddenly, we have walkers using doors, climbing, and hunting with a ravenous intent instead of something just embedded in them.

"There's a reason why he's saying those particular words," showrunner Angela Kang said. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly for its Walking Dead Fall TV Preview cover story. "And it will cause some massive problems for our people."

As the creative team went back and rewatched episodes from Season 1, they noticed that some of the actors playing walkers, definitely were sprier than the usual zombie fare. "In Season 1, Episode 2, when they're in the department store with T-Dog and Andrea, there are walkers up against the wall, and one of them is kind of smashing the window with a rock," said executive producer and director Greg Nicotero. "That came right out of Night of The Living Dead. That was right out of Barbara in the car with the first-ever zombie, Bill Hinzman, using a rock."

Nicotero noted that there were more instances of certain zombies being faster and stronger than others, but he explained they were trying to figure out the rules that their zombies had to go by. "There's another scene where Glenn and Rick are being chased down the alley and they start climbing up a fire escape," Nicotero remembered. "And there are walkers climbing up behind them. We were still figuring it out. But we decided that it was an opportunity."

AMC's The Walking Dead returns for its final season on October 2.

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