The Walking Dead: Walkers need muscles to walk (and bite)

Ben Bladon. Walker. The Walking Dead. AMC
Ben Bladon. Walker. The Walking Dead. AMC /

The walkers on The Walking Dead have been decomposing for almost 2 years now. But Greg Nicotero says they’ll never be just bones. They need muscles to walk.

Walkers. Biters. Roamers. Rotters. Skin-eaters. Monsters. I call them leaners! But they’ll never be just skeletons on The Walking Dead, or as the expression for really skinny people goes, “nothing but skin and bones”. Walkers and roamers need muscles to walk and roam. Biters need muscle to bite. Rotters need things that will rot.

Greg Nicotero explained it to  Tech Insider this way:

Read more: My Walker Awards

Read more: Cherokee rose walker

"“The only thing you’ll never see is a Ray Harryhausen[-inspired], perfectly clean skeleton walking around because obviously, there’s no muscle. We still try to keep to the reality of [needing] muscle to move the bone to move the body, but it’s just something that we continue to push every season with new sculptures and pushing the elements of what we can. Every season we take advantage of the advancement of our timeline and the advancement of our story and it’s definitely something that we try to push in terms of more skeletal sloughing off skin, missing noses, exposed ribs, exposed organs … all that stuff. Anything we can do to just further and continually suggest that these are walking, emaciated, decomposing corpses that have been wandering around in the sun, wandering around in the rain, wandering around in the elements for almost two years now.”"

You can see in this before and after picture posted on Instagram by my walker friend Stephen Vining of Greg Nicotero’s before and after pictures of his Cherokee rose walker or the Wrightson tribute walker, how some of the effects are achieved.

Stephen Vining was also the red, tangled tree intestines walker who bit Carter in the season 6 opener. Coleman Youmans played a sewer/muck walker, which is another way to show cool decomposition. Chris Harrelson played another water walker in the food pantry. Make up artists, including Garrett Immel, Kevin Wasner and Kerrin Jackson, do an unbelievable job on these walkers.

These last few seasons aren’t the first time we’ve seen walkers this decomposed. Bicycle girl was a great introduction and foreshadowing into the world of the walkers we’re seeing now.

I’m glad we’ll never get to skeleton walkers. Not dissing the skeleton or anything, but there’s so much beauty in the walkers even as they rot, I think they need a little something on their bones.

P. S. I wish I could name all the walkers and make up artists and create a big walker yearbook. Ben Bladon played the red, rib cagey reaching walker in the featured image.