AMC ended The Walking Dead series with a finale episode on November 20, 2022. While the flagship series has concluded its story, much more is still coming in The Walking Dead universe through the spinoff series. Many may be curious why comic creator Robert Kirkman never used the word zombie to describe the undead. It is simple; zombie fiction doesn’t exist in TWDU.
In a 2016 interview with Conan O’Brien, Kirkman explained why the universe avoids the term zombie. When he created the world of The Walking Dead for the comics, he did so with the understanding that no one in this world has ever seen a zombie movie. No one knew that you were supposed to injure the brain to kill one of the undead. This is something they had to learn along the way.
Kirkman didn’t want the survivors to know about the undead before the outbreak. This allowed the creators to make their own zombie world by referring to the undead as anything but the traditional zombie moniker. This left much room for creativity in the series for the creators to make TWDU unique in its undead rules.
The Walking Dead – walkers
The idea that TWDU isn’t steeped in traditional zombie lore has made for a much more exciting series. Viewers watched as Rick (Andrew Lincoln) had to be taught by Morgan (Lennie James), someone seasoned in the outbreak, that a headshot is the only way to take down the undead.
Daryl Dixon (Norman Reeds) has to remind everyone of this fact during his first scene of the series. The walker that was chomping on the deer he had been tracking had been decapitated, and this wasn’t enough to kill it. The head continued to chomp at the air before he put an arrow in its skull.
This is also seen in Fear the Walking Dead when the survivors of that story were learning on the go after the dead began to rise. This series started at the beginning of the outbreak, and society began to break down and learn about the dead reanimating.
"No one inside ‘The Walking Dead’ has seen a Romero movie, so they can’t get the rules from that. We felt like having people not use that word would separate it from that a little bit, making it a little bit clearer.” – Robert Kirkman"