If you watched Netflix’s Army of the Dead you might have noticed somethings that left you scratching your heads. Robot zombies. UFOs. Time Loops. They are all in this jam packed zombie heist film. Director Zack Snyder loves to set things up for future films (as seen in his DCEU films) and with a prequel film and an animated mini-series on the way Snyder has given fans a lot to think about. Let’s looks at these fan theories one by one shall we:
The robot cameo is a blink-and-you’ll-miss it moment. As Scott (Dave Bautista) and what remains of his squad of thieves fight their way out of the casino at the end of the movie, they shoot a zombie in the face, revealing what looks like its metallic skull and a blue eye, features that are often more closely tied to androids or cyborgs in genre fiction. The body also seems to short circuit as it falls to the floor, with a blue flash that also resembles the blue-ish insides that gush out of the alphas when they’re killed. So what exactly is going on here? The movie doesn’t reveal the origin of the robot zombie, or if there are others like it, but Snyder did suggest some possibilities in a Q&A about the film (via Comic Book).
“If you pay close attention, there’s a number of zombies that are clearly not zombies. You see normal zombies and then you see some robot zombies. Are they monitors that the government has placed among the zombies to monitor them? Are they technology from the other world? What’s happening there?”
This allegedly will be explained in the prequel/animated series.
UFOs in Vegas
Eagle eyed viewers might have spotted something in the opening scene of Army of the Dead. There are a pair of UFOs tucked away in the chaotic opening crescendo in Nevada.
The military are seen hauling something in Army of the Dead’s very first scene that we later find out to be a member of the living dead. That unique piece of cargo may be the origins of the zombie outbreak, but it’s well worth pointing out that the convoy carrying it is departing from Area 51, the infamous location that has long been links with urban legends and myths about extraterrestrials.
The zombie outbreak being caused by something from outer space isn’t anything new to the genre. In Night of the Living Dead a satellite returning from space reanimated the dead when it released an unknown chemical into the atmosphere. Even Robert Kirkman revealed that the outbreak in The Walking Dead was caused by “something” from space.
Whether or not we will get more sci-fi or alien related action in future Army of the Dead films remains to be seen but I would put some hard earned money on it.
The Team Is Stuck In A Time Loop
This is by far the most fascinating fan theory that was only hinted at (as a joke) in the film. The main characters are all stuck in a time loop where each time they get a little closer to achieving their goal.
The time loop begins to loosely impose itself when they come up close to the sealed vault, and spot several skeletons slumped in a corner.
In that moment it is believed that the skeletons belong to a previous crew who had attempted to retrieve the cash but failed. However, the skeletons are wearing the same items the gang presently have on themselves – uncannily so, from Scott’s red bandana to Maria’s (Ana de la Reguera) key necklace.
Maria’s necklace is particularly an interesting study because the skeleton version of her only bears one with three keyholes, while there are four in that of living Maria’s. Could this mean that, before now, the dead skeleton crew were on their third attempt at breaking into the vault? And now, Scott and his crew have made it further than before?
“It could be us in another timeline and we are caught in some infinite loop fighting and dying,” says Vanderohe in a meta, throwaway way to Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer) and the others.
Then he refers to Bly Tanaka as a “puppet master” or “God” and that they are simply pawns in some perverse game where they are destined to repeat their failures. “Finally, in some mind-bending ironic reveal, it all begins,” he concludes.
This implicates Tanaka as knowing more than what he’s already told them. Vanderohe himself is a bit of mystery too, already knowing about the alphas within the zombie hierarchal order before Lily (Nora Arnezeder) mentions them as they proceed towards the land of the undead. Almost like he has memories from his previous loop…
With the way time loops operate in movies or shows, there’s usually a reset event, something that reels a narrative sequence back towards the beginning. In Army of the Dead, the nuclear bomb dropped to annihilate Las Vegas along with its zombies could be the event that restarts the sequence.
In this particular loop though, Ludwig (Matthias Schweighöfer) shoves Vanderohe inside the vault to save him as zombie king Zeus attacks them, a vault that Ludwig previously said led into another realm. So it could not only be a time loop, but also a multiverse, as Vanderohe wasn’t meant to survive.
Snyder has come out to give the theory a bit of credibility.
He told The Film Junkee: “There’s a chance, and I’m not saying that this is 100% true and in some ways it’s not, but the group at the table, I mean, it’s pretty subtle, but that’s them also at the table. They get farther every time, possibly… is this the time they made it all the way to the money?”
Lastly, WHAT THE HELL WAS UP WITH THE ZOMBIE FETUS?!?
Look next to eating the most carnal thing humans need is sex. Lots of it. So naturally zombies think the same way. Right? One of Snyder’s big surprises in “Army of the Dead” is the reveal of a zombie baby, which undead king Zeus pulls from the decapitated body of his queen lover. Was the baby a human fetus that got turned into a zombie when the mother got bit? Or is it just the product of zombie sex? Snyder recently told Esquire he leans more toward the latter.
“I believe that some zombie love happened, some sweet zombie lovemaking. I don’t know if it was sweet. It was probably pretty aggressive,” Snyder said. “My theory is that the zombies in our movie are working toward not needing a human host to procreate their species, if you will. That’s the ultimate evolution. They’re like a better us. I think that’s the fun genre part of it. They’re no longer destroying their environment. They’re not fighting with each other. They’re less bad for everybody. They’re less toxic. Unless you cross them, and then, well, it’s not that good.”
Snyder said his team “debated for a while” the inclusion of the zombie fetus, adding, “But as far as I was concerned, the zombie baby was cool for a variety of reasons, and one of them was that it tests you, it pushes you. You think you know what the genre is. And that’s the cool thing about the movie — I wanted to have a shorthand with the audience, and go, ‘You know what? You guys know this stuff, right?’ Even when Dieter says, ‘How exactly do we do the killing?’ Scott’s like, ‘Really?’ That’s the audience. That’s like your friend saying, ‘How do they kill the zombies?’ And you’re like, ‘Really? You’re going to ask that? You shoot them in the head, obviously. Are we going to have this conversation?’”
Of course this isn’t the first time Snyder has included a zombie baby in a film. He did the same thing in 2004’s Dawn of the Dead remake.
So there you go. No you are not crazy. You saw what you saw and you have every reason to think what you think when it comes to Army of the Dead. And unlike the DCEU films, we will actually get to see Snyder’s set ups payoff in future Army of the Dead films.