Terrifyingly Freakish Facts About The Walking Dead
Since premiering on October 31, 2010, AMC's hit television show The Walking Dead continues to captivate audiences. With over 100 episodes under its belt and an increasingly large universe of spin-off shows like Fear the Walking Dead and the upcoming teen-focused prequel series, it's clear that the love for the show is as contagious as the flesh-eating disease it's focused on. Still, there are many facts about the series that some fans don't know.
To create a convincing post-apocalyptic universe, the cast and crew have to make sure everything is as realistic as can be. For the extras on the show, this includes attending "walker school" to learn how to walk and act like walkers (The Walking Dead universe's term for zombies).
Different Levels of Zombie Makeup
Greg Nicotero might be the key special effects makeup artist on The Walking Dead, but he's got a leg up on other special effects artists in the business: He's also an executive producer, which means he gets to make creative decisions just like a writer or director does.
The Last Supper
Naturally, being a show with "dead" in the title, The Walking Dead deals quite heavily with mortality — not only because of the zombies constantly getting slain, but also because of the many main cast members who frequently cycle through the show as they succumb to the deadly walker virus.
Dealing With the Passage of Time
The world is already in a pretty bad state when The Walking Dead begins, but the show has been on the air for nearly a decade since then — the world is even worse off now. The crew has come up with a couple different ways to show this erosion.
West Georgia Correctional Facility
Creating convincing sets is a huge part of portraying a realistic and gripping drama. For this reason, The Walking Dead's crew wanted to ensure complete and total perfection when choosing the location for season three and the first half of season four.
No End in Sight
Ten years in, it might seem like The Walking Dead would plan on coming to an end sometime soon. This isn't the case, though — not even close. In fact, according to AMC CEO Josh Sapan, the show's not even halfway finished.
Frank Darabont's Universe
The Walking Dead developer Frank Darabont might not be a part of the show anymore, but it's still very much a part of him. This is mainly due to the fact that many of his most trusted actors have been involved with the show at one point or another.
Leeway With the Source Material
At this point, almost everyone knows that The Walking Dead originated as a comic book. However, even if an audience member is familiar with the comic books, there's no way they'd be able to predict what's going to happen next on the TV series.
How Actors Learn Their Characters' Fates
Some shows are so dedicated to maintaining secrecy onset that the writers withhold information from the cast and crew until the very last minute. Others trust their actors enough to keep the shows’ plot twists a secret. The Walking Dead falls somewhere in the middle.
Unique Shooting Style
In this day and age, shooting with digital cameras is often the default. Some claim it's the cheaper option compared to celluloid, but it really comes down to a matter of convenience. The Walking Dead is in the minority: The crew shoots on 16mm film.
A Nearly Paperless Set
The Walking Dead might portray a world too far gone to be saved, but that doesn't mean that the production crew has to adopt a similar nihilism. Producer Gale Anne Hurd single-handedly makes sure to keep things as environmentally friendly as possible.
The Walking Dead Webisodes
In addition to The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead, AMC has released four separate web series as supplemental material between 2011 and today. Ranging anywhere from three to six parts in length, the webisodes provide some crucial information you can’t find on the show.
The Future of Rick Grimes
The Walking Dead actor Andrew Lincoln had a very public departure from the show after its ninth season. Because he's been with the show from the start, many fans were quite upset with his exit. AMC plans to remedy this, though.
Fear the Walking Dead's Connection
While it was initially advertised as a spin-off, 2015's Fear the Walking Dead was more of a prequel to The Walking Dead than a sister show. This is because (for the first few years, at least) no Walking Dead characters had any connection to Fear.
Future Walking Dead Spin-offs
Set to air in 2020, The Walking Dead's second spin-off show will head into the future to focus on a group of first-generation apocalypse survivors. It's an interesting idea and one that’s sure to open the door for even more television crossovers down the line.
Fear the Walking Dead Webisodes
Much like The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead has offered fans a few web series of its own. Unlike The Walking Dead, though, Fear's webisodes contain many more parts than all of The Walking Dead's various webisodes combined.
The Walking Dead's Original Home
The Walking Dead has been at AMC for almost a decade now, but there's an alternate reality in which this almost wasn't the case. Before the show was sold to the network, creator Frank Darabont was shopping his pitch around to different outlets — namely, none other than HBO.
Substituting Guts for Food
When dealing with the undead — especially the type of undead that feasts on flesh — it's important to have convincing-looking gore. In order to do this, the crew turns to the food pyramid. Walkers need nutrients too, after all.
The Magic of CGI
While all the walkers are covered in intricate special effects makeup, the post-production crew still utilizes plenty of computer-generated imagery (CGI) in order to make things that much more convincing. This includes all kinds of green screens and special editing tricks.
Vastly Different Shooting Locations
From the very beginning, The Walking Dead has been proud to shoot in Georgia. No matter where the story takes the characters, behind the scenes they'll always be in or around the Peach State. This isn't the case with Fear the Walking Dead, though.
The Talking Dead
In a clever play on words, AMC debuted Talking Dead in 2011 following a rerun of the season two finale. An interactive program that gives audiences a chance to participate in the discussion along with the host and Walking Dead guest stars, the show is still airing in 2019.
Critical Ups and Downs
The Walking Dead and its spin-off have never failed to bring in audiences by the millions, but the show isn't always a critical darling. Rotten Tomatoes, a website that assigns scores to all kinds of entertainment by aggregating the critical consensus, has shown that critics are on a Walking Dead roller coaster.
The Walking Lawsuits
Given the size and success of The Walking Dead, it's no surprise that the show has seen its fair share of lawsuits. Both former showrunner Frank Darabont and the mother of a former stuntman have taken the series and its network to court.
Fear the Walking Lawsuits
Like the show it spun off from, Fear the Walking Dead has had a bit of legal trouble, too. Instead of breach of contract or safety concerns, though, Fear's lawsuit concerns intellectual property theft. Comic book creator Mel Smith felt the show ripped off his series Dead Ahead.
Surprise Special Effects
From time to time, the crew wants to generate some genuine shock from the main cast. To do this, they occasionally set up stunts or surprises in certain scenes without filling the cast in first. One memorable instance happened during season four.
Drastic Differences in the Timeline
Even though most seasons of The Walking Dead are 16 episodes split into two parts, the amount of time that passes within the show is always changing. Some seasons move through time fast, while others take their time.
Rick's Hand (or Lack Thereof)
The showrunners have taken creative liberties with the source material countless times, whether it be shifts in the fate of certain characters or the shuffling of events from page to screen. One of the biggest (and most notable) differences has to do with Rick's right hand.
Suspension of Disbelief
Technically speaking, the show's main actors shouldn’t look nearly as healthy and fit as they do on The Walking Dead. It's excusable on Fear the Walking Dead because of the shorter distance between pre-outbreak and the present, but The Walking Dead's biggest suspension of disbelief lies in this unavoidable goof.
Despite its massive appeal and huge success, The Walking Dead is far from the first piece of popular zombie-centric entertainment. The show's creators are well aware of this and, as a result, often pay homage to the titans that came before them.
Scripted Show, Real Panic
While shooting a pivotal scene during the production of season one of The Walking Dead, actor Michael Rooker had to take to the roof with a sniper rifle. While everyone on set knew the context, people in the surrounding area did not. As a result, they called the police.