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Army of the Dead: The History Behind Zombie Apocalypse

Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead will introduce a new post-apocalyptic zombie-filled world for viewers. But the film has some major differences to what audiences are habitual of from watching traditional zombie stories like George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, and AMC’s The Walking Dead TV show. Zack Snyder, who directed Justice League, 300, Man of Steel, and Dawn of the Dead remake has written and helmed Netflix’s Army of the Dead.

It has been described as a heist movie made in the midst of the zombie apocalypse. It will release on May 21 on Netflix. The movie will follow a team of mercenaries led by Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) going on a dangerous mission in Las Vegas that has been crawling with zombies. A heist that goes wrong would result in Scott and his allies getting caught in the battle with the zombies. For survival, they have to use teamwork and weapons to kill the creatures who look to be more formidable in comparison to the slow and brainless zombies.

The world created in Army of the Dead has been confirmed to appear in more than one movie. It will be the focus of the prequel film titled Army of Thieves and an anime series named Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas. The anime series will serve as a spinoff for the first movie. If all three projects are successful, more stories related to this world can be told in the future. Here are some things you must know about the history Zack Snyder has created for Army of the Dead and its version of the zombie apocalypse.

1. The Virus Emerges in Area 51

Army of the Dead: Zombie Apocalypse Backstory and Heist Timeline Explained

The detail related to how zombies were created is still unknown. But Snyder has confirmed that the outbreak of zombies starts in Area 51. It is a highly secretive government facility in Nevada. This suggests it might be the product of scientific experiments. In some other way, it has been considered a mystery. It is possible that someone at Area 51 engineered the zombie virus and has spread it in the aftermath. A chain reaction might have resulted in the creation of a multitude of undead creatures.

Army of the Dead: Zombie Apocalypse Backstory and Heist Timeline Explained

The zombies that are somehow connected to Army of the Dead’s virus is deadlier in comparison to the shambling and mindless flesh-eaters seen in various movies and shows. They have enhanced reflexes and can dodge and anticipate attacks. They can also communicate with each other. They can call out to others and might be driven by a pack mentality. Zombies seen in the trailer are rallying each other to fight the humans and dependent on their numbers to prevail. There might be some type of chain of command since zombies can answer to their leaders called Alphas.

If this is the case, it will be indicative of how enhanced they are as a species. The most difficult thing to deal with here is the fact that a few among them are animals. Among them, horses and tigers can also be counted among their numbers. Snyder says that the origin of the unique zombies will be explored in the opening scene. It is very unlikely that the film would spend more time on this mystery. The emergence of the virus at Area 51 will be revisited later.

It is expected to be at the heart of the story for Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas that will take place at the early days of the apocalypse. It can be presumed that the show would explore the lives of characters that were there when everything started. The main cast of Army of the Dead, like Bautista’s Ward, Ella Purnell’s Kate Ward, Omari Hardwick’s Vanderohe, and Ana de la Reguera’s Cruz will be seen in the anime prequel series.

2. The Zombie Outbreak is contained in Vegas after a war

As seen in the trailer, Ward’s team crosses a barricade and watches a city overrun with zombies. Many of the zombies are packed to one enclosed area because the government has been able to contain the outbreak in Las Vegas. They have been there so long that they have turned the city into a desolate ruin. The trailer unveils that the United States has been successful in locking it down through military firepower.

Airstrikes were launched on zombies. At one point, shipping containers were used to close off the city and keep the zombies from getting out and spreading the virus in other parts of the country. The surprise expressed by some characters while seeing them leaves an impression that the containment of the outbreak has been a success. The public might not be aware of what happened in the city and how serious the outbreak was.

3. The team reunites for a casino heist in Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead’s plot is about what happens sometime after the zombie outbreak was contained in Las Vegas. The characters returned to live normal lives and ended up being lured back to where it started. In the trailer, Hunter Bly (Hiroyuki Sanada) sits down for a meeting with Ward at the diner where he now works. This makes him a hard-to-refuse offer. Bly tells that he is willing to pay $50 million to Ward’s team to break into a vault beneath the Las Vegas strip where the zombie horde is located.

For getting to the vault, they have to bypass the U.S. military and search their way into a casino. After thinking over the job, Ward unites many of his former associates. He convinces them to assist him in pulling off the heist. Whether or not they succeed and which ones among them have a future in Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead universe remains to be seen.

Here is the official synopsis of Army of the Dead:

“After a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries takes the ultimate gamble by venturing into the quarantine zone for the greatest heist ever.”

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