Army of the Dead Zombie Tiger Has a Surprising Connection to Tiger King

One of the many things that stood out about the trailer for Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead, beyond its slick editing and its pack-hunting smart zombies, was that the "Dead" aren't limited just to humans. Zombie animals have been a thing in movies before but with the new Netflix movie taking place in Las Vegas there's one beast that it made the most sense to have join the zombie hordes, a tiger. Coincidentally, the tiger featured in Snyder's upcoming movie has a connection to Netflix' Tiger King though, as the production visited none other than Carole Baskin's Big Cat Rescue to learn more about the animals.

“Valentine is based on a real tiger, and our visual effects people called a lot of animal sanctuaries to see if they could video a tiger as reference — and can you guess whose tiger Valentine [is based on?]” producer Deborah Snyder said during Justice Con this weekend, revealing the Tiger King connection. “I remember Marcus [Taormina], our visual effects supervisor, spent a week down there. And we were like, ‘Well, at least you got out alive!’ We didn’t even know at the time, and I remember watching it. It wasn’t until later and Marcus goes, ‘You know where Valentine came from, right?’”

She added: "It was before Tiger King came out, so it was kind of wild."

Her husband, director Zack Snyder offered a brief thought about the zombie tiger in the film as well, saying: “It’s incredibly obvious until it is obvious. Nobody would think of a zombie tiger until you see a zombie tiger…and then it’s like, ‘Of course!’”

"I guess we knew, in a way, Valentine was gonna be a star. It was me [who came up with the zombie tiger]," Snyder told Beyond the Trailer. "I think we had a zombie tiger in there for a long time, I think it was one of those early ideas. We knew we wanted to do zombie animals and so, I thought, 'For sure, it just makes sense if you're gonna do Vegas.'"

Netflix has already confirmed that they're expanding on Army of the Dead in a big way with a prequel film on the way along with an animated TV series. We can only hope that Valentine will get the spotlight somewhere in there.

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Starring Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Arnezeder, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tig Notaro, Raúl Castillo, Huma Qureshi, Samantha Win, Michael Cassidy, Richard Cetrone, and Garret Dillahunt, Army of the Dead releases in select theaters May and on Netflix May 21.

(H/T SYFY)