Zombies and undead tigers and robots, oh my! Zack Snyder reveals another breed of zombie plaguing Las Vegas in his new Netflix film Army of the Dead: robot zombies. Along with "Alphas" and "Shamblers," both part of an undead hierarchy in Snyder's first horror film since 2004's Dawn of the Dead, Snyder describes a "fresh" kind of zombie — so to speak — facing Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) and his ragtag team of experts hired by casino boss Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) to break into a zombie-infested quarantine zone in an about-to-be-nuked Las Vegas, where Ward's crew have just 32 hours to pull off a $200 million heist.
"I had the idea from the beginning that these zombies were going to embody an evolution, that they were on their way to becoming something else, not stagnant like the zombies we're used to," Snyder said during a Netflix-hosted Q&A. "It was a way to make them fresh, while still delivering the zombie canon in some ways."
"I really wanted this sort of weird ambiguity to their origins — which, of course, we'll explore in the animated series [Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas]. And without giving away too much ... if you pay close attention, there's a number of zombies that are clearly not zombies," Snyder teased. "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?"
Snyder previously explained Army of the Dead's zombie hierarchy when he revealed the difference between the smarter, fast-moving "Alphas" and the lower-ranking "Shamblers":
"Always in this concept, it was this idea that we would evolve the zombies or there would be a hierarchy, there would be some sort of [organization]. You'll learn in the movie the 'why’ of it because it's very specific about why certain zombies are 'Shamblers,' and certain zombies are 'Alphas,' it's very particular," Snyder said in a recent interview. "But the Alphas, I sort of think of them like wolves or pack animals that can work as a team. Zeus [Richard Cetrone] is their main guy, and the Zombie Queen [Athena Perample] of course, they have this kind of primitive way of communicating. I'm not even sure how it works, but it's very much from the animal kingdom. They're one with nature if you will."
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.