The Walking Dead creator and executive producer Robert Kirkman might one day reveal what caused the zombie apocalypse, but he says the origins of the enigmatic virus "couldn't be less important" to the ongoing story.
Responding to fan questions on Tumblr while promoting new comic book series Oblivion Song, Kirkman revealed he knows what caused the virus, but calls it "a crazy sci-fi thing that would make the story all that much weirder."
"Maybe years after it’s all over I’ll just casually mention it in an interview. That seems like a very [Harry Potter author] J.K. Rowling thing to do," Kirkman answered.
"It couldn’t be less important to the story and the lives of these characters. It would be completely out of place in the story. Honestly if a scientist from Washington came to the character and told them what happened the characters would just shrug and say 'Oh… okay…' it wouldn’t change their lives at all… and… I’ve said too much."
The Walking Dead's inaugural season scratched the surface of the specifics surrounding the virus by way of last-man-standing CDC scientist Dr. Jenner, who explained the virus causes dead bodies to reanimate into flesh-hungry cannibals — and everyone is infected.
If you die, you turn — unless your brain stem is severed, preventing your resurrection into a mindless monster.
Kirkman told audiences assembled during last year's San Diego Comic Con he's unlikely to tackle the origin of the virus or a subsequent cure because "it's been done on a lot of other zombie stories."
And, Kirkman added, "because you know it’s kind of a mythology-breaking proposition. You don’t want that kind of thing as far as somebody being immune."
“But as far as actually trying to solve the thing, I’ve always thought that one of the best things about this show is that it’s not about scientists and it’s not about people that would take that on as a task – because I feel like that’s unrelatable,” Kirkman explained. “I think if there were a zombie apocalypse, I don’t know that there’s maybe five people in this room that would have that job.”
Worse, he said, "to go off and try to solve this would be a boring show, so definitely not."
Whether an explanation of the virus or the discovery of a cure will be introduced to the comic book or the television series remains to be seen, but the writer already knows how he plans to bring The Walking Dead to its eventual conclusion.
Earlier this week, Kirkman said he has an ending in mind for his ongoing monthly comic book series — an ending that is "far away off" and one that must be satisfying for fans.
"The Walking Dead isn't gonna last forever. It might go on for many, many, many more years, but I think that for anyone that's been on that journey for that long, they deserve a satisfying end," Kirkman said, confirming he does "have an endpoint in mind."
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.
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