"That's probably generations away, but entirely feasible, sure, once all the muscle tissue and flesh holding those meat bags together fails," answered editor Sean Mackiewicz when asked if walkers will ever become too rotted to move or bite.
"There have been zombies seen in the series that are much less mobile. Lurkers were what we called them," Kirkman added. "We've seen some extra decayed zombies along the way. The natural progression is that, yeah, eventually there will be very, very few zombies in this world because most of them will have died off and decayed away... will the series last long enough for us to get there? Only time will tell!!"
In a 2018 issue of the comic book, Kirkman estimated there are only "about 1.6 million humans total, worldwide," noting the world is filled with "vast dead zones." Though Kirkman remarked the still-living population of Montana is just ten souls, declaring the factoid canon, the author admitted he may in the future renege on details dropped in the letter column so as to avoid limiting upcoming stories.
"The name of the game as a writer is not limiting yourself for the future," Kirkman explained.
"In my opinion, at least. I'd never answer this in a letters column because if later I decide they're going to find a place with millions of people, you can say, 'No wait! In the letters column for #177 you said this!' I also intentionally mislead in the letters column from time to time to steer eagle-eyed readers away from the upcoming plot threads. That's fun. At some point someone should take it upon themselves to read all the Letter Hacks over the years and see if they can figure out when I knew of an upcoming storyline and was clearly misleading people, and when I just changed my mind or came up with a new idea."
Using a ratio supplied by Kirkman in issue #10 of the comics — that the ratio of walkers to humans is 5,000 to one —SourceFedNERD's Matt Lieberman in 2016 estimated just 0.0002% of the world's population, or 1.4 million people, were still alive after the initial outbreak went global. Lieberman then determined that number diminished and fell below half a million in the first 600+ days of the outbreak, leaving less than 400,000 survivors across the globe.
The Walking Dead next releases issue #190 Wednesday, April 3. The Walking Dead Season Nine premieres new episodes Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.
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