The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon Reveals New Zombie Variant

Greg Nicotero teases new zombie variants on The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon.

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon trailer raised burning questions when Daryl (Norman Reedus) washed ashore just south of France. Questions like: How did Daryl end up adrift at sea? Why was the American transported across the Atlantic to France? Who is the young boy destined to lead the revival of humanity? On AMC+, a 10-minute sneak peek from the September 10th series premiere answered some questions — and raised new ones. The footage showed Daryl wandering through the seaside town of Marseille, where he encountered new zombies with acidic blood and a burning touch. These walker variants have a name: Burners. 

"These zombies have mutated to a point where if they touch or bite you or their blood gets on you, it burns you significantly," director and executive producer Greg Nicotero told TV Insider. "It changes all the rules."

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The flesh-eating and flesh-burning walkers are cohorts of the smart zombies that CDC virologist Dr. Edwin Jenner (Noah Emmerich) documented as far back as the first season of The Walking Dead in 2010. This brainy breed of walker — called Climbers — are capable of scaling walls, opening doors, and picking up objects, as seen on the final season of the flagship show.

Dubbed "the hungry ones" by Laurent (Louis Puech Scigliuzzi) and the boy's convent, regular roamers and lurkers aren't the only threat in post-apocalyptic France. An end credits scene from The Walking Dead: World Beyond finale reintroduced the walker variants
that are smarter, stronger, and faster than their counterparts inside a French lab marked with graffiti reading Les morts sont nes icl, or "The dead are born here."

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It was there that an armed man (Oryan Landa) confronted a French doctor (Carey Van Driest) as she downloaded research and decade-old video transmissions from Jenner. The mystery man questioned the doctor about the whereabouts of the Primrose team of doctors and scientists who worked at France's la Biomédicine DDMI. "They weren't here when it happened. When you all did what you did," the woman said, explaining they were at a conference in Toledo, Ohio. "I had that hope against hope. I had to try. If they were to return here to their work, they might end all this. Even after all this time." 

"End this? You started this. All the teams," the man responded in French. "Then you made it worse." Before she could reveal more, the gunned-down doctor quickly reanimated as a walker with strength and speed exhibited only by the "variant cohorts." Was the zombie virus born in a French lab? Or did an attempt at a cure create even deadlier breeds of zombies?

Those burning questions may be answered when The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon premieres Sunday, September 10th, on AMC and AMC+. Check out our guide to The Walking Dead zombie variants and our series premiere sneak peek recap of the first 10 minutes.

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