While we’ve had many seasons and spinoffs for The Walking Dead, it’s never been definitely answered how the zombie virus happened in the first place. Even the 15 years or so of the original comic book series never gave fans a specific reason for the virus, meaning that there remain a lot of unresolved questions over the history of the Walking Dead universe. However, creator Robert Kirkman has recently provided an explanation for it. Well, sort of, anyway.
When asked on Twitter what created the walkers in the series, Kirkman simply remarked that the virus began with a “space spore.” This comment is a likely reference to the role of space radiation in the undead outbreak in George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, one of the main sources of inspiration for The Walking Dead and the zombie genre as a whole. Kirkman’s comment must be taken with a grain of salt though, as he’s previously used the space alien theory as part of a non-canon scene in the comic series.
In addition, Kirkman has also gone on record to argue that providing a complete backstory to The Walking Dead was never his intention, and that it wouldn’t help the characters and stories he tells. Indeed, although the television series has established several zombie ‘rules,’ including the unfortunate reality that dying without a bite is enough to trigger a transformation, it’s always avoided a clear scientific explanation for the outbreak.
It’s possible, though, that the current range of spinoffs may offer some more backstory, albeit without losing its focus on exploring a group of characters trying to survive. In this context, Norman Reedus’ recent comments about the success of The Walking Dead being in its character development make sense, as the series has generally worked best when concentrating on small details of the post-apocalyptic world.
That’s not to say we won’t be getting an expanded view of The Walking Dead universe, with future seasons expected to introduce the Commonwealth, a much larger survivor community than we’ve so far seen in the series. For now, though, we can enjoy the continuation of season 10 this Sunday on AMC with episode 10×11, “Morning Star.”