Will The Walking Dead end without a cure for the zombie virus that caused the apocalypse? 12 years after the outbreak of an infection that some survivors in the Walking Dead Universe believe to be extraterrestrial in origin, the living only know what the zombie virus does, not the why or the how: if you die, you turn. Dying without an intact brain is the only way to prevent reanimation, meaning it’s the survivors of the zombie apocalypse who are the walking dead — not the flesh-eating walkers who have terrorized our group for the past ten seasons and will do so once more in the final season of The Walking Dead.
A teaser from Season 11, premiering August 22 on AMC, has some viewers questioning if The Walking Dead will “cure” the zombie plague when the survivors encounter a new civilization from the comic books. The armored General Mercer (Michael James Shaw) urges recruits to “be the cure” and join the Commonwealth, an advanced community governed by politician Pamela Milton (Laila Robins).
Previous peeks inside the walls of the Commonwealth reveal similar military propaganda posters, including a banner promoting “the Commonwealth way” with the white-armored soldiers that apprehended Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and his expedition to end Season 10. “Fight the dead, save the living,” reads one banner, putting a meta twist on The Walking Dead slogan of “fight the dead, fear the living.”
Do your part for a bright future.
Join the fight this Sunday or stream #TWD right now with @AMCPlus. pic.twitter.com/dgzfWOKijx
— The Walking Dead on AMC (@WalkingDead_AMC) August 19, 2021
Creator Robert Kirkman ended his comic book after 193 issues without ever answering what caused the zombie apocalypse. On the television show, CDC virologist Dr. Edwin Jenner (Noah Emmerich) unsuccessfully sought a cure in a plotline that deviated from the comic books, whispering to Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) in a Season 1 episode: everyone is infected. “Doctor” Eugene Porter later claimed to be en route to Washington, D.C., to develop the cure, but this was a coward’s lie for protection.
Kirkman ruled out revealing the origins or a cure for the zombie virus at San Diego Comic-Con in 2017, saying “it’s been done in a lot of other zombie stories” and it’s a “mythology-breaking proposition.”
“You don’t want that kind of thing as far as somebody being immune. And we have dabbled in that a little bit in the other show [Fear the Walking Dead],” Kirkman continued. “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. 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.”
Kirkman added: “To go off and try to solve this would be a boring show, so definitely not.”
The origin of The Walking Dead‘s walkers is “a crazy sci-fi thing that would make the story all that much weirder,” Kirkman later revealed during a Tumblr Q&A in 2018, adding that whatever caused the original outbreak “couldn’t be less important to the story and the lives of these characters. It would be completely out of place in the story.”
Over on spin-off The Walking Dead: World Beyond, renowned biochemist and geneticist Dr. Leo Bennett (Joe Holt) is said to be away seeking a cure for the zombie plague for the Civic Republic — another advanced community that dwarves even the Commonwealth with a population of 200,000 survivors. World Beyond reveals Dr. Lyla Belshaw (Natalie Gold) conducting experiments on zombified test subjects, seemingly seeking a cure in a storyline that could tie into the Walking Dead Movie.
If there’s ever a cure to the zombie pandemic, it might not come on The Walking Dead: the Rick Grimes movie and a Daryl & Carol series are among the spin-offs in development at AMC Networks and set in the walker-overrun apocalypse of the expanding TWD Universe.