Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead Will Unleash Robot Zombies, So What’s Happening There?

Zombie movies have been getting made for decades now, so you might think you’ve seen every cliche that genre of movies has to offer, from the shambling undead, to the eating of brains, to the general lack of personal hygiene of everyone involved in the zombie apocalypse. Zack Snyder’s upcoming Netflix movie Army of the Dead plans to introduce some intriguing new elements into what is being described as a “zombie heist” film, particularly robot zombies, aka Robo-zombies (rombies?). Snyder opened up about the details in a Netflix Q&A.

“I had the idea from the beginning that these zombies were going to embody an evolution, that they were on their way to becoming something else, not stagnant like the zombies we’re used to. It was a way to make them fresh, while still delivering the zombie canon in some ways. I really wanted this sort of weird ambiguity to their origins – which, of course, we’ll explore in the animated series, [Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas]. And without giving away too much…if you pay close attention, there’s a number of zombies that are clearly not zombies. You see normal zombies and then you see some robot zombies. Are they monitors that the government has placed among the zombies to monitor them? Are they technology from the other world? What’s happening there?”

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Army of the Dead is not a standalone feature, but the start of an entire franchise under Snyder for Netflix. Multiple spinoff series and movies are already being developed, and Snyder has clearly worked hard to bring in new elements to make his zombie series stand out from the crowd of films in the genre that already exist.

In a previous interview, Zack Snyder had explained that even the regular zombies in Army of the Dead come in different flavors, with one group being the slow-moving and relatively harmless type just like the original zombies that started the genre, and a newer, faster, and more intelligent breed of “Alphas” that can hunt in packs.

“Always in this concept, it was this idea that we would evolve the zombies or there would be a hierarchy, there would be some sort of [organization]. You’ll learn in the movie the ‘why’ of it because it’s very specific about why certain zombies are ‘Shamblers,’ and certain zombies are ‘Alphas,’ it’s very particular… But the Alphas, I sort of think of them like wolves or pack animals that can work as a team. Zeus [Richard Cetrone] is their main guy, and the Zombie Queen [Athena Perample] of course, they have this kind of primitive way of communicating. I’m not even sure how it works, but it’s very much from the animal kingdom. They’re one with nature if you will.”

Directed and co-written by Zack Snyder, Army of the Dead stars Dave Bautista, Garret Dillahunt, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Raul Castillo, Tig Notaro, Theo Rossi, and Ana de la Reguera. The film arrives on Netflix on May 21.