It’s been 10 years since AMC’s The Walking Dead aired and six months since the comic book concluded with issue #193. Now, after all this time has passed, writer and co-creator Robert Kirkman has revealed what started the zombie apocalypse in his fictional series. Turns out it was aliens all along–well, sort of. What remains to be seen is whether the often-sarcastic Kirkman was joking.
In responding to a fan on Twitter who asked how the series’ zombies came to be, Kirkman said space had something to do with it. Apparently, a “space spore” is what created the walkers in TWD’s universe.
As GameSpot sister site Comic Book notes, Kirkman and original series artist Tony Moore pitched a continuation to George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, a 1968 horror film in which scientists thought reanimated corpses were caused by a returning space probe’s explosive radiation. Kirkman’s “space spore” answer is likely an homage to Romero’s cult horror classic.
Kirkman’s answer seemingly corroborates previous statements he has given, such as one in 2018 where he said the zombie infection and resulting calamity was because of “a crazy sci-fi thing that would make the story all that much weirder.”
In that same 2018 interview, Kirkman essentially said the zombie apocalypse’s cause matters very little because he doesn’t believe the series’ characters would buy any explanation. “Honestly if a scientist from Washington came to the character and told them what happened the characters would just shrug and say ‘Oh… okay,'” Kirkman said at the time. “It wouldn’t change their lives at all.”
In an interview from 2017, Kirkman said AMC’s The Walking Dead is unlikely to explore a cure for the infectious virus, citing that it “would be a boring show” if everything wrapped up neatly with a cure. So while the comic book has ended, we’ll have to wait and see how the television show continues to handle the walkers.