When The Walking Dead first premiered in 2010, no one could've predicted how extremely popular the series would become with television audiences. There had been some zombie apocalypse storylines on the big screen, but the real monster fixation was previously on vampires. The Twilight series had captivated the world, and showrunners didn't know whether or not the zombie apocalypse storyline in The Walking Dead would be a major hit. Yet, it wasn't long before the entire world went zombie crazy and people really fell in love with the character dynamics in the series.
Everyone seemed to have their own favorite character amongst the main cast, and there was real heartbreak every time one of the main characters was killed off. While there are still some of the main characters left over from the first season, a number of key characters were killed off long ago. While the majority of the storyline once revolved solely on the struggle to survive against the walkers, it seems like the recent seasons have focused more on the power struggle amongst the other survivors. In fact, that's been one of the biggest criticisms of the series since the show has started to steer away from focusing on the walkers, and some of the newer characters have become the biggest part of the show. Characters like Jadis the Trash Queen and Negan have dominated recent episodes, and it's causing many fans to cry out for more focus on the walkers. With so much changing in the series over the years, check out our list of the 15 things nobody knew about the walkers, and see how they've evolved throughout the series.
15 Everybody's Already Infected
When Rick and his group made their way to the Center for Disease Control, there was hope that there might be a chance for a cure. Yet, meeting Dr. Jenner wasn't exactly hopeful for their group at the CDC. Instead, Rick learned something that none of the other characters knew, which was the fact that everybody was already infected with the disease. This meant that regardless of how an individual was to die, the body would regenerate as a walker upon his or her death. Rick didn't immediately share this information with the rest of the group, and in the comics, the characters actually figured this out on their own. Prior to figuring this out, everyone believed that a scratch or an unseen bite from a walker must be the reason why someone turned.
14 Follow The Leader
There have been a number of different types of zombies that have appeared on the big screen and on television over the years, with all of them having very distinctly different characteristics. One of the defining characteristics of the walkers in The Walking Dead is the fact that they can be corralled due to their "Follow the leader" attitude. Rather than each of the walkers working independently, they seem to have the mentality of sheep. The way they tend to follow one another is a huge reason why giant hoards of walkers have congregated together. This is a huge problem in the zombie apocalypse because individual walkers can be easily eliminated but giant hoards can cause massive damage and casualties. Yet, the humans have been able to use this "Follow the leader" mentality to their advantage by driving them away from their safe haven.
13 Easily Distracted
While the walkers in The Walking Dead are definitely a force to be reckoned with, that doesn't mean that they'll hunt humans indefinitely. One of the best examples of this was when Glenn found himself trapped beneath a dumpster with a giant hoard surrounding him. The walkers saw that there were two humans standing atop the dumpster and continued to pursue him once he struggled to get beneath the dumpster. Glenn was able to kill a few of the closest ones, but it seemed like he would be trapped beneath the dumpster forever. Yet, the walkers soon lost interest because they were easily distracted. Something as simple as just a noise from nearby garbage was able to lead one of the walkers away, which made the others follow.
12 Dependent On Scent
One of the most interesting things about the walkers in The Walking Dead is the fact that they can be fooled into thinking that there are no humans present, based on scent. This is quite different from other zombies from other television shows and films. They aren't able to detect a heartbeat, but instead, they seem reliant on their sense of smell. This seems a bit odd since their sense of sight seems completely dulled. They can look directly at a human being, but if they're covered in the scent of a dead walker, they're basically invisible. This has come in handy on a number of occasions when people have needed to walk through a hoard. Yet, the scent doesn't last if it starts to rain or if the person starts to exude his or her own overwhelming scent.
11 Brain Kill Needed
One of the elements of fighting walkers that people had to grasp their minds around is the fact that there's extreme difficulty in taking them down. While a normal person would stop pursuing after multiple gunshots or stab wounds, a walker won't stop unless it suffers from a brain injury. This has been featured in The Walking Dead on a number of occasions. When the inmates at the jail were being taught how to kill the walkers, they seemed completely dumbfounded that their brawl-like fighting style wasn't taking the walkers down. It took them a while to figure out that they needed to club or stab them in the head in order for them to die. Later, there were walkers that had head coverings, which made it extremely difficult to take them down.
10 Physical Ailments Don't Hinder Walkers
One of the most interesting aspects of the walkers is the fact that nothing seems to hinder their ability to reanimate and pursue their hunger for humans and animals. There have been a number of walkers featured in the series, but none of them seem hindered by the physical ailments they had to deal with while they were alive. Occasionally, the show did feature a walker or two that was wearing a cast, but it's not like there are walkers wheeling themselves around in wheelchairs. There aren't any blind walkers with walking canes, and none of them seem hindered in the least when their intestines are hanging outside of their bodies. During the very first episode, Rick saw a walker that was basically only half a body, and it was still trying to get around.
9 No Collaboration Abilities
The walkers in The Walking Dead aren't exactly depicted as being intelligent. They're basically just reanimated corpses that have only maintained their most basic need for sustenance. They don't seem to have any sort of logical thinking skills, and they don't seem to have the ability to communicate with one another. In fact, the only time that they seem to collaborate with one another at any level is when they just group together in a horde. This is quite different from other zombie creatures that have been featured in various other films and television shows. A great example is the Will Smith film I Am Legend. These creatures seemed to have cognitive abilities. One was even able to construct a trap and acted almost like a general in the way he was able to order the others around him to do his bidding.
8 No Animal Walkers
Because all of the humans are already infected in The Walking Dead, it should stand to reason that the animals are also infected. Yet, there hasn't been a walker animal that's been featured in the series. This is actually quite different from other depictions that have had quite a storyline regarding the animals that have been affected by zombie-like afflictions. In the Will Smith film I Am Legend, the most heartbreaking moment was when Robert Neville's dog became afflicted and completely forgot his owner and went on the attack. There have been other animals that have gone into a zombie-like state, from the wight animals and the White Walkers riding dead horses in Game of Thrones to the many other undead animals in other zombie depictions.
7 Varying Degrees Of Intelligence
There have been some slight differences in the walkers that were featured in the early seasons of The Walking Dead and the walkers featured in the more recent seasons. This could be because of the way the show has evolved, or it could mean that the walkers actually have a varying degree of intelligence. A great example is the way Morgan's wife was depicted during Season 1 of the series. She seemed to have some sort of cognitive ability when it came to her house. She seemed to know where the house was and would often come to visit it. She also had the ability to turn doorknobs, while other walkers are seen just banging themselves on doors and windows. Things would definitely be different if walkers could be seen trying to unlock doors and windows.
6 Body Continues To Decompose
When people are bitten by a walker, they quickly begin to show signs of the infection that will ultimately take their lives. The high fever is one of the tell-tale signs that the body is starting to shut down, and the inevitable death ultimately comes. Depending on how badly they're injured upon their death, the walker is generally at its strongest immediately following its death. This was shown during Season 1 of the show when some of the walkers chasing Rick seemed incredibly agile and strong. Yet, as the seasons began to progress, the walkers seemed slower and more decomposed. Despite the fact that the walkers are reanimated upon their death, that doesn't mean that their bodies don't decay. Some of the walkers look practically skeletal in their appearance.
5 Decomposing At A Different Rate
While the walkers in The Walking Dead are the reanimated corpses of the living and their bodies are decomposing, it's not exactly at the same rate of how regular bodies would decompose. This is probably because of the logistical problem of depicting this on the small screen. The makeup artists and costume designers already have a huge feat to accomplish the look of a decomposed body, and it would probably be far more difficult to create a more realistic look. One of the things that always seem to stand out about decomposing corpses is the fact that their hair and fingernails continue to grow even after death. Yet, it would probably be too difficult for the costume designers to put fake nails and rock-band hair on all the walkers.
4 Walkers Can Be Altered To Be Docile
Many of the other undead characters that have been featured in various films and television shows are depicted as being absolutely vicious. Yet, the walkers in The Walking Dead are actually able to be tamed if certain procedures are done. This was first seen when Michonne's character made an appearance in the series. She was seen as almost maniacal when she roamed with two walkers trailing by her side by the use of a rope. Their jaws were broken, their teeth were removed, and their arms had been chopped off. This procedure resulted in the same sort of cloaking that can occur when the characters douse themselves with walker blood and guts. This was useful to Michonne when she roamed the world alone, and it interested The Governor how she was able to make the walkers docile.
3 Walkers Have No Memory Of Former Life
There was a small discrepancy regarding the memory of the walkers from the beginning of the series to most recently. During Season 1, it seemed like Morgan's wife actually had some sort of memory regarding her former life. She often returned to her former home, which seemed odd because that's not exactly how the walkers behaved later on in the series. Walkers seemed like they were completely devoid of the memories from their former lives. This aspect of the undead was researched at length by The Governor. He was so desperate to have his daughter return to him that he conducted experiments to see if there was any way that sort of thing could be tested or improved upon. One of the elderly citizens was used as part of an experiment, but it was obvious that none of his former memories remained upon his death.
2 Scratches Don’t Infect Through The Bloodstream
During the early seasons of The Walking Dead, the characters seemed completely consumed by the idea that being scratched by a walker would cause the same sort of infection as a walker bite. The characters would warn each other not to allow the walkers to scratch them, and they would even check each other for scratches. This same notion remained until the group first entered the prison. Maggie and Glenn even checked each other for walker scratches inside their cell. Yet, that's changed in recent seasons because many characters have had open wounds, which have had walker blood enter it. Rick had a horrible cut on his hand while he fought with walkers, but it seems that the scratches and blood don't infect. It seems more like the infection passes in the saliva like rabies.
1 Attracted To Fire
One of the ways to combat the walkers in The Walking Dead has been the use of fire. Morgan had been seen burning the dead while he roamed the world alone in order to "clear" areas. Yet, fire has been determined to be more than just a way to get rid of the dead bodies. The crackling noises of the flames, the flickering of the fire, and the bright heat are quite alluring to the walkers. This has been a great way to lure them into areas, as well as lure them away from safe areas. This was seen at various times in The Walking Dead, but the most memorable moment was when gasoline was used by Daryl in Alexandria and the mass hoard just walked into the flames.
Sources: Skybound, Digital Spy, Walking Dead Wikia