Along with thinking, organized zombies, Zack Snyder’s living mercenaries in the upcoming Army of the Dead will have to deal with at least one undead white tiger as they venture into the overrun ruins of Las Vegas in search of $200 million dollars stashed in an abandoned casino. The idea of an army of zombies having an inexhaustible tiger among their ranks is alarming enough, but according to director Snyder, at one point he decided to go a bit bigger.
Like the bulk of Army of the Undead’s zombies, the movie’s monstrous tiger was brought (back) to life with the use of CGI rather than having an actual animal anywhere on set. While the creative team did end up using one of Carole Baskin’s (of Tiger King infamy) tigers to craft their deformed creature, Snyder explains in a new Netflix featurette that he contemplated going bigger on the idea of zombie animals. “I think for a while there was this whole sequence where, like, there was like a zoo that, you know had been overrun by zombies. And so, there was a bunch of zombie[fied] all sorts of different creatures. Obviously, we ended up with a white tiger. In Vegas, that felt like the real...you couldn’t get it wrong.”
Zombies’ interest in non-human living beings varies from story to story, and while it’s always been interesting that the undead for some reason ignore animals, zombie animals also present a compelling enemy for humans. Even when zombified humans are fast and amped up on whatever pathogens compel them to scarf down flesh, they’re still just people who can be taken out with a few well-placed shots to the legs. Tigers, on the other hand, are a different kind of predator whose physical limitations while alive probably don’t apply to the infected versions. A regular tiger might get tired chasing after its prey, but a zombie one not so much.
If Army of the Dead ends up being a hit that people want to see more of, it’d be very interesting to see this zombie animal idea expanded upon going forward, especially if, at some point, the zombie animals realize that living flesh is a finite resource they might have to fight their zombified human counterparts for.
Army of the Dead is set to release May 14 in theaters, May 21 on Netflix.
For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.