Morgan Freeman Talks To io9 About The Potential For A Zombie Plague

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Tonight's episode of Through the Wormhole asks a question near-and-dear to our hearts: Could a zombie apocalypse actually happen? We spoke to host Morgan Freeman and producer Megan Parlen to learn more.

The Science Channel's Emmy-nominated show is back for its fifth season. Tonight's episode, "Is a Zombie Apocalypse Possible," airs at 10pm ET/PT.


Most of us dismiss the idea of a zombie pandemic out of hand. But as the new episode of Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman points out, there's some scientific evidence to back up the notion. We talked one-on-one with Freeman about the potential for a zombie uprising.

Tonight's episode of Through The Wormhole has the disturbing title "Is a Zombie Apocalypse Possible?" And the show reveals some science to back up this idea: There are a number of pathogens that turn insects into the walking dead, such as the zombie ant virus and rabies. At the same time, new viruses are appearing with disturbing regularity. So it's possible that a zombie-like virus could start to make its way through the human population.

But just how plausible is this scenario?

"I kind of pooh-poohed the zombie apocalypse idea until I actually read the information on it," Freeman tells io9. "Zombies have actually been shown to exist in nature — and I can clearly see that. But to make a case for it among humans, too, given our technology and how it could control us, I think that it presents a different interpretation than what we typically think of as zombies."

Supervising producer Megan Parlen agrees.

"The topic initially seemed outwardly ridiculous and even scifi, but there is so much fascinating science behind it, like the epidemiology, how certain viruses are spread, and the nature of consciousness," she says. "So it turned out to be a science-heavy but really fun episode. We were all very surprised."


She added: "The zombie episode presents some troubling issues, like how vulnerable we are to being controlled, and how we're becoming increasingly susceptible to technology."

In addition to zombie plagues, Freeman believes technology could turn us into mind-controlled zombies, like the Borg. I asked him why this scenario concerns him so much.


"Let me ask you a question, George," Freeman said. "Do you use a cell phone? How do you feel when you can't find it."

"Like I've lost a part of my body," I replied.

"Exactly — a development that's happened within the last 10 to 15 years," said Freeman. "Sometime before that, life was going along pretty good. The thing that our technology does, is that it allows us to rely on machinery to do the thinking, the physical labor. The technology will eventually — and Stephen Hawking agrees with me on this — become the governing force."

Watch the show tonight on the Science Channel at 10:00pm ET/PT

Images: Walking Dead | Through the Wormhole

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