Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Ending Of Zombieland: Double Tap Explained

Ever since the first Zombieland film staggered into theaters in 2009, fans have clamored for a sequel, but at the time, it seemed unlikely that anyone who enjoyed the first film anticipated that they would end up waiting a full decade for a follow-up. However, thanks to a star-studded cast constantly in demand for other projects and the film's creative team tied up with other commitments (specifically Deadpool and its sequel, which was also written by Zombieland scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick), Zombieland: Double Tap was a long time coming.

Thankfully, diehard fans will definitely decide the wait was worth it. By reassembling the original creative team as well as the four core members of the cast — Jesse Eisenberg as Columbus, Woody Harrelson as Tallahassee, Abigail Breslin as Little Rock, and Emma Stone as Wichita — Zombieland: Double Tap feels perfectly faithful to the original while still keeping things fresh by throwing a few curveballs into a familiar mix. With talented comedic actors like Zoey Deutch, Rosario Dawson, Thomas Middleditch, and Luke Wilson joining the fray alongside Zombieland's core four, Double Tap is definitely a return to form, but the new faces keep the story lively and well-paced as the gang and their new friends outrun new, evolved zombies that can survive even the most creative of kills. 

From new zombies to every major storyline in this long-awaited sequel, here's everything you need to know about the ending of Zombieland: Double Tap

Ten years later...

As the film opens, we find our four main heroes making their way to a new yet entirely familiar home: an abandoned White House, which serves as a safe haven for Columbus, Tallahassee, Little Rock, and Wichita. The foursome have settled into routines beloved by some and resented by others; Little Rock is desperate to meet people her own age but feels smothered by father figure Tallahassee, and Wichita and Columbus are finding themselves in a bit of a romantic rut after years together.

However, Columbus inadvertently shakes up the entire situation by proposing to a terrified and unwilling Wichita (with the Hope Diamond, no less), who immediately takes off with Little Rock, leaving the two men behind to sulk. Audiences need not worry, though, because Wichita isn't gone for long — after about a month, she comes back to the White House for guns and ammo, as well as to tell Columbus and Tallahassee that Little Rock has run off with a hippie pacifist named Berkeley (Avan Jogia) who refuses to use guns. Horrified and worried, the remaining members of the gang set off to find and rescue their youngest cohort, guns predictably blazing. Before they can leave, however, they've got a new hurdle to overcome; specifically, a new, very bubbly, and very ditzy surviving human, who shows basically no instinct for survival whatsoever.

A chance meeting at the mall

In the aftermath of Wichita rejecting his proposal and abandoning him, Columbus is left desolate, mourning the end of his relationship and the fact that one of the only surviving women in the world has left him forever. However, thanks to a visit to the mall, he ends up pretty much immediately rebounding with Madison (Zoey Deutch), a pink-clad blonde who has been living in a freezer at the complex's Pinkberry yogurt shop for years. Columbus is initially reluctant, even after he brings her home to the White House to show her the Lincoln Bedroom, but when Madison makes it clear that she's been a little too lonely for way too long, he gives in pretty easily.

Wichita's reappearance obviously throws a huge wrench into Columbus' newfound Madison situation — what with Wichita throwing passive-aggressive glances towards the bubbly blonde almost constantly and directing witty barbs at her whenever possible — but ultimately, a solution to the problem becomes pretty apparent. During a drive in the gang's new minivan (a car Tallahassee desperately keeps trying to abandon), Madison suddenly falls incredibly ill, and when she gets sick by the side of the road, it seems as if she has been turned into a super-powered zombie. Columbus is tasked with taking her out, and two unseen gunshots later, the gang is back on the road to find Little Rock.

Zombies from worst to best

Right at the beginning of the film, Columbus uses one of his signature voiceovers to introduce the audience to the new categories of zombie as named by the gang, indicating that in the years since the first Zombieland, zombies have changed for the better — and for the worse.

The most harmless possible category, which usually gets distracted by shiny objects despite their apparent blood thirst, are known as "Homers," named for the iconic yet idiotic main character from The Simpsons. Right after Homers are "Hawkings," much smarter zombies who can come up with ingenious solutions to hunt their prey (during the film's opening, one Hawking shows off a particularly gruesome kill involving an eye-scanning security lock in a laboratory). After that, there are "Ninjas," the sneakiest and fastest zombies; according to Columbus, the first sound they'll cause is your own screams as you die at their bloody hands.

Unfortunately for our heroes, there's an even more dangerous category of zombie, which they stumble upon shortly after they depart the White House. These new zombies, which are extraordinarily difficult to kill and can take a serious beating, are dubbed "T-800s" after the Terminator — and if that sounds like a pretty ominous sign to you, then you're right. Zombies seemed easy enough to kill during the first Zombieland film, but it's clear that they've come a long way in the past ten years. 

Tracking the King

After disposing of Madison and their first T-800, the gang goes to Graceland, where Wichita says Little Rock and her new beau are heading. Tallahassee is uncharacteristically pretty thrilled about this development; as a huge Elvis fan, he's always wanted to see Graceland, and after talking about his excitement for the entire car ride, he's both crestfallen and completely furious when he, Wichita, and Columbus discover the burnt rubble of Elvis' former home.

Before too long, they stumble upon a well-lit accommodation called the Hound Dog Hotel, and much to Tallahassee's delight, the hotel is fully stocked with Elvis memorabilia, including plenty of records, Elvis' real clothes, and even his actual blue suede shoes (which fit Columbus and not Tallahassee, infuriating the latter). Tallahassee makes himself at home, playing an Elvis song on the property's white piano, but is accosted by the hotel's proprietor, Nevada (Rosario Dawson), who immediately holds him at gunpoint. After the gang talks Nevada down, she tells them that she did see Little Rock and Berkeley and that the pair are on their way to Babylon, a protected pacifist commune.

Nevada softens up a bit over a few glasses of scotch with Tallahassee, and after the two bond over their shared love of Elvis, they share a steamy night together. However, they wake up to see they have some new visitors who have arrived overnight — and wrecked Tallahassee's tricked-out car, the Beast.

Doomed doppelgängers

When the gang wanders out to see who's causing such a racket outside, Wichita is the first to notice how, well, similar the newcomers seem to two of their own. Albuquerque (Luke Wilson), with his cowboy hat, sling of fully-stocked ammunition, and over-the-top attitude, seems like an exact double for Tallahassee, while Flagstaff (Silicon Valley's Thomas Middleditch), with his set of "commandments" and nerdy exterior, is entirely too similar to Columbus. Each man feels pretty competitive with his doppelgänger, and when Albuquerque and Flagstaff head outside to take down a few hyperactive T-800s, Tallahassee and Columbus watch enviously from inside, flanked by Nevada and Wichita.

However, when the two doppelgängers get back inside, it becomes clear they were both bitten by the super-evolved zombies in their attempts to take them down, and when both men get violently ill, the gang only has minutes to prepare their defense before Albuquerque and Flagstaff fully become zombies and violently attack. With Nevada and Wichita as backup, Tallahassee and Columbus dispose of their doppelgängers, turning a funny subplot into a particularly dark part of the film.

As the gang sets off (and Nevada says a particularly affectionate goodbye to Tallahassee), they end up finding a familiar and fairly unwelcome face on the road. As it turns out, Columbus didn't actually shoot Madison, who never became a zombie at all — she was just allergic to trail mix and in the midst of anaphylaxis.  

Finding Babylon

With Madison in tow, the gang finally finds their way to Babylon, a totally millennial and seemingly successful stronghold complete with an enormous tower that's protected by walls on all sides. Much to the gang's chagrin, guns are immediately confiscated and melted down at Babylon, which promotes a pacifist way of life and is mostly just filled with twenty-somethings doing the world's last remaining drugs and playing hacky sack. After reuniting with Little Rock, the gang realizes that she's happy being with friends her own age, and they all realize they need to give her a little room to live her life.

Tallahassee, who has been itching to return to the road for the entire film, decides to leave Babylon and set off on his own once more, but as he drives away in a newly purloined pickup truck, he notices a veritable ton of super-fast T-800 zombies heading right for Babylon, which is, of course, setting off fireworks and playing music as loudly as possible.

Tallahassee reverses course immediately and returns to Babylon, warning its inhabitants as he tries to figure out a course of action to defend the complex considering there are absolutely zero weapons on the premises. Eventually, they come up with a solution involving plenty of biofuel and fire, but as the four heroes stand surrounded by zombies with only shovels to defend themselves, they huddle together with love, thinking the end has finally come.

Deus ex Nevada

In the end, Double Tap doesn't dispose of its four main characters during their final showdown; as they hold each other while the zombies approach, a monster truck, driven by Nevada, arrives to mow down as many zombies as possible, and once they all pile in, they return to Babylon, where the weakened residents are attempting to barricade themselves against hordes of vicious, superfast undead.

Tallahassee's plan, as it turns out, left no stone unturned, thanks in part to his newfound heritage. Early in the film, the Floridian fighter bores Columbus with an explanation about his Native American bloodline, rattling off a long story about Native American hunters luring buffalo off of a cliff. Since nothing in the Zombieland films ever happens by accident, it seems inevitable that this story would end up serving an important purpose. 

Naturally, it does. As Tallahassee and his cohorts bring the zombies upstairs, it turns out they have a trap laid on top of Babylon's highest tower, and while Tallahassee clings to a dangling hook, zombies leap to their death. When the two last zombies manage to catch a hold of his foot, it seems like Zombieland's toughest hero might fall, but his littlest friend comes to his aid. Babylon might not allow any guns, but Little Rock snuck one in; specifically, Elvis' gun that Tallahassee gave to her for Christmas, which she uses to kill the last of the zombie horde and save Tallahassee's life.

Apocalyptic happy endings

In the aftermath of the massive zombie attack on Babylon, several characters come back together for happy endings.

Tallahassee and Nevada happily reunite after he shares an emotional embrace with his surrogate daughter, Little Rock, and with Little Rock's blessing, Madison and Berkeley pair off. Most importantly, Wichita turns to Columbus and says the only word she needs to say — "yes" — and the two officially get engaged, despite Wichita's misgivings about marriage and the pair's recent split. As Columbus slides the Hope Diamond onto Wichita's finger, the audience realizes his belief that the two are meant to be together is exactly right; their relationship isn't a product of being stuck together in Zombieland, but a true and real connection.

Along with Nevada, the gang drives off in Elvis Presley's pink Cadillac, with their destination completely unknown. When asked where they should go together, Columbus simply says, "home," ultimately elaborating that, with his chosen family, home can be anywhere in the world. As they drive away, a lone zombie stumbles after the car, decorated with a "Just Married" sign and cans, as our heroes drive off into an uncertain future. It might seem odd for a zombie movie to have such a happy ending, but that's simply the Zombieland style: it lets its heroes have everything they want, even as the world around them crumbles.

More Murray

Of course, no Zombieland film would be complete without a celebrity cameo, particularly after the first film's Bill Murray guest spot. Naturally, Murray comes up pretty quickly in the film; shortly after the gang meets Nevada, she says she almost "Murrayed" Tallahassee, explaining that shooting a human you think might be a zombie is called "Murraying" and that she will happily hunt down whomever did that to the comedy legend in the first place. (In case you forgot, the culprit is Columbus, who got startled during the first Zombieland movie and blew a hole clean through Murray's chest in the actor's own home.)

During the credits, Columbus gives the audience a glimpse at Murray's first day in the zombie apocalypse, which initially finds him conducting unenthusiastic press interviews for the fictional Garfield 3: Flabby Tabby (in a reference to his "only regret" in the first film). After Al Roker succumbs to the zombie infection, Murray mows his way through a press room, gleefully taking out zombies while quoting everything from Ghostbusters to Caddyshack to, well, Garfield, proclaiming "I hate Mondays" as the real credits begin to roll. 

Double Tap already has a pretty stacked cast, but it wouldn't feel right to leave Murray out of the fun, and this time, he has even more to do, giving audiences closure on the comedy legend's contributions to the Zombieland film franchise.

Will there be a third Zombieland film?

The ending of Double Tap sees our heroes literally riding off into the sunset, but as with the first film, which ended in a pretty similar way, the movie definitely leaves the door open for a possible third Zombieland.

However, after a ten-year wait between the first Zombieland film and its sequel, it also seems as if assembling the teams on either side of the camera might be a pretty Herculean task. Stone, Harrelson, Breslin, and Eisenberg are all more in demand than ever — the film's trailer brags that all of the core cast members are Academy Award nominees and, of course, that Stone is an Academy Award winner for her role in La La Land — and writers Reese and Wernick have been involved in a ton of high-profile projects since they made a splash with the first Zombieland (including Deadpool, which delayed Double Tap).

With that said, zombie stories are always an extraordinarily rich creative well, so a third Zombieland film would likely not only be well-received, but well-attended to boot. If Double Tap closes out this witty, clever series, its ending serves as a perfect coda to this extremely fun saga, but there are absolutely still more stories to experience alongside Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, Little Rock, and their new friend Nevada.