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The Walking Dead's Walkers Changed And You Never Noticed

AMC's The Walking Dead didn't become a pop culture phenomenon out of pure happenstance. Its fascinating premise, high production value, and tense atmosphere make it impossible to miss from week to week. A major factor in selling these aspects is the all-star cast, who made what could have been just another run-of-the-mill zombie apocalypse story into so much more. Talents like Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes), Lauren Cohan (Maggie Rhee), David Morrissey (The Governor), among others, breathed life into this undead tale, captivating viewers' imaginations and giving them a reason to invest in the human drama TWD puts at the forefront. Their triumphs, conflicts, and all too frequent heartbreak help the show stand out from the pack.

Of course, what would The Walking Dead be without decaying hordes running amok across planet Earth? While the last vestiges of humanity hash it out over dwindling resources and community influence, walkers roam around with only one goal in mind: satisfying their hunger for flesh. As the series has progressed, they've become much less a plot point, and more so a background element to be employed for dramatic effect. As a result, the showrunners have been able to covertly make some changes to the zombified masses over time to better suit the story. 

Here's what they ultimately changed about The Walking Dead's walkers that likely slipped right past you.

Walkers aren't as resourceful as they once were

In a recent Reddit thread, user SmithVR brings up a particular Walking Dead scene in which a walker seemingly broke character. "I remember in an early episode when they covered themselves in zombie guts to get through a bunch of walkers. After they cleared the zombies and the fence there was one walker that was especially athletic; he ran and jumped the fence," they wrote, mentioning that they can't point out any scene quite like it since. 

Euphoric-Anteater366 tossed in a few more examples, commenting "Remember Morgan's (zombie) wife? She came to their front door and tried to turn the doorknob. Or the little girl zombie in episode 1 who stopped to pick up her stuffed bunny." They also recall Milton's (Dallas Roberts) tedious study over the behavioral patterns of walkers and his interest in how much knowledge they retain once they've reanimated. The Redditor explains that the walkers' sentience wasn't just an artistic choice but rather an entire plotline.

Redditor R-D-I- adds onto this point, saying, "That was actually Darabont's interpretation," citing Frank Darabont's involvement in the early seasons of TWD before his departure during season 2. "There was also a zombie that picked up a rock to break the glass," they continue, mentioning that the creator of The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman, wasn't a fan of this behavior, implying his involvement in its eventual disappearance.

Reddit user ark092 sums it up best, stating that "Walking Dead was always supposed to be about people, the zombies were just a backdrop," noting that mildly intelligent zombies "never really gelled with Kirkman's vision." In the context of Kirkman's original storytelling aims, this aspect of the Walking Dead fading away is surely for the best.