Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead packs a number of memorable moments, one of which being the suspenseful final scene which leaves the future of the planet in jeopardy.
It’s not hugely surprising that the movie ended on something of a cliffhanger, given that Netflix is keen to turn this into a major ongoing franchise for its service, with two Army of the Dead spin-offs already in the works.
The Army of the Dead ending leaves the future uncertain for two key characters, while a scene earlier in the movie questions whether anything in this universe is exactly as it seems.
RadioTimes.com has your full breakdown of the climactic events as well as the latest comments from Zack Snyder about a popular time loop theory and potential Army of the Dead 2. Read on, but beware spoilers follow.
Army of the Dead ending explained: Will Vanderohe survive?
Whenever a horror movie introduces a large ensemble cast, you can usually bet that the final bodycount is going to be rather high and that was certainly the case with Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead.
As the film enters its final act, most of the heist crew put together by mercenary Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) have already met nasty fates at the hands of the undead hordes that have taken over Las Vegas.
The last big action set-piece of the film sees Scott, his daughter Kate (Ella Purnell) and friend Marianne (Tig Notaro) flying out of the city in a helicopter as they attempt to outpace the aftermath of a nuclear missile.
If that wasn’t difficult enough, there’s also the small matter of a furious alpha zombie on board, which ultimately takes a bite out of Scott before the aircraft loses control and crashes just outside the blast radius.
After a tearful goodbye, Kate makes the tough decision to kill her infected father which – to the best of her knowledge – puts an end to the zombie plague once and for all.
Kate is the only confirmed survivor of the helicopter crash although it’s possible that the non-responsive Marianne could simply be unconscious, particularly as Tig Notaro is sure to be a fan favourite among the Army of the Dead cast.
The bigger question lies with the fate of fellow team member Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick), who is locked in Bly Tanaka’s heavy duty safe by Ludwig Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer) earlier in the film, to protect him from an incoming zombie horde.
In true Indiana Jones style, Vanderohe is able to survive the nuclear strike on Las Vegas inside his metal container and breaks his way out of the safe shortly after.
Walking through an irradiated bomb zone surely can’t be good for your health, but he’s able to make the long trek to civilisation with a hefty fortune in hand, ending up at a small airport where he swiftly buys a private jet in cash.
It seems for a moment like Vanderohe might well get his happy ending as he briefly enjoys luxury treatment aboard his swanky new craft, but alas, it’s all a bit too good to be true.
After taking a funny turn, he rushes to the bathroom and discovers a zombie bite on his arm which is likely to have come from the alpha leader known as Zeus, which he had fought earlier in the film.
Army of the Dead ends with Vanderohe laughing to himself about how close he came to a new life, only to instead become the last remaining carrier of the zombie infection.
If Zack Snyder does return for a sequel, Vanderohe will seemingly play a crucial role in continuing his story, as the director told RadioTimes.com and other press that he has a “hilarious and obvious” idea for a follow-up.
Meanwhile, actor Omari Hardwick said that he and Snyder have “definitely talked about” where his character could go next, adding that he’s “ready” to reprise his role for another instalment.
“I’m trying to stay in that level of shape so that when I’m called upon and thrown back into the zombie world – even if it’s as a zombie – then I’m ready to play and add to the story again,” he said.
Our prediction: Vanderohe will become the next alpha zombie leader, taking the place of the defeated Zeus and repopulating the infected population.
Army of the Dead: Are the team trapped in a time loop?
One particular Army of the Dead moment which is sure to get fans talking happens as Vanderohe and Ludwig are working on hacking into Bly Tanaka’s safe.
In the corridor just outside, there are several decomposed corpses – thought to be a failed team that Tanaka had sent in before them – but Vanderohe points out that they look strangely similar to themselves, right down to what they’re wearing.
He muses that perhaps it is, in fact, them and that they are trapped in a never-ending cycle of violence and death; director Zack Snyder shed some light on that idea in an interview with RadioTimes.com and other press.
He said: “Those kinds of things, I think, are a fun and very in-world kind of concept. And the funny thing about it is that the zombies that we put down there, those hero dead zombies, that is them, right? They’re really the same, they’re wearing the same clothes.
“When I was with the costume designer, she was like, ‘Oh, so we’ll just put some zombies on the ground’. I’m like, ‘No, it’s them.’ And she goes, ‘how is it them?’ And I go, ‘I don’t know, how is it them? You tell me’. That’s always fun.”
From these comments, it appears that this was a very deliberate inclusion on behalf of Snyder rather than just a throwaway joke, meaning it’s possible we could see this plot thread reappear in future Army of the Dead projects.