Why Army Of The Dead’s Zombie King Will Be Key To Snyder’s Shared Universe

Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead will be a very different kind of zombie movie, with its lead Alpha zombie Zeus being its most important character.

The ruler of the Alpha zombies, Zeus, will be the most pivotal character in Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead. The upcoming zombie-heist movie is days away from beginning a limited theatrical release just ahead of its official debut on Netflix on May 21, and much emphasis has been placed on it being a very different kind of zombie movie. Far from having a singular zombie horde to deal with, Army of the Dead‘s human characters will also face a new, more intelligent zombie breed called “Alphas.”

Even before Army of the Dead‘s debut, the movie is opening the door for an expansive world with its upcoming prequel Army of Thieves and anime series Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas. By positioning the Alphas as a more evolved subset of zombies, Army of the Dead is setting them up to be an indispensable element of the franchise going forward. That also means their leader Zeus will be the single most significant character in Army of the Dead.

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Portrayed in the movie by stunt performer Richard Cetrone, Zeus is being positioned as far from a run-of-the-mill zombie, or even one of the stand-outs among the Alphas, but a full-fledged character in his own right. Being the leader of a segment of the zombie population that’s already more intelligent and advanced than their shambler cousins, Zeus is more than just a prominent zombie among the countless thousands now populating Las Vegas. Zeus, on his own, is setting much of the template that the Army of the Dead universe will follow.

The marketing for Army of the Dead presents Zeus as royalty among the Alphas. Zeus is also shown to be a genuine zombie warrior, riding a white horse and donning a red cape while wielding a spear adorned with a human skull as he leads his fellow Alphas into battle. All of this makes Zeus quite possibly the only example of a member of the undead being more than a ravenous antagonist, but the actual sympathetic villain of a zombie movie.

Zack Snyder has described Army of the Dead as an “evolution” of the zombie genre, and few things could fit that description better than zombies developing intelligence and forming their own culture and social hierarchy. Granted, this is a concept that has been broached before in zombi movies, notably Warm Bodies, but that is an action rom-com, not the pure action-horror movie of Snyder. Along with other additions like robot-zombies, Army of the Dead‘s zombies are going to be significant to the franchise beyond just being reanimated corpses for the humans to slay, but movie monsters more comparable to Xenomorphs or Predators in how central they are to Army of the Dead and its forthcoming spin-offs. Still, none can claim to be more of a pillar to the series than the Alpha’s own ruler, Zeus.

Even if we assume that Zeus dies in the film, he’s still its most important character due to what he establishes about the world. Zeus commands an army of intelligent zombies, rules over them like a king, and leads them against the human mercenaries of the story. Compared to other zombie movies, Army of the Dead has everything it needs to set itself apart from the pack, but just as much to its benefit is the fact that it has all of that in a single, undead warrior-king in the form of Zeus.

NEXT: Army Of The Dead Zombies Explained: Alphas, Shamblers, And Animals

  • Army of the Dead (2021)Release date: May 21, 2021

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