Zombieland: Double Tap took a jab at The Walking Dead's unrealistic depiction of the zombie apocalypse. The long-awaited sequel features the return of its core group - Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita, and Little Rock - while also introducing a few new faces. After navigating the dangers of the world for the past decade, the group was more equipped than ever at facing off against the evolved undead.
When Zombieland first made its debut in 2009, the zombie craze was just about to rev back up. The popularity of Dawn of the Dead and Shaun of the Dead was a half of a decade prior but the trend was about to explode with the release of The Walking Dead. The AMC series based on Robert Kirkman's graphic novel series began one year after Zombieland was released. The Walking Dead turned into one of the most popular shows in TV history and its currently airing its milestone tenth season. In those years, Zombieland went on to become a cult classic which helped drive the desire for Zombieland 2. It's possible that The Walking Dead's influence on the zombie genre helped retain the interest in the film.
As a way to honor the biggest zombie project since the first movie's release, Zombieland 2 pokes fun as its successor. Early in the movie, Columbus was seen reading Issue 27 of The Walking Dead comic. He mocked the story and claimed that it was an unrealistic portrayal of the zombie apocalypse. It was an amusing throwaway gag targeting the biggest title focused on the undead. It also served as a fun connection considering the comics started in 2003, six years before the release of Zombieland, so it would be very possible that Columbus was familiar with the series. Maybe he even based some of his survival rules on the knowledge he previously learned from The Walking Dead.
When comparing the undead depicted in the Zombieland movies and The Walking Dead, they're entirely different. The Walking Dead features slow-moving roamers, which was why they are referred to as "walkers." Even though zombies have always been a central factor of the series, the undead has become an afterthought. The largest threats are now the rival groups of survivors who are often more dangerous than the zombies themselves.
Zombieland invented a more frightening form of the undead considering they could move much faster with the ability to run and climb. Zombieland: Double Tap revealed that the undead evolved over time and some of them have gained greater agility. This proposed a new threat to the gang as they were forced to face hordes of "superzombies." The undead, rather than the survivors as is the case with The Walking Dead, remained the primary danger in the franchise. For some, watching humans face off against hordes of highly-evolved superzombies will be much more appealing than learning how an apocalypse ruined society.
- Zombieland: Double Tap/Zombieland 2 (2019) release date: Oct 18, 2019