Over the last 6 Seasons of The Walking Dead we've watched one set of people grow more and more as they develop the skills necessary to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. However, we've also watched one set of people lose more and more, as the undead walkers slowly disintegrate with the passing of time.
But as some unbelievably savage walkers make it to our screens, largely thanks to make up special effects guru Greg Nicotero pushing the boundaries of what he can bring to life, he has recently confirmed a certain type of walker which will never appear on the screens of The Walking Dead – a skeleton walker.
Speaking to Tech Insider, Nicotero revealed that the show will never see the type of zombies inspired by visual effects artist Ray Harryhausen, whose work can be seen in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts. Nicotero explained his decision:
"The only thing you'll never see is a Ray Harryhausen[-inspired], perfectly clean skeleton walking around because obviously, there's no muscle. We still try to keep to the reality of [needing] muscle to move the bone to move the body, but it's just something that we continue to push every season with new sculptures and pushing the elements of what we can."
Makes sense, really! While the current generation of walkers are looking pretty dire, they still have enough of the muscles required to make walking possible. Nicotero also spoke about the continuing decay of walkers:
"Every season we take advantage of the advancement of our timeline and the advancement of our story and it's definitely something that we try to push in terms of more skeletal sloughing off skin, missing noses, exposed ribs, exposed organs ... all that stuff. Anything we can do to just further and continually suggest that these are walking, emaciated, decomposing corpses that have been wandering around in the sun, wandering around in the rain, wandering around in the elements for almost two years now."
I think anyone who has seen the first half of Season 6 can definitely confirm that there have been a lot of walkers in various states of decomposition indicating a decent period of time has passed since Season 1. Check out some of the top walkers from Season 1 of the show through to the most current season, and take note of how their features have slowly eroded:
Season 1 - fresh meat
Way back in Season 1 it was quite hard to tell the dead from the living. The walkers generally still had most of their body parts, their clothing wasn't too tattered, and it was only once they started racing toward you, hungry for flesh, that you knew they were definitely not alive.
Season 2 - well dweller
In Season 2, the flesh on the walkers started to darken as decay set in. We also started seeing walkers such as the iconic well walker, who had languished at the bottom of the Greene family well for so long that when he was finally hauled out he simply broke in half. Phoar, check out the innards on that guy!
Season 3 - a bad case of tendonitis
Season 3 saw further decomposition of skin, a lot of exposed muscles and tendons, soft tissue sloughed away, and an all around pitiful sight. The clothing the walkers were wearing when they died had also become irreparable by this stage, and there was definitely no mistaking these bone bags for anything except zombies.
Season 4 - walker fusion
Season 4 was the first season where I really noticed how quickly the walkers were falling apart. Their skulls suddenly seemed to give more easy under pressure, they seemed to stumble and fumble more than ever before, and also seemed to become less of a threat than in Seasons 1 - 3.
Season 5 - soggy sad sack
If the well walker in Season 2 was gruesome, then the basement dweller in Season 5 was horrific. Season 5 saw walkers become more grotesque than ever before: skin was basically black and clinging to bones, any clothes they once had were now unrecognizable, and sometimes non-existent, and often they had lost most of their hair.
Season 6 - quarry flapper
In Season 6 it's pretty evident that the walkers' skin is basically paper thin, and many of their features are literally sliding off their faces. With the skin coming off their bones with ease, this has also meant that Nicotero has been able to blend other elements with the walkers – such as being covered in moss, or in one case even having a cherokee rose grow through their back!
'The Walking Dead' returns with the mid-season premiere on AMC on February 14, 2016