It was a matter of time before Romero’s zombies hit the Big Apple. They started off on a small farm in Rural Pennsylvania, then invaded the Monroeville Mall (also in Pennsylvania), and then made their way to the Florida Everglades. Now he’s coming to New York City in a 15-issues miniseries from Marvel comics titled, EMPIRE OF THE DEAD … debuting in January 2014!! Why comic book form, you may ask. SImple:
“I could never afford to shoot [in NYC],” Romero, 73, says with a laugh.
Pretty practical!! What can we expect from EMPIRE OF THE DEAD?
It’s still the major metropolis everybody knows but a few years into its zombie apocalypse. Some things have reverted to a prior state — there are sheep grazing in Central Park’s Sheep Meadow. Yet there are strong social and political elements: The mayor is one of the main characters and a female member of the living dead starts to show some real smarts.
So it looks as though Romero is going to further explore the idea of intelligent zombies that he began in 1985 with Bub in DAY OF THE DEAD and explored a little more in 2005s LAND OF THE DEAD with the zombie character, Big Daddy. I’ve said many times before that I’m really not a fan of the “intelligent zombie” in Romero’s world. I didn’t mind Bub mainly because that was something different. But the idea that zombies can be civilized and taught to behave and live side by side with uninfected humans just doesn’t do anything for me (obviously this could have huge social and political themes for Romero). Romero also promises that there there will be a big twist in EMPIRE OF THE DEAD that will reverberate throughout all his zombie films. I’m thinking we’re finally gonna get the cause and origin of the zombie virus/outbreak.
Romero originally wrote a 300 page EMPIRE OF THE DEAD script but soon realized that no studio would finance the large budget that’d be required to film it, so he brought the idea to Marvel. Marvel jumped on it. According to USAtoday.com, one of the main themes in the miniseries will be, could zombies coexist with humans if the undead became more intelligent?
“These zombies are starting to show sparks of real care and concern for each other,” Romero says. “I’m not going to go all the way to Omega Man where they take over the world, but I’m having a lot of fun with it. We’ve got some new rules and new characters, and we’re taking it in a completely different direction.”
“It’s basically Chicago or Detroit. The city isn’t destroyed, but it’s just running on its engine, corrupt and no holds barred. It’s a little bit like the Old West,” says Romero, a lifelong fan of comics.
“That’s what I’m talking about now. There’s hardly any morality anywhere, except of course for our heroes.”
I’m definitely excited to see where Romero takes this story considering he doesn’t have the constraints of budgets. What do you think? Are you into seeing where the man who single-handedly created the zombie genre takes it?