(There are spoilers for Zack Snyder’s “Army of the Dead” on Netflix in this article)
Zack Snyder’s “Army of the Dead” is a pretty straightforward zombie movie. Or is it? Some fans have taken a line from the film, in which a character muses about being trapped in a time loop, more literally than they probably should have — and Snyder is happy to indulge this speculation.
The topic came up during the first day of Netflix’s Geeked Week on Monday, which is a series of streams in which Netflix is hyping up its nerdier shows and movies. Snyder was on to talk about “Army of the Dead” and its already announced spinoffs — no actual news from this portion of the stream — when hosts Mari Takahashi and Rahul Kohli delivered some questions from fans.
One of the questions was simply: “Time loop?”
So, for those who haven’t watched or whose memories of the film are hazy, there’s a scene in “Army of the Dead” in which a character — Omari Hardwick’s Vanderohe — floats the idea that the crew trying to pull this casino heist during the zombie outbreak are actually caught in a time loop.
The idea is inspired by three skeletons they find near the casino vault that just so happen to be wearing clothes that are extremely similar to the outfits worn by three of the main characters.
“It could be us in another timeline, and we’re caught in some infinite loop of fighting and dying, fighting and dying, fighting and dying. And Tanaka, the puppet master. Devil. God. And we — you, me, Guz and the rest of the team — simply pawns in some perverse play where we’re destined to repeat our failures. And finally, in some mind-bending ironic reveal, it all begins again.”
Here’s what Snyder had to say about this odd “Army of the Dead” wrinkle on the Geeked Week stream.
“So in the movie, there’s a sequence where one of the characters talks about the fact that maybe this whole adventure that they’re on, they’re caught in some infinite loop of fighting and dying and fighting and dying. And, um, it might be true. Who knows?” Snyder said.
“There’s a lot of clues in the movie that would support that theory. For instance, you see in that sequence, you see that there’s some skeletons. in the vault there’s like a shot of each of them, and you see a shot of one of our characters, and they happen to be wearing like the same necklace or the same — it’s them.
“When they actually get in the casino there’s a set of plans, and Scott says Tanaka had other teams in here before us. If you notice, the dead guys around that table are them again. So if you wanna play that game, it’s there to play.”
While Snyder is definitely encouraging this theory, and in the scenes mentioned the idea does seem to have some merit, there’s really no indication in the actual plot that a time loop is occurring. Instead, those skeletons feel like a metaphorical enhancement to the dream-like nature of “Army of the Dead.”
Also, it’s worth pointing out that “Army of the Dead” does not conclude with any kind of ironic reveal in which “it all begins again.” It actually just keeps going, with Vanderohe eventually surviving the nuclear blast because he was locked in the vault when it happened. So he leaves, buys a private jet with the casino money, and then discovers he’s been bitten.
That’s not a time loop. That’s a sequel setup. Though there is enough there that Snyder could make the time loop text in a sequel should he want to.