Through seven seasons of The Walking Dead (and three of its spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead), we have seen the apocalyptic survivors fight off every type of walker imaginable — from ones that have been burnt to a crisp, to bloated water walkers, and amputees. But we’ve never seen what happens to a walker when it is frozen solid.
During a Q&A session at Walker Stalker Con 2018, creator and producer Robert Kirkman addressed the burning (er, cold?) question that keeps coming up, season after season: Why haven’t we seen winter yet on the show? Expectedly, it would be tough to create a winter wonderland during filming, which takes place in Atlanta during the hottest months of the year. According to Kirkman, “…it’s impractical to cover Georgia with snow in the summertime, don’t quite have the budget for that.”
Beyond that, it presents new challenges for the survivors as well. How can one comfortably take shelter outdoors, and battle walkers, in the freezing cold? Not to mention the serious wardrobe updates that would be required; there is no way Daryl (Norman Reedus) would survive a frigid winter in just that leather jacket, nor Michonne (Danai Gurira) in her signature tank.
Winter weather has been showcased a few times in the comics, on which the AMC series is based, given that the main group is now supposed to be in Virginia. But in the series, time seems to jump right through winter.
Scott M. Gimple, former showrunner (he will now serve as the chief content officer for Fear the Walking Dead) said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 2015 that they have struggled with the decision to have omitted the cold and fluffy white stuff from the series up to this point. But don’t entirely rule it out for the future.
“If we can CGI a tiger,” said Kirkman in an interview with ComicBook.com in 2016, “we can CGI some snow!”
Even though we haven’t yet had the chance to see it, what would happen to a walker in sub-zero temperatures? Kirkman says walkers would essentially enter a state of mini-hibernation, and simply freeze in place until they “thaw” out, then continue on their merry way, hunting human flesh.
The eighth season of The Walking Dead debuts Sunday, February 25. The series has already also been renewed for a ninth, with Angela Kang, a long-time writer, taking over as showrunner.
As we gear up for the new seasons, as long as Rick and company continue to reside in Virginia, the series will have some serious ‘splaining — or more time jumping — in order to explain away the absence of those cold winter months and frozen walkers.