"The Walking Dead" : Mirror Universe or Alternate Historical Timeline?
I've been debating with several of my friends about whether or not TWD is occurring in a Mirror Universe or an Alternate Historical Timeline. This may seem trivial at first, but when you really delve into certain aspects of the show, it become painfully obvious that something isn't quite right. Suspension of disbelief carries a viewer a long way, if it didn't Science Fiction wouldn't have become the juggernaut that it is today.
The central point of debate began when we heard Robert Kirkman on an episode of "The Talking Dead" say that "in this world, they have no concept of zombies, of the dead coming back to life" (paraphrased). This brings up a notable fact that the characters never, ever call them 'zombies'. Not once. They're called everything else, but never 'zombie'. "Walker", "Biters", "Geeks", "Things", etc are the usual vernacular references.
Now, in our real world, we know and can conceive (however improbable) the idea of dead people returning to life. It's not a new idea, right? So, in the TWD 'world', their civilization has absolutely no preconceived ideas regarding zombies. That can only mean that their world is different from ours, as evidenced by the whole "Zed Word" avoidance.This itself brings up another question: Is the TWD world 'our Earth' but in a alternate timeline or is it an entire Mirror Universe?
If it's an alternate timeline, then it should have split off from our own timeline centuries ago when the idea of the dead returning to life was first referenced- which probably meant that other such ideas (especially Religious & Philosophical ideas) were not developed either. The entire world would have been different by the time of the TWD beginning episode- perhaps almost unrecognizable so.But this theory, as I have pointed out to my TWD debate buddies, cannot be correct due to the fact that Religion has been referenced with such specificity within the TWD TV Canon, that even Herschel quoted the Holy Bible and the fact that Christ promised the resurrection of the dead. Therefore the idea of the dead returning from the beyond was in fact an accepted concept by individuals within the TWD World- effectively putting the entire Alternate Timeline Theory into the trash bin.
However, I favor the Mirror Universe Theory. The theory is a simple one and is not new either, but it solves such problems easier that the Alternate Timeline Theory. Mirror Universes are alternate realities in which every conceivable outcome to every decision ever made has been realized. Many science fiction shows have explored this idea. "Sliders" was a great example of sci-fi TV based entirely on this concept of Parallel Universes.
I believe that since no specific historical facts have been directly referenced in TWD TV Canon in regards to past events that the writers can circumvent this issue altogether. I mean, we've seen, the Flag of the United States- (references to other states & countries) but never any specific past history to put the show into a temporal location in which to compare to ours.We hear about what characters used to do, we hear about certain instances in their lives in the past- but without any other frame of reference historically- the exact year and, more importantly, the past history cannot even be guessed at. The vehicles used in the show range from the 1960's to 2013 models, as I have noticed. Another anachronism is the tank used in the mid-season finale for Season 4. The operator clearly stated that he was serving in the modern US Army and took his tank with him when the outbreak began. So why is he operating a 43 year old tank? So, the probability that the TWD World is a "mirror universe" outcome is more easily accepted.
The "Mirror Universe" explanation cannot however explain why the concept of "living dead" has been developed (thru religion as per Canon), but the word "zombie" has not? Is it simply that this mirror world just never came up with the word "zombie"? I find that harder to believe than the entire premise of the show!
Why avoid the use of the word "zombie" anyway? The answer may lie in the traditional concept of the "living dead" as created & put forth by George A. Romero. The word "Zombie" was only used twice in all of his "Dead" films; once in the original "Dawn of the Dead" (1979) by actor Ken Foree and the second time by Dennis Hopper in "Land of the Dead" (2005). Hell, even "Shaun of the Dead" made fun of the non-use of the word "zombie" by an entire back & forth dialogue between the main characters after one of them references the creatures as "Zombies" & is subsequently chastised to not use the "Zed word" because it's silly.
So, why are they not called "zombies"? Is the explanation as simple as what Kirkman said about it? If it is, that means a Mirror Earth. If that's true, what else could be different?
It's interesting to think about, that's for sure.
.Let me know your thoughts on the possibilities presented in this blog!