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Gene Page/AMC
Gene Page/AMC

10 Thrilling The Walking Dead Fan Theories

Gene Page/AMC
Gene Page/AMC

This list is rife with spoilers—if you’re not up-to-date, read at your own risk.

Now into its sixth season, the only thing certain on AMC’s The Walking Dead is that nothing is ever certain. From the unceremonious deaths of lead characters to massive deviations from its source material, the show is as famous for its surprises as it is for its gore. And this anything-goes spirit has extended to viewers, who have a few wild ideas of their own.

1. A CERTAIN FAN FAVORITE IS STILL ALIVE.

We’ve now had two full episodes since Nicholas—or Nicholas’s body—pulled Glenn off the dumpster into a crowd of walkers to his apparent death. And in those episodes, we have received no confirmation that the fan favorite character bit the dust. Because of this, fans are eager to cling to any and all evidence—be it a cryptic promise from showrunner Scott M. Gimple that “in some way, we will see Glenn, some version of Glenn, or parts of Glenn again” or a plea from Steven Yeun, the actor who plays Glenn, to watch the show for the story, not a character—that Glenn lives.

But how? The most popular theory posits that Nicholas falls on top of Glenn, and it’s Nicholas’s intestines that become walker lunch. Covered in blood and guts, Glenn is able to remain undetected just long enough to roll under the dumpster to safety.

2. ENID IS A SPY.

Cinema Blend lays out a convincing case for why Enid, the turtle-eating survivor who finds her way to Alexandria just months before Rick Grimes’s crew does, may be more than just a potential love interest for Carl. Using her propensity for sneaking beyond the community’s walls and her hesitance to approach Alexandria in the first place as evidence, the site hypothesizes that Enid is a spy. Whether she’s spying for the deranged Wolves or a yet-unseen enemy—perhaps the Saviors, a terrifying group important in Robert Kirkman’s graphic novels—is the subject of debate.

3. RICK IS IMMUNE/IS A ZOMBIE ALREADY/IS IMMORTAL. 

The popular “Rick is already a zombie” theory originated when Redditors started hypothesizing how our hero could have survived in the hospital for months without food or water as the world fell to ruins around him. The only plausible explanation, many have decided, is that Rick didn’t survive at all—he actually died in the show’s very first episode. When he wakes up and leaves the hospital, Rick is not emerging from his coma, but is rising from the dead.

This is where things get tricky: If the virus is already present in everyone, as we learn at the CDC at the end of season one, why doesn’t Rick reanimate as a zombie? Theories diverge here. Some believe that Rick has the disease like everyone else does, but it’s dormant in him. The dormancy keeps him safe from the virus’s worst symptoms (namely, becoming a flesh-eating monster), but he will continue to come back to life each time he’s killed. Others believe that Rick’s coma is to thank for his non-zombieness: The disease couldn’t attack his brain the way it normally does because his brain activity was reduced during the coma.

Donna Dickens at HitFix makes a case for why this is all baloney: While Rick was indeed in a coma for months, she theorizes, the hospital had only recently fallen. Until just days before Rick awakens, a generator had been powering the hospital and doctors had been tending to patients.

4. IT’S ALL A DREAM.

Another common fan theory is that the show’s events are merely a dream Rick has while he’s in his coma. However, creator Kirkman debunked this theory on Twitter last year. “Rick is NOT still in a coma,” he tweeted. “The events of TWD are definitely happening.”

5. THE ZOMBIE VIRUS WAS STARTED BY ALIENS.

Crazy, right? Or just crazy enough to be true? The fact that the zombie virus affects humans alone and doesn’t appear to be spread by animals has led some Redditors to conclude that it must be the work of extraterrestrial beings bent on destroying the human race. The virus will eliminate all human life, but leave the rest of the world largely intact and vulnerable to alien colonization.

6. NORTH AMERICA IS A QUARANTINE ZONE. 

Commenters counter the alien theory with a more plausible one: The zombie virus is an example of biological warfare gone astray. The virus was developed as an experimental weapon that somehow (either mistakenly or purposefully) was unleashed on the United States. The show’s myopic perspective keeps viewers in the dark about the fate of the rest of the world. It’s therefore possible—improbable, but possible—that the virus never crossed the Atlantic, and North America was cordoned off in order to keep the rest of the world safe. As far-fetched as this may be, ending the series by zooming out to show the rest of the world continuing on as normal would be mind-blowing. 

7. THE ZOMBIES WILL SOON COMPLETELY DECOMPOSE. 

Greg Nicotero and one of his creations.

One optimistic theory posits that the best way for the human race to combat the walkers is to hunker down and wait. Entertainment Wise uses the fact that executive producer and SFX makeup supervisor Greg Nicotero makes the zombies look increasingly decomposed each season to support the hypothesis that, given time, the zombies will completely decay. Unburied bodies take approximately one to three years to turn to dust, so if everyone just hid until then—thereby preventing the walkers from claiming new victims—they’d all be in the clear.

8. THE MAIN CHARACTERS ARE HEARING-IMPAIRED.

One of the show’s most frustrating plot holes is how the characters never seem to hear the walkers until it’s nearly too late. One Redditor recently put forth a convincing theory as to why this is the case, writing, “In The Walking Dead, walkers can get so close unnoticed because the main characters are all suffering from a large amount of hearing loss from repeatedly firing off guns without hearing protection.”

9. THE SHOW’S PROGRESSION MIRRORS THE HISTORY OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION. 

As one Redditor sees it, the show is a commentary on human progression. Hershel’s farm, which our gang reaches in the second season, represents the invention of agriculture and the end to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Woodbury—ruled by the all-powerful Governor, replete with gladiator games—is a stand-in for the Roman Empire. The epidemic at the prison mimics the Black Death, and so on.

10. NEW BABIES ARE DISEASE-FREE.

One fan camp hypothesizes that babies born after the initial outbreak do not have the zombie virus inside them. If Judith were to die, therefore, she would not reanimate as a zombie. Fans like this theory because it offers a glimmer of hope that things could someday return to normal, and also that love (and reproduction) might be what saves the world.

All images courtesy of AMC.

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9 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Hollywood Body Doubles
Hugh Jackman and his Real Steel body double, Taris Tyler
Hugh Jackman and his Real Steel body double, Taris Tyler
Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

When you see the back of an actor’s head in a movie, it may not be the actor you think it is. In addition to stunt performers, most movies employ body doubles (or photo doubles) with a passing resemblance to the principal actors. While some body doubles are brought on set for specific skills—like helping an actor pass as a professional athlete—the job can often involve just being a body, whether that means being nude on camera, having photogenic hands, or appearing in place of actors who can’t be on set for some reason. Here are nine secrets of the job:

1. THEY MIGHT ONLY BE MODELING ONE BODY PART.

Body double Danielle Sepulveres has played the hands of other actors in plenty of roles in her career, on TV and in beauty commercials featuring close-up shots of her holding moisturizer or makeup. She’s drizzled dressing on salad in place of Brooke Shields. She regularly slides files across tables, makes lists, and pours wine in the place of actresses on The Good Wife. (She has also played Jill Flint's butt on the show.) “I knew only glimpses of my hands might make it into a shot, or part of my shoulder along with a wisp of hair,” she wrote of one of her jobs in Good Housekeeping in 2016. But she overheard the director complaining that her wrists looked “vastly different” than those of the principal actress in the movie, 2015’s Mania Days. “Luckily, I didn't get fired in spite of my wrists, but I wouldn't have been surprised had it happened.”

2. THEY’RE NOT JUST THERE TO SHOW THEIR BUTTS.

Yes, body doubles are often brought in if an actor doesn’t want to bare it all on camera. But they are hired for other reasons, too. For one thing, union rules mandate the actors get 12 hours off between when they leave set for the day and their next call time, so if the shoots are running long, the crew might employ someone else to stand in. Other times, it's a matter of particular talents. Most actors may be able to sing, dance, and cry on camera, but few also have the athletic skills to allow them to pass as a sports legend. In Battle of the Sexes (2017), Emma Stone plays Billie Jean King, one of the best tennis players of all time. To realistically represent King’s skills on the court, the movie makers brought in tennis doubles to play in place of Stone and her co-star, Steve Carell. Stone’s double was chosen for her playing style, which resembled King’s, and worked with King on-set to perfect her imitation. The effort was, according to The Wall Street Journal, a huge success. “Not only is the tennis believable, it’s a meticulous representation of the type of tennis played in that era: serve and volley, chipping and charging to the net, touch volleys and soft hands.”

3. ACTORS CAN GET TOUCHY ABOUT WHO PLAYS THEM.

When you are tasked with choosing a celebrity doppelgänger, you’ve got to keep egos in mind. “The choice reflects on the principal actor,” DeeDee Ricketts, the casting director for Titanic, told Vanity Fair in 2016. “We have to take into consideration that they can’t be too thin, or more beautiful, or too heavy, or too old, or else the principal actor will think, That’s how they see me?” Actors often get to give input on who will be their double, and sometimes have final approval rights written into their contracts. When she was being considered for the job of Janet Leigh's body double in Psycho's iconic shower scene, model and Playboy covergirl Marli Renfro had to strip down for both Alfred Hitchcock and Leigh herself so that they could make sure her body looked enough like Leigh's, as Renfro recently revealed at a Brooklyn screening of the documentary 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene. In the case of nude scenes, actors might even have final approval on what physical moves their doubles are allowed to make.

4. THEY MIGHT NEVER MEET THEIR DOUBLE ...

If you’re working as an actor’s double, by definition, you’re not going to have scenes with them, and so some body doubles never meet the stars they’re pretending to be. Danish actor Elvira Friis, who worked as a body double for Charlotte Gainsbourg (and her character’s younger self, played by Stacy Martin) during the racier scenes of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac (2013), never met the actor. “The closest I got to Charlotte Gainsbourg was that I was wearing her dress,” Friis told The Wall Street Journal.

5. OR THEY MIGHT SPEND A LOT OF TIME WITH THE PEOPLE THEY'RE PORTRAYING.

But how much time an actor spends with their doppelgänger really depends on the role. Some actors spend plenty of time with their doubles on set helping them get into the role. In What Happened to Monday (2017), Noomi Rapace plays the roles of seven identical sisters, making body doubles a necessity on set. Rapace helped direct her doubles during filming, “as they needed to know how the star would play the scene for each character so that it would sync up when she performed the part herself,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Game of Thrones star Lena Headey (who plays Cersei) worked closely with her double Rebecca Van Cleave for a nude scene in the show’s fifth season finale. Headey walked Van Cleave through her character’s thinking and movements for each shot. Then, Headey did the same performance herself, wearing a beige dress that could later be edited out. In the final product, Headey’s facial expressions were merged with Van Cleave’s nude body.

6. THEY DON’T ALWAYS LOOK EXACTLY LIKE THEIR COUNTERPARTS.

Because body doubles are often only seen from the back or side, they may not look quite as much like their acting counterpart as you’d think. Brett Baker, who worked as Leonardo DiCaprio’s body double for Titanic, is several inches shorter than DiCaprio and seven years older. From the front, you wouldn’t peg him as a Jack Dawson lookalike. But with the same clothes and haircut, shot from above and behind, he passed easily as DiCaprio. Once Leo’s closeups were done, according to Vanity Fair, Baker was often brought in to stand opposite Kate Winslet as she played through her half of the scene. In some cases, he didn’t make it into the final shot at all, but still had to be on set for those 14-hour days.

7. THESE DAYS, THEY GET A BOOST FROM CGI.

With the help of technology, filmmakers can put their leading actor’s face on a body double’s torso, so they don’t have to limit their body doubles to just back-of-the-head or partial shots. This allows them to seamlessly meld both the main actor and the body double’s performances in post-production. That can allow directors to get exactly the scene they want in shows like Orphan Black, which features Tatiana Maslany playing multiple roles, or in cases where actors don't want to get totally naked on-camera. In rare cases, it can also be used to bring actors back from the dead. When Paul Walker died in a car crash midway through filming Furious 7 (2015), the filmmakers used his brothers and another actor as body doubles, superimposing computer-generated images of Walker’s face on their performances. Around 260 shots featuring Walker’s doubles appeared in the final cut.

8. IF AN ACTOR CAN’T ALTER THEIR WEIGHT FOR A ROLE, A BODY DOUBLE CAN FILL IN.

When Matt Damon was filming The Martian (2015), he wanted to lose 30 to 40 pounds to portray astronaut Mark Watney after he had been surviving on meager rations for years. But the filming schedule made that impossible, so a body double had to be brought in for some shots. “I was going to lose a bunch of weight in the third act of the movie, then put the weight back on,” Damon told Maclean’s. However, as the schedule shook out, they filmed the NASA interiors in Hungary, then immediately went to Jordan, which doubled as the Red Planet for the film’s purposes, and shot all the exterior shots from the beginning, middle, and end of the movie, with no time for Damon to lose a significant amount of weight. The skinny body double isn’t on screen for long. “It was, like, two shots,” Damon describes. (Still, fans noticed.)

9. SOMETIMES THEY NEVER MAKE IT IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA AT ALL.

When it comes to nude scenes, sometimes body doubles are hired but never used. Veteran body double Laura Grady was cast as Robin Wright’s lookalike for State of Play (2009), but didn’t shoot a single scene. “I just sat in my trailer, ready to go, and then at the end, [Wright] decided to do her own scenes,” Grady told Vulture in 2014. “That happens sometimes. Sometimes they just get a body double because they think they might need one, and then all of a sudden the actress is comfortable and she’s like, ‘No, I’ll just do it.’ Or they change a scene and they don’t make it as risqué.” Don’t worry, though—the double still gets paid.

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Bob Ross’s Happy Little Menagerie Is Getting the Funko Treatment, Too
Amazon
Amazon

Back in August, the pop culture-loving toy fiends at Funko introduced a happy little Pop! Vinyl figurine of beloved painter/television icon Bob Ross, decked out in his trademark jeans and button-down shirt with a painter’s palette in his hand and his legendary perm (which he hated) atop his tiny little vinyl head. This Joy of Painting-themed addition to the Funko lineup proved to be an instant hit, so the company added a couple of additional toys to its roster—this time incorporating members of Ross’s happy little menagerie of pets, who were almost as integral to the long-running series as the painter himself.


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If you’re looking to score one of these toys before Christmas, it’s going to have to be a limited edition one—and it’s going to cost you. In collaboration with Target, Funko paired Ross with his favorite pocket squirrel, Pea Pod, which will set you back about $40. For just a few dollars more, you can opt to have the happy accident-prone painter come with Hoot the owl.


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On Friday, December 8, the company will release a Funko two-pack that includes Ross with a paintbrush and Ross with an adorable little raccoon.


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If you’d prefer to save a few dollars, and are willing to wait out the holiday season, you can pre-order Ross with just the raccoon for delivery around December 29.

So many happy little options, so little time.

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