Netflix’s Army Of The Dead Ending Explained: What Happened, And How It Could Be Just The Beginning

The heist crew looks at the money in the vault in Army of the Dead.

Warning: spoilers for Netflix’s Army of the Dead are in play. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, we’re about to crack open a vault’s worth of story beats you might not want spoiled. So leave this rundown dead and buried if you’re not current. Don’t won’t stay dead.

The world finally gets to see a new Zack Snyder zombie epic, thanks to the release of Netflix’s Army of the Dead. After over a decade in development hell, Dave Bautista and a cast of all stars embark on a daring heist that, at the very least, acts as an exciting and entertaining distraction. But taking a deeper look at the Army of the Dead ending, you can see that there’s a lot more where this came from; as both the past and the future hold promising story possibilities. Consider this your last spoiler warning, as we’re about to crack open the ending to Army of the Dead, and talk about how it could be just the beginning of Zack Snyder’s new universe.

Richard Cetrone holds Omari Hardwick in the air by his throat in Army of the Dead.

What Happened At The End Of Army Of The Dead?

One hell of a helicopter sequence caps off the Las Vegas portion of Army of the Dead, resulting in the deaths of all but Kate Ward (Ellla Purnell). Daughter to Scott (Dave Bautista), she is entrusted with the small bit of money that her father could sneak out of the Bly Casino; Army of the Dead’s main Vegas setting. However, that wasn’t even the true purpose of the heist that took place. To make matters worse, Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick), the only other surviving team member, isn’t feeling so hot.

Shielded by the vault in the Bly Casino, he survives the small yield tactical nuke that was supposed to wipe out Army of the Dead’s final enclave of Las Vegas zombies. Chartering a private plane with the money he could sneak out of the city, Vanderohe is about to live it up. But, thanks to a bite he sustained at the hands of Zeus (Richard Cetrone), he realizes he’s turning into one of the undead, just as he’s about to land in Mexico City. One word sums up the feelings of this soon to be zombie, and the audience watching his dilemma: “Fuck.”

The True Purpose Of Army Of The Dead's Heist

Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) couldn’t give a damn about the $200 million he hired Scott Ward and his team to supposedly recover from his casino in Army of the Dead. There was another prize he was looking to recover, and it’s why he hired his right-hand man Martin (Garret Dilahunt) to accompany Scott Ward and his team into Las Vegas. As it turns out, Mr. Tanaka wants to make a killing by selling the DNA of the Alpha zombies to the United States government.

Martin’s true purpose in accompanying the Vegas team was to obtain a sample of Alpha genetic material, because as he tells Lily (Nora Arnezeder), a controllable zombie army is “the ultimate WMD.” Intending to sell the true treasure of Army of the Dead’s undead wasteland, Tanaka sends Martin to grab him his trophy, with the rest of the crew being deemed expendable. If only Martin had survived long enough to sneak that trophy, the head of the Alpha zombie queen known as The Bride (Athena Perample), out of the city.

A zombie leaps into attack from a slot machine in Army of the Dead.

Who Lived And Who Died In Army Of The Dead

Almost the entire team hired to head into Las Vegas in Army of the Dead are killed by time the film is complete. The only two members to survive until the end of the film were Kate and Vanderohe, with everyone else suffering various, gruesome fates. Some, like Chambers (Samantha Win) and Guzman (Raúl Castillo), were real heartbreaking sacrifices to keep the rest of the team moving. Others, like snarky but lovable helicopter pilot Peters (Tig Notaro) were accidental casualties, endured in the fight against Zeus and his amazing Alpha strength.

But it all came down to the most bittersweet killing of all, as the bitten Scott knew that he had to die, and his daughter Kate was the one that would have to pull the trigger. In a callback to the fact that Scott had to kill Kate’s mother to protect her, the daughter now understood the burden of the father. Kate kills Scott, just as he turns, and a rescue helicopter arrives to bring her to safety.

How Army Of The Dead's Ending Could Lead To A Sequel

If Zack Snyder were keen to continue the action seen in Army of the Dead, he’s got two different paths he can take. As far as continuing the story that was seen in this potential first film, the easiest story to focus on would be the fallout of Vanderohe’s infected bite. Presumably taking his place as the new Alpha king, Mexico City would become the next spot on the map to be hit by the zombie apocalypse.

Not to mention, there’s also potential for Lily to have survived Army of the Dead’s nuclear reset button in the remains of Las Vegas. With her supposed final moments seeing her captive in Zeus’s clutches, he may have turned one of the film’s most notable badasses into his replacement queen. Either way, Bly Tanaka could find himself trying to make good on his deal with the U.S. government, and Kate Ward just might rise up to stop him from fulfilling that deadly proposition.

Matthias Schweighöfer works at cracking the safe in Army of the Dead.

What Should We Expect From Army Of The Dead's Prequels?

One way that the Army of the Dead series is already planning to expand is into the past, thanks to prequels in both live-action and anime projects. On one hand, there’s a prequel film focused on safe cracker/eccentric Ludwig Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer), which is more than likely going to show his methods of survival and adventure before the events of Army of the Dead. But of course, it’s the anime series that looks like it’s going to be the meat and potatoes of this universe’s expansion.

Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas is planning to go back and fill in the era of history that shows Scott Ward and his heist team as military experts battling the zombie hordes of Las Vegas. Explaining those earlier adventures, which are partially shown in the opening montage of the movie, we’ll get to see a lot of dearly departed friends coming back for more adventures. As well as a lot more undead bloodshed, thanks to the animated format.

Zack Snyder has a potential winner on his hands with Army of the Dead, as a new universe that can accommodate his unique storytelling vision has presented itself. In one movie alone, both the past and the future are open to being brought into clearer detail, showing us all new aspects to the characters we’ve come to know and love through this action blockbuster’s events. That’s if you’ve been reading this rundown having seen the film beforehand. If you haven’t, don’t worry, you can currently catch Army of the Dead streaming on Netflix, as well as its accompanying featurette, Creating an Army of the Dead. But if you’re looking to take a gamble with something new, check out the full list of 2021’s new movie releases, and see what you can dig up!

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.