The Walking Dead has been known to nod at famous celebrities and other bits of pop culture from time to time, so it should come as no real surprise that one of the episodes in Season 6 included a reference to a popular horror franchise. Or at least, it nearly did. This weekend, The Walking Dead’s jack of all trades, Greg Nicotero, revealed the Season 6 finale very nearly featured a nod to George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. Check it out, below.
Nicotero took to Instagram to share his nod to George A. Romero’s famous film. Apparently, during Episode 6—aka the one where Daryl was separated from Sasha and Abraham and then captured—a zombie made to look like Night of the Living Dead’s Johnny was mocked up. Unfortunately, the moment didn’t actually make the episode, so there’s no need to cull through every moment hoping to catch the tribute walker you missed. Here's what he had to say about the walker:
The tribute Walker that hit the cutting room floor from episode 6 of this last season... Johnny from the one and only Night of the Living Dead! After the fact I realized I should have used him in the premiere and he would have been in black and white. Damn!!
As far as nods to other popular zombie franchises go, a Night of the Living Dead reference makes total sense. Not only did the 1968 film impact all of the zombie projects that came later, there were a ton of sequels to the film in its own right. One of them, Day of the Dead, was the film that gave Greg Nicotero his break in the special effects makeup department.
As we noted prior, The Walking Dead is often filled with inside jokes and easter eggs that nod at parts of popular culture. This season, one of the heads used in a pivotal Walking Dead scene was modeled after a-list actor Johnny Depp. Back in Season 5, the show also figured out a way to nod at Shaun of the Dead. Nods to Breaking Bad have also reportedly appeared within the AMC drama.
Obviously, the lack of this tribute walker didn't change the trajectory of Episode 6 or Season 6 as a whole, but we're super happy Greg Nicotero shared this tidbit. We know it probably won't be enough of a factoid to tide you over until The Walking Dead returns next fall, but maybe it won't have to. That's because Fear The Walking Dead premieres on AMC tonight at 9 p.m. ET. In addition, you can also check out what else is coming up this summer, thanks to our TV premiere schedule.