‘Fear The Walking Dead’: Did AMC Drop Major Outbreak Origin Hints In The Pilot Episode?

There has been much speculation about how AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead will compare to the original series it is based on, The Walking Dead. For many fans, the fact that Fear would not address the origin of the zombie virus was disappointing. But did AMC slip some clues into the pilot episode that may hint at the origin?

WARNING: Spoilers for both Fear The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead are contained within this article. If you have not watched all available episodes for both shows, please proceed with caution.

Firstly, while there was the suggestion Gloria (played by Lexi Johnson) might be Fear The Walking Dead’s patient zero, this is unlikely. But she may have been the patient zero for L.A. and was certainly the first zombie to appear on Fear The Walking Dead, and by extension, the official first zombie for the series since Fear is set in the time span where Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) was in a coma in Season 1 of The Walking Dead. However, she was by no means patient zero, according to Tobias (Lincoln A. Castellanos), a character introduced in Episode 1 of Fear The Walking Dead. As we saw in an early teaser video, Tobias mentions to school guidance counselor, Madison (Kim Dickens) that there have already been reports of a virus outbreak in five states. This would mean that the virus had not originated in L.A.

But how did everyone get infected? From The Walking Dead, we know that everyone is infected. As Uproxx suggests, this would mean that the outbreak occurred via something like water or air contamination, with their preference on air contamination. Air contamination certainly seems the most plausible way of infecting the entire world, but with the infection occurring in five other states already, there is also a good indication that water or food contamination is more likely the cause. After all, if the whole world was infected at the same time, there would be an instant epidemic rather than the virus unrolling across the U.S. Considering people die of natural causes everyday, there would be an instant reaction to an airborne contaminant. However, as Tobias states, there had already been news across the internet of the outbreak being in five states before L.A. becomes infected. If water supplies were contaminated, it would take a while for the whole of the U.S. to become infected, therefore, more likely a slower outbreak rate would occur as we are seeing currently in Fear The Walking Dead. This implication, however, could suggest that only certain countries are infected.

Fear The Walking Dead promo pic "Nature always wins"

Another interesting thing to note was the class Travis (Cliff Curtis) was teaching in episode 1 of Fear The Walking Dead. In his class, Travis was talking about Jack London’s short story To Build a Fire. As a Movie Pilot article points out, this story is quite often used as an example of naturalism. Naturalism is the theory that social and environmental influences shape individuals — something definitely most noticeable in Rick’s journey in The Walking Dead. However, another thing evident in Jack London’s story is the fact the theory that “Nature always wins.” So could the zombie virus present in Fear The Walking Dead actually be nature made and not human made? Could this virus be a result of mother earth rising up and reclaiming her damaged earth from the humans who have ravished it?

Finally, while this is not really a hint at how the virus started, HitFix has managed to date the zombie apocalypse in Fear The Walking Dead. According to evidence gathered from items such as iPhones and iPads used in the pilot episode of Fear The Walking Dead and visual clues, it appears the outbreak occurred in L.A sometime in the winter of 2012. Although, according to this timeline on the Walking Dead wiki page, the outbreak occurred sometime towards the end of 2013 or the start of 2014.

How do you think the zombie apocalypse started in Fear The Walking Dead? Let us know your theories by commenting below!

[Image credits: AMC / Fear The Walking Dead Facebook page]