With The Walking Dead set to premiere October 11, Fear the Walking Dead seems to be moving in the same awkward direction of its predecessor. Leading black characters die at an alarming rate. This has left many fans of the show wondering about any underlying messages.
There’s no denying that The Walking Dead has become a serious hit for AMC. The Season 5 finale drew a staggering 17.3 million viewers to the zombie gorefest. With numbers that huge, there are ultimately going to be opinions galore. Vanity Fair reports that Fear the Walking Dead opened with huge numbers as well. Yet the one glaring question is one that has haunted horror fans for years: Are African Americans killed first intentionally?
This question reared its ugly head once again as Fear the Walking Dead, a companion piece for The Walking Dead, seemed to slide comfortably into the driver seat. After a mere two episodes, two black men have been the victims of zombie-style violence. The show has just started, and there has to be time for character development and plot tweaking. But this still leaves a bittersweet taste for many Fear the Walking Dead fans.
The Walking Dead, at one point, was so predictable that fans knew when a black character was going to die and be replaced by another African American. Tons of Tyreese memes dominated social media. Since the first season, the show has faced criticism for a band of survivors on the outskirts of Atlanta. The city is predominantly African American, yet The Walking Dead fails to highlight black characters.
Not only is this a problem with The Walking Dead franchise. To some point, it’s prevalent in most horror movies. There seems to be an ongoing formula that seemingly kills off the black actors first or towards the end. Either way, being a person of color in a horror film is like walking on eggshells.
Fear the Walking Dead and its companion The Walking Dead have been praised for having diverse casts. Executive producer Gale Ann Hurd told E! News the body count for whites outnumbers that of African Americans.
“We’ve killed a lot more white characters than African-American characters. And not only that, I think it’s important to point out that we did cast two African-American actors in roles that were not African-American. In the comic books, Bob was white. And the character of Noah was not an African-American. We just cast the best actor.”
From the track record of The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead, it’s easy to assume that all African Americans are the first characters to be killed. But careful study of the horror genre will reveal more than a few black actors who made it to the promised land of the final scene.
How long will Morgan and Michonne, two of the more visible African-American characters on The Walking Dead, last?
[Photo via AMC]