Army of the Dead ending explained: your biggest questions answered

Army of the Dead ending
(Image credit: Netflix)

If you’re familiar with Zack Snyder’s career, then it will come as no surprise to find that the Army of the Dead ending comes bundled with its fair share of shocks – ones that are sure to burrow deep into your brain long after the credits have rolled.

From an ambiguous final scene, to the scattered fates of the ensemble cast in Las Vegas, there’s a lot to break down when it comes to Army of the Dead’s final act. Plus, with the possibility of prequels, spinoffs, and who knows what else on the way, it’s imperative that everything is cleared up properly now that the dust has settled on the Netflix heist movie.

And that’s what we aim to do. Below, we’ve covered the most pertinent, head-scratching questions that you’re likely to have after watching the Army of the Dead ending – including how the finale might just have quietly laid the groundwork for a sequel.

Who lives and who dies?

Dave Bautista in Army of the Dead

(Image credit: Netflix)

Much like Rogue One, we had an inkling that this was going to be a one-way trip to Sin City for much of the ensemble. But, considering the rate at which the characters fell, you may have been a little lost on who lived and who died. A nuke was launched at Las Vegas which, obviously, meant some casualties. Scott and Kate managed to fly out of Sin City with Peters and Geeta, but with a clambering Zeus in tow. The rest weren’t so lucky. You ready? Roll call…

Those that are definitely dead include Scott (killed by Kate after being bitten by Zeus), Guzman (blew himself up), Cummings (shot by Geeta), Chambers (eaten by zombies), Lilly (speared by Zeus on the roof of Bly’s casino), Zeus (shot by Scott), Maria (neck snapped by a zombie), and Martin (mauled by Valentine in the movie’s most brutal – and deserved – death).

There are a few that also take place off-screen or are implied. They included Dieter – who throws Vanderohe into the vault for safety before being taken away by the undead – as well as Geeta and Peters, who we can presume were killed by the helicopter crash in the Nevada desert. While their fates are left unclear, they’re likely now joining the shambling zombies that litter Vegas – though we’re holding out hope that Dieter somehow escaped.

The only main characters who make it through the runtime intact are Bly Tanaka, Kate – who is rescued by the military towards the end of Army of the Dead – and Vanderohe, who seemingly escaped through a tunnel system. However, Omari Hardwick’s hardened soldier may not be long for the world if the final scene is any indication…

What happened to Vanderohe?

Army of the Dead

(Image credit: Netflix)

By the movie’s closing moments, Vanderohe is looking a little worse for wear – and for good reason. He may have bribed his way onto a private flight into Mexico City, but his journey is far from over.

As he joins the flight attendants in a well-deserved toast, he suddenly starts feeling under the weather and retreats to the plane’s bathroom. There, he discovers a bite mark on his arm, laughs, and matter-of-factly says “Fuck” before we cut to black.

So… what happened next? A time loop like Vanderohe joked about earlier in the movie? Another zombie war? We can but speculate, but it appears that the bite comes from Vanderohe’s showdown with Zeus. If that’s the case, Vanderohe is Subject Zero in spreading the zombie outbreak to the rest of the world. As the movie points out, much of the undead (if not all) are contained in Las Vegas, hence the tactical nuclear strike planned by the government to wipe them out once and for all. 

Vanderohe heading to Mexico City puts a serious spanner in the works – and could set up a sequel. We don’t know how people react to zombie bites from Alphas, but he could feasibly be set up as the new Alpha – and new villain – in Army of the Dead 2. The outbreak could then go global, starting in Mexico City. Might we suggest it all take place during Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations? Think of the color, the fireworks… and the legions of zombies shuffling their way through all the excitement, courtesy of Vanderohe. Bliss. You can even call it Day of the Dead. Netflix, call me.

Were Scott and Maria lovers?

Dave Bautista in Army of the Dead

(Image credit: Netflix)

It’s a relationship that was heavily hinted at during the runtime, even before Maria blurted out her feelings towards her former war companion. Of course, neither made it out of Sin City alive – but how much history was there between the pair?

For that, we’ll have to look in two places: one is the opening credits; the other, the upcoming animated prequel.

In the opening credits, their relationship appears completely platonic. Scott, of course, has a prior relationship with the unnamed mother of Kate, while Maria has a family of her own. But their camaraderie and banter hints at something deeper – and it could be explored in the upcoming Lost Vegas animated spinoff.

Both Scott’s actor Dave Bautista and Maria’s actor, Ana de la Reguera, will reprise their roles in the upcoming project. It aims to fill in the gaps of events prior to the movie and, as de la Reguera explained at a recent roundtable to GamesRadar+, it’ll make us re-evaluate certain moments in the main movie.

"You'll see a lot of our backstory, how everything started, what was our relationship, what we used to do before. You’ll get more context of our characters," de la Reguera says. "And I'm excited about that. Because then you see the movie again, you'll understand a lot more – more of the story and more of the relationship between them."

There definitely appeared to be a spark between the pair during the runtime, but we’ll have to wait and see whether it was ever anything more than that in their next Netflix adventure.

What was Tanaka’s plan?

Army of the Dead

(Image credit: Netflix)

Bly Tanaka was always hiding something up his sleeve, but the movie didn’t quite spell out what it was until the third act.

His head of security, Martin, didn’t just accompany Scott’s team to Vegas so they could fairly divvy up Tanaka’s lost millions. No, instead he was there to snag the head of one of the ‘Alpha’ zombies. For Tanaka, that carries far greater value than the $200m in the vault – and it’s heavily hinted that he’s going to sell the head, and all the secrets of its origins that go with it, to either the US government or the highest bidder.

From there? They’ll have a whole army of Alphas at their disposal, which is a scary proposition. Thankfully, the Alpha queen’s head took a tumble off the casino roof and left its brain matter smeared over the sidewalk. But Tanaka is still out there, and might be potentially plotting his next move… Again, there’s room for more stories to be explored in a sequel and Tanaka is nicely positioned as the series’ overall Big Bad.

Are there zombies outside of Las Vegas?

Army of the Dead trailer Netflix Zack Snyder

(Image credit: Netflix)

If there weren’t before, there certainly are now. The opening of the movie revealed the origins of the outbreak came from a loose Area 51 container that was caught up in a nasty (and explosive) car crash.

The Zombie Wars that followed seemingly restricted the spread of the zombie virus to the local area, with many of the undead now penned up in an abandoned Las Vegas (as per the opening credits sequence).

But now there’s Vanderohe. Whether we see it on Netflix in future or not, the world is likely doomed. Vanderohe has been bitten and is en route to Mexico City. From there, as he’s likely going to be a zombie of the Alpha variety, the undead threat should spread across North America.

Can zombies give birth?

Army of the Dead

(Image credit: Netflix)

In one of the most ‘WTF’ scenes in Army of the Dead – and, remember, that includes the zombie tiger so it’s really saying something – Zeus finds that his now-dead queen was in-utero and pregnant with child.

It’s not clear whether the foetus would have been human, zombie, or a hybrid of the two (we shudder to think about it), though clearly the biology of the Alphas is more complex than we originally realized – and zombies that breed could spell danger for the human population.

Is there a post-credits scene?

Army of the Dead

(Image credit: Netflix)

Unlike most of Snyder’s DC efforts, Army of the Dead doesn’t include a post-credits scene. So, if you’re watching in theaters you’re free to leave as soon as the credits start. If you’re on Netflix, you’re likely going to get a pop up asking you to watch something else next. Don’t worry, you’re not missing out if you click on it – though sitting through the credits and taking in just how many people were involved in production is always a nice idea, if you ask us.

What’s next for Army of the Dead?

Army of the Dead

(Image credit: Netflix)

Army of the Dead’s next step is going to be a backwards one. Army of Thieves is a live-action prequel starring Matthias Schweighöfer as Dieter in his earlier safecracking days. The film, which has wrapped production, also stars Game of Thrones’ Nathalie Emmanuel and will stream on Netflix at some point in the near future.

Elsewhere, there’s an animated prequel series, titled Lost Vegas, set during the early days of the zombie outbreak. Scott and Kate Ward, Maria, Peters, and Vanderohe are all back from the main cast – and will be voiced by the live-action cast members. Joining them is Joe Manganiello as Rose, Christian Slater as Torrance, and Harry Lennix as Boorman.

Need more for your watchlist? Here are the best Netflix shows and best Netflix movies. For more Army-themed deep dives, check out a look at why Army of the Dead is blurry in places and what's coming instead of Army of the Dead 2.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.