Army Of The Dead Ending Explained- What Happens To Ludwig Dieter, Vanderohe, And Is There A Post Credits Scene?
Zack Snyder’s Army Of The Dead premiering on Netflix today is a fantastic casino heist that establishes a bevy of franchise possibilities.
Netflix’s first dabble in the Snyderverse zombie world is a resounding success. Army Of The Dead is everything you could hope for from a tent pole movie. It is bloody, wild, fun as hell, and establishes a fresh set of rules and characters that begs exploration. While there isn’t a post credits scene, there is plenty to love. Here is everything you need to know about the bombastic action thriller. What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas
Following a zombie outbreak caused by some poorly timed oral sex in a car outside Las Vegas, America is in chaos. For unknown reasons, a zombie was being transported from presumably Area 51 to another undetermined location. Why that was happening, and if there are others like them, we don’t know. In that aftermath, Vegas was walled off, and quarantine camps, more like internment camps, were set up around the city. A group of zombie war veterans liberated as many humans from the city before it fell and was enclosed.
Bly Tanaka, played by Mortal Kombat’s Scorpion Hiroyuki Sanada, comes to Scott Ward(Dave Bautista) at a diner where he was working and offers him a chance at a huge payday if he can assemble a team of mercenaries and retrieve his money locked in a vault below his hotel. He recruits a team of able-bodied heisters, including his friend and fellow soldier Vanderohe(Omari Hardwick), Lilly the Coyote(Nora Arnezeder), Maria(Ana de la Reguera), adorable safe cracker Dieter(Matthias Schweighöfer), sharpshooters Chambers(Samantha Win) and Guzman(Raúl Castillo), daughter Kate(Ella Purnell) who forces her way in, helicopter pilot Marianne(Tig Notaro), and Tanaka security head Martin(Garret Dillahunt). Lilly recruits Cummings(Theo Rossi) to complete the group. The team sets out to grab the cash and get out of Vegas before the scheduled nuke detonates, but as one would expect, almost immediately, they encounter problems.
The zombies are not only plentiful in Vegas, but they are surprisingly well-organized. There is structure to the zombie civilization that defies traditional logic. It is unclear if the zombies intended to bide their time until they were strong enough and then take over the world or if they simply wanted to live in relative peace inside the opulent but crumbling walls of Sin City. We do know they had a clear hierarchy with leaders, followers, soldiers, and workers. Martin’s alternate agenda makes a bad situation worse and ultimately is the team’s demise. The ending is about as bleak as it could be, with nearly the entire group dead.
What was Martin and Tanaka’s plan?
Martin originally came to Ward claiming to double his haul from his casino insurance claim by retrieving the money n the vault that he had already received payment for. In reality, he was looking for something even more valuable. He wanted the head of an Alpha zombie. By controlling this valuable commodity, he could create an army of Undead that he hopes he would control. Those zombies could be used to rule the world. Considering animals can be turned, we dumb humans are in a world of hurt.
At that point, money means very little as he would become the most feared and powerful person on the planet. In typical megalomaniacal form, however, he failed to consider that he wouldn’t be able to control the zombies or that they had an agenda of their own that runs contrary to being his muscle. Martin cutting off the head of Zeus’s Queen is the beginning of the end for the group. When Zeus finds his dead wife, he goes to war. from their Ward’s plan implodes.
Who makes it out alive at the end of Army Of The Dead?
The bad news is hardly anyone. The ill-fated heist never really had a chance. The bodies of those who tried and failed to retrieve the money previously prove that this mission wasn’t expected to succeed. Despite the team’s grit, skill, and likability, minus Martin, of course, they never really had a chance of retrieving the considerable sum of money under the casino. In reality, the money didn’t even matter. The few team members who even managed to get to the helicopter barely made it with a few million. Quarantine camp security guard and all-around rapey guy Burt Cummings was the first to die. Lilly, aka the Coyote, traded him to the zombies for safe passage. Next, Chambers gets eaten after Martin betrayed her, but she took out a ton of shamblers with her. Mikey, Dieter, and Lilly all die trying to escape the zombie hoard.
Lilly sacrifices herself holding off Zeus so Ward can find Kate and Geeta. Although we never see her die, the last time we see her, she has a pole through her torso and Zeus breathing down her neck. In any case, unless she gets to underground safety like Vanderohe in the vault, she will be incinerated by the nuclear bomb. Ludwig shoved Vanderohe in the vault and we assume he is dead. Maria gets her neck broke right in front of Ward, and Martin gets killed by Kate after he turned into an Alpha. Kate, Ward, and Marianne fly the helicopter out of Vegas, but between Zeus jumping into the copter at the last minute, the bomb’s blast, and Marianne getting shot, the helicopter crashes in the desert.
Zeus bit Ward before the crash, and Ward shot him in the head for his trouble. Marianne is possibly dead,, but Kate walks away from the impact intact. The small amount of money Ward managed to leave Vegas with he gives to Kate to secure her and Geeta’s children passage out of the quarantine camp. Having been bit by Zeus during the fight, he turned into a zombie, and Kate had to shoot him.
That only leaves Vanderohe and Kate. Vanderohe leaves the safety of the vault after the explosion and takes his bag of funds. He charters a private plane out of Vegas and into Mexico. At the very end of the film, however, he finds a bite mark on his arm and realizes he is probably getting ready to join the ranks of the undead. Why it took him so long to turn, we don’t know, which leaves the possibility that he has some sort of immunity which is why he hasn’t turned yet. Another possibility is the radiation poisoning he has to be suffering from has kept the zombie virus at bay. The larger Army of the Dead universe that Snyder is developing should explore his fate in future sequels.
Will we see Vanderohe or Dieter Ludwig again?
Ludwig sacrificed himself so Vanderohe could live. The lovable lock breaker shoved him into the vault and then was dragged out by zombies. We don’t see him die, but the implication is he is turned into a zombie and later was obliterated in the bombing. We will see him again, thankfully in the prequel Army Of Thieves.
Vanderohe escaped with a full bag of money to Mexico, but he begins to feel bad and discovers a zombie bite just before landing. Army Of The Dead ends with him wryly shaking his head and muttering, “fuck”. His fate is unknown. Perhaps he survives because of some super special DNA, a unique immunity, or something caused by radiation exposure that enables him to fend off the virus. He could also be patient zero for Mexico’s outbreak beginning a whole new cinematic direction. Instead of getting an STD in Cancun, you get zombified. Snyder and Harwick have already confirmed he will be an integral part of the next installment. At the very least he has radiation posing. At the worst, he is a superpowered zombie courtesy of the vote and radiation exposure. Let’s hope zombies aren’t like La Cucaracha.
Wait, what? Zombies can make babies?
It is revealed after Martin cut off the head of the Alpha’s queen that zombies can procreate. There is zero context given to how Zeus impregnated his queen, or if he took advantage of a pregnant human, and when mom was turned, so was baby. Since we don’t know which came first, the chicken or the egg, we have no way of knowing if Zeus’s little swimmers indeed can create life or he just fell in love with a pregnant human turned zombie. We know that the zombie King had plans for his wife and child that did not include her beheading. This little bundle of joy provides all kinds of possibilities for future outbreaks. How the outbreak started will be explored in the spin-off anime series Army Of The Dead: Lost Vegas.
The Time Loop Reference
Just outside the vault, they find dead poeple who look eerily similar to our crew. They have the same clothes on and Vanderohe points out that they might be them. How is that possible? Who knows, in an interview with RadioTimes and other press Snyder admitted that this was a conscious choice. What this cyclular pattern of violence and death means for the greater .universe we don’t know yet. Maybe this is the Groundhog Day version of a zombie apocolypse. Our group just keeps replaying this scenario until they get it right. Could they all be in a military mind game designed to puzzle their way out of this world ending mess? Future installment could shed some light on this theory.
Snyder has been hot in the last several months. Between his cut of Justice League, which was glorious, and this first installment of his zombie universe, the nicest guy in Hollywood is finally getting some love. If the Netflix/Snyder collaboration is anything to go from, we are in for years of zombie disgustingness. Viva Las Vegas, let the braining begin!
As the TV/Streaming Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.