Army of the Dead Ending, Explained

‘Army of the Dead’ is a quintessential Zack Snyder film. The plot is inherently dark and pessimistic. Set pieces and other action sequences are larger than life and will remain in the audience’s memory for years to come. This is not Snyder’s first zombie film. ‘Dawn of the Dead’ is a comparatively low-budgeted masterpiece that has become a cornerstone movie in the zombie apocalyptic genre. With ‘Army of the Dead,’ the now veteran filmmaker has approached his craft with an abundance of experience and intuition. The result is a stunning piece of visual spectacle that offers an unrelenting joyride. Here is everything you need to know about the film’s ending. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Army of the Dead Plot Synopsis

The story begins with a US military convoy transporting a mysterious payload from Area 51. Suddenly, the vehicle carrying the payload has a head-on collision with a car carrying a pair of newlyweds. From the battered payload, a zombie emerges. Terrifyingly fast and powerful, he kills all the soldiers except for two, whom he turns into zombies. They find their way to Las Vegas, Nevada, and cause a zombie outbreak. The US government sends in the military to stop the spread, but it doesn’t work. Ultimately, a wall of shipping containers is built around Sin City to keep the outbreak inside Las Vegas.

Former mercenary Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) currently works at a burger joint. He has previously rescued numerous people from Vegas, including the US Secretary of Defense. However, he doesn’t have much to show for it. Billionaire casino owner Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) visits him and asks him to retrieve $200 million from his casino’s vault. In exchange, Scott and his team will get $50 million of that money. After some consideration, Scott accepts the job. He first convinces Maria Cruz (Ana de la Reguera) and Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick), members of his old mercenary unit, to join him.

They then recruit helicopter pilot Marianne Peters (Tig Notaro), German locksmith and safecracker Ludwig Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer), and sharpshooter and social media influencer Mikey Guzman (Raúl Castillo). At the rendezvous with Tanaka, Guzman brings two of his friends, Chambers (Samantha Win) and Damon, but the latter leaves realizing what they are up against. Tanaka instructs Scott to include Martin (Garret Dillahunt), the erstwhile head of security at Bly’s casino, in the team.

The team knows that they are working on a strict timeline. A low-yield tactical bomb is set to drop on the evening of July 4. Scott reaches out to his daughter, Kate (Ella Purnell), who volunteers at the refugee camp outside the city parameters to access Las Vegas. She introduces him to Lily (Nora Arnezeder), who smuggles people in and out of the city. When Kate discovers that her friend Geeta (Huma Qureshi) has gone into the city to get some cash from the slot machines and is yet to return, she convinces her father to let her join the team. As they are about to enter the city, Lily declares that she needs one more person and recruits Cummings (Theo Rossi). As it is later revealed, she wanted him there to be an offering for the alphas.

Army of the Dead Ending: Why Does Kate Kill Her Father?

After Scott’s wife became infected, Scott was forced to push a knife into her brain, killing her. The action continues to haunt him. He even has nightmares about it. After that, he and Kate became estranged. He presumed that this was because of what he did to her mother. During the mission, he learns that Kate never hated him for it. She knows that it was necessary, and her mother wasn’t herself any longer. Her anger toward Scott stems from what he did afterward. He distanced himself from Kate, creating a vacuum in her life she didn’t know how to fill.

As Scott explains to Kate, he had his reasons. Kate reminded him of her mother and his failure to protect her, so he chose the easy way out and tried to stay away from her. During the climactic battle, Scott gets bitten by Zeus (Richard Cetrone) before he can kill him. The helicopter they have used to escape the city crashes, killing both Geeta and Peters. In perfect irony, Kate watches with grief and horror as her father begins turning into an alpha and is forced to put a bullet in his head.

Who Is Zeus? How Many Types of Zombies Are in Army of the Dead? How are They Created?

Zeus is the zombie that escaped from the payload. Along with being extremely strong and agile, he is dangerously intelligent. There are two types of zombies in ‘Army of the Dead’: the shamblers and the alphas. The shamblers are the typical zombies of pop culture; they are brainless monsters driven only by their hunger. A bite from any zombie can create a shambler. On the other hand, the alphas are the zombies who can think. Only Zeus can create an alpha with his bite.

After arriving in Las Vegas, the zombie from the payload sees a statue of the king of the Greek gods and adopts his name while turning the Olympus casino into his seat of power. As Lily tells the team, Zeus has made Las Vegas his kingdom after forcing the US military to retreat from the city. Every time a group of people comes into the city, they must sacrifice one of their own to gain safe passage. This is why Lily brings Cummings. Knowing that he rapes and abuses the women in the camp, she justifiably considers him expendable.

What is Tanaka and Martin’s Real Plan?

Tanaka uses the money as bait to lure in Scott and his team. His real intention is to collect samples from one of the alphas and then work with the military to control an army of zombies. With Lily’s help, Martin decapitates the head of Zeus’ mate, the Alpha Queen (Athena Perample). According to Martin, the head is worth ten times more than what is inside the vault because it can help Tanaka and his collaborators in the military figure out how to control the other zombies. It is revealed that Tanaka has previously sent other mercenary groups into the city, but none of them were successful.

Why Has Zeus Kept Geeta and Two Other Women as Prisoners?

Shortly after the introduction of the Alpha Queen, Zeus crouches down before her and puts his head on her belly, implying that she might be pregnant. This is later proven to be true when Zeus pulls out the dead fetus from the decapitated body of the Alpha Queen. He has most likely kept Geeta and the other women in the Olympus casino to later impregnate them and turn them into zombies. If the turning were to come first, he would have already done so.

How Has Vanderohe Survived? Are All the Zombies Eradicated?

Halfway into the mission, the team learns that the nuclear strike has been moved up by 24 hours. Despite his initial misgivings, Vanderohe forms an unlikely friendship with Dieter. The latter sacrifices his life to close the vault door with Vanderohe still inside. The walls of the vault must have been thick enough to withstand a low-yield nuclear strike. When Vanderohe emerges outside with bags of cash, the city has turned into a nuclear wasteland.

He later rents a plane and decides to enjoy his life for a bit. However, he soon discovers a bite mark on his body. It is unclear whether he was bitten by Zeus himself or one of the other zombies. Either way, the infection has made it out of Las Vegas and is heading toward Mexico City, Mexico. There are several possibilities of what might happen next.

Vanderohe can kill himself and end the outbreak there and then. He might turn all the crew members of the plane, and it might crash before reaching its destination, killing everyone on board. He and the other infected people might safely land in Mexico and cause an outbreak there. If Zeus has indeed bitten him, he might turn into the next Alpha King. This might prompt Tanaka to send another team of mercenaries to Mexico City.

Read More: Where Was Army of the Dead Filmed?