While the world sadly lost legendary director George A. Romero in 2017, the horror genre will never stop being influenced by his work. After all, prior to Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead in 1968, the concept of zombies as we know and love them today didn’t even exist.
Every single movie, TV show, book, or other piece of pop culture to feature zombies made since has in some way been influenced by what Romero pioneered. Additionally, most would argue Romero’s trilogy of Night, Dawn, and Day of the Dead are the best zombie films ever.
Of course, in the last decade of Romero’s life, the most prominent piece of zombie fiction was The Walking Dead, first as a comic book by Robert Kirkman, and then as a hit TV series airing on AMC. While not as popular as it once was, The Walking Dead remains a big deal.
So one might wonder, why did Romero never become involved with The Walking Dead? During a recent chat with EW, TWD producer – and previous Romero collaborator – Greg Nicotero provided an answer: it turns out Romero just wanted to focus on his own material.
“You know, we loved the idea of George coming onboard,” he said. “Frank Darabont and I talked about it after the end of season 1. And I had a conversation with George and I said, ‘Hey, man, would you ever want to come and direct?’ This was after we’d only aired six episodes. So, the show hadn’t really even caught on. And George said, ‘No, listen, you guys have your world, and I have my world, and it’s cool. I think he really was still intending on developing some other zombie stuff. So, he was like, ‘Yeah, that’s okay.’”
Sadly, Romero never did develop another zombie movie, leaving multiple unproduced scripts behind. The director’s last zombie movie was 2009’s Survival of the Dead, which drew poor reviews. Regardless, fans will always love and appreciate his many contributions to horror.