It seems like Fear the Walking Dead just revealed that PADRE might know what caused The Walking Dead’s zombie virus outbreak, but this hint is still unclear for now. Despite lasting 11 seasons and spawning numerous spinoffs, The Walking Dead never fully clarified what caused the show’s titular zombie outbreak. For most zombie shows, this is the first canon detail that is set in stone early on. For example, SyFy’s short-lived Day of the Dead TV show revealed that irresponsible fracking caused the outbreak in its pilot episode. In contrast, The Walking Dead aired 177 episodes over 12 years and still never explained its outbreak fully.
That said, The Walking Dead’s spinoffs can still offer an explanation even though the show itself has come to an end. Daryl’s Walking Dead spinoff could address this plot hole, and Fear the Walking Dead has already skirted close to the story in season 8. Fear The Walking Dead season 8, episode 1, “Remember What They Took From You,” sees Madison and Mo attempt to escape PADRE after a seven-year time jump. The nature of PADRE remains mysterious even by the episode’s ending. However, one comment that PADRE makes implies that he may know something about the origins of The Walking Dead’s Walkers.
Fear The Walking Dead Hints PADRE Knows The Zombie Virus’ Origin
In “Remember What They Took From You,”, PADRE talks about how “what we had got us into this mess.” While characters like Rick Grimes have previously spoken about building the world back better than it was, they did not directly attribute the outbreak to the state of the world before the apocalypse. Fear the Walking Dead’s PADRE could be talking in metaphorical terms about general disapproval of contemporary society before the outbreak. The fact that PADRE’s shadowy cult separates adults from children does seem to reinforce this idea. However, PADRE’s comment could also suggest he knows about the French lab and how the virus happened.
Why PADRE Knowing About The Walking Dead’s Virus Makes Sense
PADRE might be speaking in very literal terms, saying that experiments performed by well-meaning scientists accidentally resulted in the development of stronger, smarter Walker variants. This is reaffirmed by The Walking Dead: World Beyond’s finale, which included a post-credits sequence where a research team enigmatically conceded that they “made it worse.” Since PADRE evidently has some major military and government connections (as proven by their secure base), the cult’s leader could have had inside knowledge about these experiments. Thus, PADRE’s comments may refer not to the way the world was going before Walkers began to appear, but to misguided experiments that directly led to more lethal Walker variants.
This would also improve PADRE’s standing as a villain in Fear The Walking Dead. Not only would this prove that he had connections that make PADRE a more dangerous, influential figure, but this knowledge would also justify the cult’s worldview. Fear The Walking Dead’s villains have been a mixed bag over the years. PADRE’s attempts to separate parents from their children as part of a psychological warfare program is promising, but the premise that PADRE believes this is justified is particularly intriguing. PADRE may even be attempting to replicate and fix the experiments that led to Walker variants, which might explain his cult’s secrecy and security.
PADRE Could Tie Into Daryl Dixon’s The Walking Dead Spinoff
Since Daryl Dixon’s Walking Dead spinoff is likely to finally address the cause of Walker variants, this series could also tie into Fear The Walking Dead season 8’s plot. If PADRE turns out to know the French research team that seemingly unleashed Walker variants on the world, this would connect Daryl’s Walking Dead story with the villain’s plan. Although PADRE is based on an island in Georgia, The Walking Dead already made it clear that the French team’s experiments escaped containment. PADRE could have played a part in how they eventually reached America, which would further explain the villain’s desire to atone for his misdeeds.
If it turns out that PADRE had a direct hand in the inadvertent creation of Walker variants, this means he could be connected to the plot of Daryl’s Walking Dead spinoff. While Daryl will spend the spinoff’s story in France attempting to rebuild his life, Fear The Walking Dead could reveal that PADRE has links internationally. This would not be a stretch given the size of PADRE’s operations base and their domestic military connections. As such, Fear The Walking Dead could connect the story of its latest villain to The Walking Dead’s next spinoff via Daryl discovering the origins of Walker variants.