The Zombie Tiger In Zack Snyder’s ‘Army Of The Dead’ Has A Surprising Connection To ‘Tiger King’

Zack Snyder is still revealing secrets about the expanded Justice League his most rabid fans still want to force into existence, but he’s also moving on to a zombie universe that has its own Easter eggs.

Army of the Dead is the latest Snyder film generating some considerable buzz online, especially after a wild trailer that showed some surprisingly smart zombies devouring humans under slot machines doling out winnings. But the star of the show, both in the trailer and the reaction it got online, was a zombie tiger that looks like it will give the living stars of the movie a lot of trouble.

And Snyder has revealed that his team did some legwork to make sure that tiger looks realistic, inadvertently looping another Netflix production star, Carole Baskin of Tiger King, into the project, though it all went down well before Tiger King aired and became the early viral sensation of the pandemic. As Collider detailed, Snyder revealed the research his team did at Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue compound in Florida, and how they eventually based the zombie tiger on one of the cats living there.

According to Snyder, the visual effects team called different animal sanctuaries in order to get a real-life reference for modeling and animating Valentine. The chosen candidate ended up being a tiger owned by Baskin, now internationally famous after the world got briefly distracted from the pandemic by following Baskin’s long-time feud with Joe Exotic on Tiger King.

Snyder says this choice was made before Tiger King was released, and the team spent a week on Baskin’s sanctuary before the series revealed the threats and harassment campaigns between the rival exotic animal owners. As Snyder jokingly says, “at least they got out of there alive.”

While Snyder is joking about his safety, it is important to note that there was a murder-for-hire plot that was central to Tiger King and made Baskin famous in the first place. Thankfully everyone is safe, and Snyder did get some very convincing tiger info that has inspired the big dead cat we’ll see in Army of the Dead when it hits Netflix on May 21.