The premiere of season four of The Walking Dead is Sunday night, and if you haven’t seen the full-length trailer for it yet, YOU SHOULD. It looks goddamn fantastic. This season will pick in the prison several months after the events at the end of the third season, and it will center on the community that has sprung up at the prison once the citizens of Woodbury have merged with the Rick’s prison gang. I expect that their nice, peaceful cohabitation will eventually be disturbed. Perhaps we will even see how the series will be spun off next year.
Before we get to Sunday night’s premiere, however, it’s worth looking back at the first three seasons. Last year, we took a closer look at the cast of the show, but here, we’ll explore some of the cool, lesser-known pop-culture references the series has made, as well as a few Easter Eggs The Walking Dead has dropped for fans along the way.
1. The helicopter in the pilot episode bears the same markings as General Custer’s 7th Cavalry, which General Custer led into a crushing defeat at the Battle of Little Bighorn.
2. In the pilot episode, the blood spatter on Rick Grimes shirt after he beats a zombie with a baseball bat nicely resemebles a smiley face.
3. In the series’ second episode, when Michael Rooker was shooting on top of the roof, area Atlanta residents actually thought it was real, and a SWAT Team was called in because they believed Rooker was a sniper.
4. The construction trucks early in the series were called “Ferenc Builders.” Ferenc is Frank Darabont’s given first name.
5. Greg Nicotero, who is the show’s special effects supervisor and a co-executive producer of The Walking Dead, played the zombie that bit Amy on the neck in the first season. Nicotero cast himself because he knew where to bite.
6. Rick’s house is actually across the way from the Atlanta Zoo. On the show, Rick’s house is in the fictional “King’s County, Georgia,” which is a nod to Stephen King, a close friend of Frank Darabont.
7. The CDC on the show is actually the Cobb Energy Performing Arts. The CDC plotline doesn’t exist in the comic books. Also, Edwin Jenner — the doctor at the CDC doing research on the outbreak — was named after Edward Jenner, who created the first vaccine.
8. The sign in front of the church in the first season of The Walking Dead references Revelations 16:13: “Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.” There were three walkers in the church.
9. Daryl’s bag in the first season contained blue meth, an intentional nod to Breaking Bad, also on AMC.
10. Likewise, the car that Glen steals in The Walking Dead is the same Dodge Challenger that Walter White bought his son in Breaking Bad.
11. Dale smokes Morley Cigarettes, a fictional brand of cigarettes also smoked by the Cigarette Smoking Man in The X-Files.
12. This zombie below, who attacks Otis, is actually a double leg amputee in real life.
13. The sign below in Dale’s RV says “How about a nice cup of shut the hell up?” That is a direct nod to a line in Dawn of the Dead: “The plan is you drink a nice tall glass of Shut The F*ck Up!”
14. Greg Nicotero recreated Ben Gardner’s severed head in Jaws and placed it in The Governor’s fish tank as an homage to the shark movie.
15. Former Pittsburgh Wide Received Hines Ward played a zombie in “The Suicide King.”
16. Daryl Dixon’s back tattoos are real. Norman Reedus actually has three (he has another under his arm) because he always “likes to carry his demons with him.”
17. The 13th episode of the 3rd season, “Arrow on the Doorpost” was originally called “Pale Horse,” a reference to a scene that was later cut in which Daryl spots a headless rider strapped onto a living horse. That would have been AWESOME.
18. Robert Kirkman said that this zombie, which appears right after the death of Merle Dixon, is meant to resemble the iconic zombie from George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead.
19. In this awesome season two Easter Egg (on the DVDs), a dinosaur runs out in front of Lori’s car. SPECTACULAR.
20. Finally, some believe that the producers used the season three opening credits to foreshadow some of the events of the series. For instance, the names of Sarah Wayne Callies and Lauren Holden appear next to shell casings, and both characters died in season three.