Army of the Dead time loop theory will have you re-watching on Netflix

Army of the Dead time loop theory will have you re-watching on Netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

This is your SPOILER ALERT for Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead! Be warned that proceeding past here will clue you in on some surprising Easter eggs seen by eagle-eyed audience members. 

Last week saw Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead hit theaters and Netflix, and it didn't take long for fans to find a giant time-travel theory to dig into. And it may mean big things for Army of Thieves, the upcoming Army of the Dead prequel. We break it all down below, like Vanderohe cutting through a horde of undead.

Army of the Dead time loop theory — what is it?

The Army of the Dead "time loop" theory starts with a moment in Bly Tanaka's casino (around mid-way through the movie), where Dieter (played by Matthias Schweighöfer) spies a bunch of dead bodies that look just like the gang themselves.

Vanderohe (played by Omari Hardwick) also observes the bodies, and says wonders aloud if they are "another team… or is it us?" And then he keeps talking, giving conspiracy-minded fans reason to act like Charlie Day at the cork board in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead

(Image credit: Clay Enos/Netflix)

Vanderohe continues, hypothesizing if this bunch of corpses is "in another timeline and we're caught in some infinite loop of fighting and dying and fighting and dying." Heavy, right? When you're fighting off the undead for a big stack of cash, this is the kind of thing that could keep you up at night. 

Of course, Vanderohe just won't shut up. He then compares Bly Tanaka to something far grander than just the guy who gave them a mission. "The puppet-master, the devil, God," he murmurs, "We’re … simply pawns in some in some perverse play where we're destined to repeat our failures. Finally, in some mind-bending, ironic reveal — it all begins again."

Army of the Dead time loop theory explained

And the internet agrees. Twitter user @SamParkerMetal (per GamesRadar) produced a storm of tweets highlighting minute similarities seen in the film. And they start with the bodies: it turns out both one of the corpses Dieter saw has the same key necklace that Maria is wearing. 

Then there's the guns in the vault. Somehow, there are three AKs identical to Guzman's already in the vault.  You can see some of them in the bottom right corner of this press photo:

Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead

(Image credit: Clay Enos/Netflix)

The vault is supposed to have been sealed shut for years, so how could those guns have already been in there? Is this their fourth try? Tweeter @LuchaSpursLucha wonders how Chambers was so good at killing the undead when she said she's never done something like this before.

Does the Army of the Dead heist ever go right?

Dieter provides us with a montage of the film's events early on, where everything goes well. Twitter user @HailMother hypothesizes that there's some "what if?" situation happening here, because Mikey's friend is in Dieter's vision, but not in the group's actual run. 

Dieter's montage has a different vault, too, for what it's worth.

Zack Snyder practically confirmed Army of the Dead loop theory

When The Film Junkee's Vodka Stream asked Snyder about Tanaka commissioning previous attempts to get into the vault, he confirmed that to be true. 

It's what he said next that has people buzzing. "I will also say that… there's a chance – and I'm not saying this is 100% true, and in some ways it's not – but the group at the table, I mean, it's pretty subtle, but that's them also at the table as well as... they get farther every time ... possibly... Is this the time they made it all the way to the money?" And then Snyder smiled, before promising that we won't find out this game all took place in a video game.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.