What are Burners? Walking Dead’s New Type of Zombie is Acidic!

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon unleashes a new type of zombie that fans have never seen before – the “Burners.” 

The Walking Dead has always shown zombies as slow, dumb, and easy to kill, but the franchise is changing the game with new variants. The Walking Dead: World Beyond’s final episode revealed “variant cohorts” – zombies that were faster, stronger, and smarter.’

Season 11’s finale then showed zombies that could climb ladders, grab knives, and use rocks as weapons. These variant zombies finally explained why some zombies in The Walking Dead season 1 differed from the rest.

Right from the start, Daryl Dixon encounters these horrific creatures that can scorch his flesh with a mere touch. They have bulging veins, and their blood sizzles like acid on the floor. 

These zombies are called “Burners” by Isabelle, a mysterious character played by Clémence Poésy. This raises many questions about the zombie lore of The Walking Dead, but some clues can be deduced from the text.

1. The Burners Have Acidic Skin

What are Burners? Walking Dead’s New Type of Zombie is Acidic!
Burner Zombies Burn | Source: IMDb
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Unlike the others, Burners don’t have enhanced intelligence, speed, or strength. Their main feature is their acidic blood and skin, which can burn anything they touch. That’s why they are called Burners. 

You can see the veins in their CGI glowing heads and the smoke rising from the ground where Daryl’s weapon spills their guts. Their blood seems to be the source of their power.

The Burners’ skin is so thin that their blood can leak through and burn anything they touch. This is why Daryl’s arm gets a nasty wound when a Burner grabs him. The Burners have some poison in their blood that makes them very dangerous. 

Why do they have glowing veins, then? That’s still a mystery in The Walking Dead. Maybe it’s just a way to tell them apart from regular zombies, or perhaps it has something to do with how they became Burners in the first place.

2. Their Origins

What are Burners? Walking Dead’s New Type of Zombie is Acidic!
Burner Zombies | Source: IMDb
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The origin of the Burners is a mystery that Daryl Dixon episode 1 entices us with. We only see these fiery zombies in a food processing plant, where they could have been exposed to some chemical agents. 

Maybe the toxic substances in the air or on the surfaces reacted with the zombies’ bodies and made them burn from the inside. This would be fatal for a living person, but zombies don’t care about such things. They just keep on walking, even if they are on fire.

Daryl Dixon also hints that the Burners might result from a sinister experiment. The show’s intro features a book that shows a zombie with some notes in French. The notes say things like “control the dead” and “point of entry.” 

Moreover, the book has the same symbol as the one on the vehicles of Daryl Dixon’s enemies. 

Also, in the last scene of episode 1, we hear one of Genet’s doctors talking about “test subjects.” Finally, there’s a scene in the Daryl Dixon trailer where a zombie with glowing veins, similar to the Burners, gets injected with something mysterious.

The evidence points to the possibility that Burners are the product of a zombie experiment gone wrong. This idea is also backed up by The Walking Dead: World Beyond finale, where a mysterious French character revealed that the scientists who caused the zombie outbreak “made it worse” by creating new variants. 

Another clue that Burners are artificially made and not the result of a natural or chemical process comes from Isabelle. The nun talks as if Burners – or Brûlant, as she calls them – are a common sight in France, which makes it unlikely that they are only found in the building that Daryl explored.

3. Are there other variants in France then?

Daryl Dixon episode 1 drops a bombshell that Burners are not the only zombies with special powers. Isabelle reveals that Burners are “just one kind” of undead. The nun’s ominous words make it clear that they are part of a larger group of variants, each with different abilities, which explains why we have seen other zombies do different things in the past.

Isabelle’s words hint that Burners are part of The Walking Dead’s expanding roster of zombies with unique skills. We have seen climbers in The Walking Dead season 11, runners in The Walking Dead: World Beyond, and now Burners in Daryl Dixon. 

It also suggests that more variants will come in The Walking Dead’s future and that zombies can have different abilities as the story continues.

4. Why don’t Burners Feature in the main Walking Dead TV show?

What are Burners? Walking Dead’s New Type of Zombie is Acidic!
Rick Grimes | Source: IMDb
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Daryl Dixon’s Burners are a fascinating addition to the world of The Walking Dead, but they also raise a big mystery: Why haven’t we seen these acid-spewing zombies before in 11 seasons of the main show or its US-based spinoffs? We know that there are different types of variants in America, so where are the Burners hiding among them? 

The answer might depend on how the variants came to be in the first place, but Daryl Dixon gives us some clues to make an educated guess about the Burners’ absence from The Walking Dead until now.

Daryl Dixon episode 1 hinted that the variants might be a product of the mysterious factory where Daryl encountered them. If that’s the case, then it’s no wonder they haven’t crossed the ocean yet. 

However, the reason is even more sinister if the variants are artificial, as World Beyond suggests. 

The shocking post-credits scene of World Beyond confirmed that some rogue scientists created the Walking Dead virus in France. It also implied that they continued to experiment with the virus, creating the variants as a result. That means the variants are more likely to be found in France, where they were born than in other parts of the world.

That’s why The Walking Dead’s main show only features a handful of variants, while Isabelle casually mentions “just one kind” and doesn’t bat an eye when Daryl meets a Burner. 

Maybe some zombies sneaked onto a boat, or someone intentionally brought them over. 

Either way, the US hasn’t seen the worst of the French zombies yet. Who knows what other horrors lurk in the land of baguettes and berets?

5. How will Burners change the Walking Dead universe?

Burners will change everything for The Walking Dead. Survivors have learned to deal with zombies by stabbing them and getting splashed with their blood or by escaping from their clutches.

However, Burners are different. Daryl has to kill these flaming walkers without getting any of their goo on him, and he has to stay away from their scorching touch. 

In The Walking Dead, killing has become almost dull after 13 years of stabbing and shooting, but Burners change everything.

Burners also render useless some clever tricks that The Walking Dead’s survivors have used over the years. Rick Grimes’ method of smearing zombie guts on himself to blend in won’t work if those guts are scorching hot. Neither will the Whisperers’ strategy of wearing zombie skins as disguises since the skin itself can kill with a touch. 

By introducing Burners, Daryl Dixon has shaken up The Walking Dead’s world for good.

What are Burners? Walking Dead’s New Type of Zombie is Acidic!

6. About Daryl Dixon

Daryl Dixon is an upcoming American TV series written by David Zabel. The series is a spinoff of The Walking Dead (2010-2022).

The series will focus on Daryl Dixon, who fights the dead zombies in Paris, France. No other details have been disclosed.

The show stars Norman Reedus and other actors who haven’t been revealed yet. The show will premiere on AMC sometime in 2023.

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