would make season 1 more confusing, as there were potential variants throughout the first few episodes that started the popular series. From the little girl picking up her teddy in the pilot episode to the zombie grabbing a rock and smacking the glass door to the mall in episode 2, these types of variants were never seen again until later seasons. If zombies were really evolving, they couldn't have been so smart and unique in season one, which is when the apocalypse began. A more realistic occurrence would be that zombies were incredibly slow and weak at the beginning.
There must be a reason for zombies to evolve and appear so randomly, whether it's a mutated virus that only affects specific individuals or environments that directly impact their behavior. Being exposed to chemicals could alter the virus in their bodies and create additional traits like running and a greater sense of smell. The zombie variant plot hole has been around since the first seasons of , and there's no telling when and if the creators are going to explain this phenomenon in later spinoffs. For the sake of zombie lore, it's better to come up with something that doesn't create even more plot holes.
Although a reasonable explanation would be that variants are evolving, it's also possible that these zombies have always been smart since the start of In season 11, Aaron mentions he's heard stories about variants and their strange, new capabilities, which suggests variants are rare but not a new discovery. He and Jerry had to fight a variant in the same episode, with the zombie able to turn doorknobs, climb walls, and sneak up on them while holding a rock. This revelation would make sense for the zombies in season 1, as variants could be rare in specific locations.
Also, showed a post-credit scene of a woman getting shot and reanimating within seconds. She sprints toward a door, presenting increased speed compared to regular walkers, and bashes a door with immense strength. Since this scene took place soon after the outbreak, it's clear the variants have always been there and didn't need to evolve to adapt interesting behaviors. should take this route if they want to avoid future plot holes and make zombie lore somewhat consistent and realistic in future spinoffs.
Even if the variants were present during the start of the apocalypse, it doesn't make sense why they disappeared for 10 seasons. Throughout , audiences only witnessed the classic, slow walkers that didn't have any signs of intelligence, like picking up objects or staying at a location that meant something to them before they turned. Season 1 seemed to have the most variants, including the little girl and Morgan's wife, Jenny, who looked through the keyhole to her house and turned the doorknob. It seemed like spontaneously created these variants in the first season to keep viewers watching.
Variants should have a scientific explanation, and it's important that the creators address this plot hole soon to give audiences a piece of mind. Maybe these unique zombies gather in a specific location that hasn't explored before, or maybe they are just rare, with characters only encountering them once and again during intense scenes. A possible theory is that variants are part of early experiments in the apocalypse, meaning there are a limited number of them roaming around. Regardless, in universe, so it's about time audiences know the truth about their origin.