WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Zombieland: Double Tap, in theaters now.
One of the best aspects of Zombieland was the surprise appearance by Bill Murray, who came out of nowhere for a brief stint in the zombie apocalypse. Even though he died in the previous film, Zombieland: Double Tap features a new, extended appearance from the actor that reveals something new about the legendary comedian: he's actually a great zombie killer.
Murray's role in Zombieland: Double Tap is even sillier than his smaller one in the first film, but it also showcases his survival potential.
THE UNBEATABLE BILL MURRAY
Upon reaching the West Coast in the first Zombieland, the group of survivors decided to live in Bill Murray's mansion. To the surprise of Wichita (Emma Stone) and Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Bill Murray had actually survived the events of the zombie apocalypse. He made a peaceful life after the end of the world, hanging out in his massive mansion and enjoying a large amount of hidden marijuana. He quickly befriends the pair but pushes things too far when he goes to prank Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) by sneaking up on him dressed as a zombie.
The sudden shock of seeing a zombie makes Columbus grab his gun and fire before asking any questions. He shoots Murray dead in the chest, mortally wounding him. Murray forgives Columbus for killing him, admits that his biggest regret in life was making the Garfield movies, and then slowly dies. It's a sudden and funny demise for the famous comic actor, and one of the most memorable moments in the film.
But, retrospectively, the moment takes on an additional layer of hilarity given the revelations from Zombieland: Double Tap about exactly how Murray lasted as long into the zombie apocalypse as he did. The extended post-credits sequence of the new film happens because Columbus still feels bad about what happened to Murray, and tries to make amends for what happened by showing the comedian before the original film.
MURRAY VS. THE PRESS
The post-credits sequence of the film cuts back to the day of the initial zombie virus outbreak. Bill Murray was busy at the press junket for Garfield 3. Murray is interviewed by a number of different media outlets, all of them blending together over the course of the event. However, while taking a selfie with Al Roker, the Today Show host suddenly begins vomiting. He's quickly revealed to be infected with whatever mysterious cause created the zombie plague and transforms in front of everyone. The zombified Roker then lashes out at everyone but is eventually stopped by Murray grabbing his folding chair and using it as a blunt instrument to beat down the zombie Roker.
Murray and his assistant try to leave the event, but it's revealed that the zombie outbreak is happening all over the press event. While the other journalists and media workers are quickly overwhelmed, Murray is quick to adapt to the chaos. He uses the various items around the press event to fight back against the infected, taking them out with relative ease and dodging every attempt by a zombie to bite him. Murray is almost having fun in the moment, much in the same way that Talahasshee will eventually get a kind of "zen" kick out of killing zombies.
NO MORE MISTER NICE MURRAY
All of this actually goes to explain how Murray lasted so long in the zombie apocalypse. While speaking with Tallahassee in the first film, Murray mentions that he has made a habit of exploring the post-apocalyptic Los Angeles on his own. He's even resumed playing golf on occasion, all while in zombie makeup to avoid detection from the undead that litter the world. Even if he had been found out, Double Tap proves that Murray knew how to handle himself if and when a zombie actually attacked him.
It makes his sudden death at the hands of the nebbish Columbus all the more hilarious. After figuring out how to survive everything the zombie apocalypse could throw at him, Murray was ultimately taken down by a mix of his own hubris -- trying to scare Columbus as a practical joke without considering the possibility of what would happen -- just as much as it was a shotgun blast to the chest.
It's a shame that he didn't survive the film longer and didn't get to work through some aggression alongside Tallahassee in some strange and creative way, but at least he never came back as an actual zombie.
Directed by Ruben Fleischer from a script by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and David Callaham, Zombieland: Double Tap stars Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin. The film is in theatres now.