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That Time Pandorum Killed Norman Reedus with Mutant Zombies and Started a Hilarious Walking Dead Meme

There's just something about a dirty Norman Reedus that sci-fi fans love.

By Trent Moore

The 2009 sci-fi horror flick Pandorum (streaming now on SYFY) didn’t make much of an impact when it was first released, but over the past decade or so, it’s found an audience among the same types of horror fans that turned Event Horizon and Sphere into cult classics.

But one thing it might be best known for? Plucking a relatively unknown Norman Reedus and tossing him onto a spaceship full of mutant zombie-like killers, and then abruptly killing him off just a few minutes later. It was a scene that also started up a hilarious meme that caused all kinds of strife and trouble for fans of The Walking Dead who didn’t know anything about his character’s demise in the space-set sci-fi film.

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Who Did Norman Reedus Play in Pandorum?

Norman Reedus played the character of Shepard, a ship’s mechanic on the space ship Elysium.

The film’s protagonist, Bower (Ben Foster), encounters Shepard while exploring the ship and trying to figure out what has gone wrong on the mission to cause a bunch of cannibalistic killer mutants to be roaming the corridors. It seems like Shepard might become an ally for Bower, but after a brief chat, they’re attacked by a pack of mutant killers and Reedus’ Shepard is brutally murdered just a few moments after his introduction.

In an interview with Deadbolt around the time of the film’s release, Reedus said it was hectic to fit in the shooting schedule, but well worth it once he saw the finished product — even if it did hurt a bit getting strung up by those mutants.

RELATED: Pandorum is Streaming Now on SYFY

“The thing with Pandorum is: I’m not in the movie all that much. But it takes a long time to shoot those little things and I was just so tired. In one of them I’m covered in oil and it’s like I’m hanging by my neck, and the whole time I had a torn Labrum in my right shoulder,” he said. “So I couldn’t lift a gun and I had to literally lift them and drop them, lift them and drop them, and then I’m being yanked around by monsters. It was just totally grueling. But yeah, I saw the screening and the film just came out so good.”

The Norman Reedus Pandorum/The Walking Dead Meme Explained

Though Reedus’ role in Pandorum is memorable on its own, its likely best known in the wider pop culture realm for the meme that developed among fans sharing screen grabs from his death scene as “spoilers” for The Walking Dead. Reedus’ Walking Dead character Daryl Dixon remains a fan favorite to this day, and since plenty of series regulars died during the show’s run, there was always fear among fans that Daryl might be next on the chopping block.

So pics of Reedus being murdered in a dark, post-apocalyptic environment could easily be mistaken for a grainy spy shot from The Walking Dead — and it caused plenty of fan freak-outs as it sporadically would make the rounds on social media, fooling fans unfamiliar with Reedus’ short-lived (literally) Pandorum role.

Want to revisit Reedus’ little trip to deep space? Pandorum is streaming now on SYFY.

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