Director Zack Snyder pulled off a covert switcheroo in Army of the Dead, when he replaced disgraced comedian Chris D’Elia with Tig Notaro in post-production, after he was accused of multiple instances of sexual harassment. The costly reshoots could be the reason why the fate of Huma Qureshi’s character, Geeta, is so ambiguous in the film. Spoilers follow.
The plot partially hinges on a mission to rescue Geeta, a refugee mother who enters a zombie-infested quarantine zone to retrieve some money. When she fails to return, a group of mercenaries on a separate mission decide to also save her.
The group is led by Dave Bautista’s Scott Ward, with his daughter Kate acting as the moral centre of the story. It is Kate who insists that they rescue Geeta.
The team is in a race against time, as the president has decided to drop a nuclear bomb on the quarantined city of Las Vegas, in a bid to kill all the zombies. Towards the end of the film, Scott and Kate locate Geeta alive, and the trio makes its way to the roof of the Olympus hotel and casino, where their getaway helicopter was supposed to be waiting.
But when they arrive, there’s no helicopter in sight. To make matters worse, the zombie warlord, Zeus, is on their tail. Tig Notaro’s helicopter pilot, Marianne Peters, arrives at the last moment to rescue them. It is established that Geeta enters the helicopter, and hops in at the front, next to Marianne. But aside from one shot of Huma looking at the impending nuclear bomb, we don’t see her again.
The action is mostly focused on the fight between Scott and Zeus, who manages to leap into the helicopter. Snyder intercuts between the tussle, shots of Marianne getting injured and struggling to fly the helicopter, and the nuclear bomb.
In the ensuing struggle, Scott manages to kill Zeus, but is bitten. The helicopter crashes and burns, but Scott and Kate survive. It is implied that both Geeta and Marianne perish in the crash, after Kate wakes up and walks over to the wreckage. While she sees Marianne’s lifeless body, Snyder doesn’t overtly establish Geeta’s state.
However, a dying Scott gives Kate some money, which he says should be enough for Geeta’s children as well. “I know it’s not millions, but this should get Geeta’s kids out of the camp for good,” he says, implying that Geeta didn’t make it.
The reason why Geeta isn’t seen beyond a couple of shots after they enter the chopper is perhaps because of the reshoots. Snyder shot entirely new footage with Tig all by herself, and inserted her into the film, and since Huma couldn’t be present for the reshoots — especially the helicopter action that probably featured her in the same frame as D’Elia — it restricted Snyder’s options.
Army of the Dead debuted on Netflix on May 21, after playing in certain US theatres for a week. The film also features Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Arnezeder, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Raúl Castillo.