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The Napalm Zombie's Origins, a theory on who and what he is.

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For those who wish to see the video version of this post: https://bit.ly/317Tgrh


However, if you wish to instead read my thread or have a transcipt, keep reading:


For quite some time, the Napalm Zombie from Shangri-La has never really had his identity known. With his threatening appearance and questionable moveset, it makes for an interesting discussion. This video will discuss my theory, with the help of my friends, on who the Napalm Zombie is, and what his true origins are. First off, let's discuss what Shangri-La was supposed to be…


What it was supposed to be:

Looking in the gamefiles, we can see that Shangri-La was supposed to be a Vietnam-style map. The evidence is if we take a look at the Zombie Character Models for the map, reading the names for them, we see “Viet Cong” and “NVA”.:


bandicam 2020-06-18 17-02-59-536.jpg


bandicam 2020-06-18 17-03-02-462.jpg


bandicam 2020-06-18 17-03-04-900.jpg


bandicam 2020-06-18 17-03-09-256.jpg


“Vietcong” and “NVA” are of course referring to the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam; we could also say as another example that Shangri-La was originally a Vietnam map of some kind, with the idea that the map was released on Black Ops. In whereas, Black Ops had the Vietnam War and the mentioned faction; Treyarch could’ve simply wanted to implement them as they did with U.S.S.R with Ascension; another faction in the game.


Even if Shang-La wasn’t to be the Vietnam map, the faction would have made an appearance somehow anyway, as we see with these concept arts, and poster (this poster was made prior to the release of Black Ops):


bandicam 2020-06-18 17-08-05-274.jpg


bandicam 2020-06-18 17-08-01-010.jpg


bandicam 2020-06-18 17-07-58-011.jpg


bandicam 2020-06-18 17-07-55-755.jpg


bandicam 2020-06-18 17-07-53-437.jpg


So, now that we have a grasp on what Shangri-La was meant to be, and we could assume that the zombies are Vietnamese. We can now discuss the Napalm Zombie, as well as the zombie models too. We want to take a look at them, cause that will further the world building. Taking a look at one zombie model, we can see these tattoos, which resemble a real style of tattoos tied mostly to Hindu and Buddhism.


bandicam 2020-06-18 17-10-25-277.jpg


So, we now have a buddhist connection. Now, we can finally take a look at our Napalm Zombie, let’s first take a look at how he interacts with the player. At first, he acts calm and collected. Yet once shot at, or by any means such as lethal. He runs at the player in an attempt to explode. 


Keep his suicidal tendency in mind, we will get to that. His calmness could be a connection to Buddhism’s Passaddhi, whilst him on fire may be a connection to the practice of Self-Immolation. Self-Immolation is the practice of setting oneself on fire, killing themselves for political, religious, or other reasons. It can be seen as some sort of protest.


Here is where we find our connection to real-life events; Thích Quảng Đức. Thích Quảng Đức was a Vietnamese Buddhist --SOMEWHAT OF A GRAPHIC PHOTO-- who committed the act of Self-immolation in front of many on June 11, 1963. His reason was as a protest toward the South Vietnamese government for their persecution of Buddhists. Thích Quảng Đức could be the inspiration behind the Napalm Zombie.


Think of Napalm as a protesting individual, at first calm, but then acts lethal; his only means of defense and offense is to explode in a fiery suicide. (Sometimes, he never gets aggressive.)


So, to finally recap; the Napalm Zombie is likely a Vietnamese, Buddhist monk, who could have been inspired by Thích Quảng Đức. We can tell that he, along with the other zombies would have been Vietnamese, as shown from the in-game files and such. We can tell he may have practiced Buddhism, with the connections of the religion onto the models of other zombies. Looking at his attitude, and interaction; we can see him as a collected individual; yet will ignite. Appearance-wise, we can get the image of Self-immolation simply by the fire engulfed into him.

Edited by halsten
accidental emoji

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Interesting thread, Halsten! I could definately see the Napalm Zombies being inspired by monks like Đức, calm yet ready to set theirselves on fire. That makes me wonder, in what events would the natives at Shangri-La set theirselves on fire? Perhaps it was due to the Group 935, Sino-Soviet, Americans or Vietnamese opression, forcing the original inhabitants of the area to work in the dangerous 115-mines beneath the surface, as a protest against their mistreating behaviour. Initially I thought Napalm was a typical Cold War weapon, but it appears that it was already used for the first time during WW2's Pacific theatre. Countries that are known to have used it are the US, France, the UK and Israel, untill it was officially forbidden by the UN in 1980.


I like the connection you made between Shangri-La and Vietnam. @Matuzz noted the appearance of crates with multiple languages on it in Shangri-La:



Additional proof that the Vietnamese (and the Chinese & Soviets) found Shangri-La at some moment. The words translate to 'Rifles and Weapons', 'Rocket propulsion launcher' and 'B-40 Rocket Launchers', adding to the idea that those who discovered Shangri-La and the 115 and ancient knowledge beneath, acted violently against the locals.


There's also proof that the Soviet Ascension Group had something to do with this, as one of the map's debris features a Lunar Lander invented by them (thanks @RadZakpak for the picture):

Soviet Lander Debris.PNG


Going a bit deeper in this, in a radio in Ascension dr. Gersch says the following: "I can assure you that our craft will be far superior to whatever the Americans, or should I say, Canadians, are developing". This likely refers to the Canadian AVROCAR, some kind of hovercraft built in a secret US military project. Gersch's "own craft" is likely a reference to their Lunar Landers.

Colour avrocar 59.jpgLunar Lander | Call of Duty Wiki | Fandom

So both the Soviets and Americans were developing flying saucers. I think they were trying to backwards-developing the Nazi's flying Vril saucers, of which we find blueprints in Der Riese/The Giant, where Group 935 was working on.

Help us zombies players figure out this cryptic message from "The ...Talk:Der Riese | Call of Duty Wiki | Fandom

These crafts were based upon ancient anti-gravity vehicles of the Vril-Ya, or (proto-)Keepers.

Shangri-La Loading Screen Music (Looped) - YouTube

Which brings us back in Shangri-La again!


Sorry for this thing, I just let myself loose. Anyway, I'm curious to how and when the Vietnamese, perhaps with help of the Soviets and Chinese, discovered Shangri la. From the Timeline we know Brock and Gary discovered the place in 1958, and somewhere between their arrival and Ultimis', it seems like the Soviets got there.


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Nice work! Glad to have a bit more proof and backstory onto what Shangri-La is! Shangri-La recently has become my favorite map because of it's interesting locale and such..

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I'm no story guy, but you folk always find neat stuff.


The look of Shang always made me think Vietnam or similar.


The fire-guy? I'm just glad he helped me stand in 1 place and headshot my way to 30 solo...I'm not very good at any version of this map.

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My friends made those connections with the gamefile finds and such. I just built upon it, and made a connection to that irl monk. When I learned of him, he gave me Shangri-La vibes, so I had to look into it.

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