‘All of Us Are Dead’: K-Drama Changed the Virus’s Backstory Compared to the Original Webtoon

Netflix‘s All of Us Are Dead joins the other popular Korean dramas like Sweet home, Hellbound, and others by Netflix based on a webtoon. Published between 2009 and 2011, Now at Our School is by Joo Dong-geun. A K-drama based on written source material does not warrant an exact small-screen adaptation. Just like Hellbound, details of All of Us Are Dead’s storyline, like the virus, were changed from the original webtoon version.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for All of Us Are Dead.]

Infected zombie students in 'All of Us Are Dead' compared to webtoon wearing school uniforms and bloody.
Infected zombie students in ‘All of Us Are Dead’ | via Netflix

A science teacher and father is the cause of a viral outbreak at school in ‘All of Us Are Dead’

The coming-of-age zombie K-drama starts interestingly. Byeong-chan’s son is being bullied on a rooftop. He is overcome with rage and exhibits unforeseen tendencies. He survives falling from the roof that would have killed anyone. Byeong-chan secretly visits his son in the hospital and tries to kill him using a bible when he turns into a monster.

All of Us Are Dead continues with everyone unaware of what the teacher has done. The main characters begin another day at school as usual. The K-drama centers on the main characters’ battle of survival as their closest friends become zombies. The Jonas virus created by Byeong-chan infects the entire school and the town. He developed the virus to help his son against bullies.

As All of Us Are Dead was originally a webtoon, one fan on Reddit explains the director changed the backstory behind the virus for the Netflix K-drama.

The virus was an accident in the ‘All of Us Are Dead’ webtoon

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The domino effect involving the virus, Byeong-chan, and his son unfold differently in the webtoon. In the K-drama, Byeong-chan created the virus using a mutated hormone from a mouse who became a predator. According to a fan of the webtoon, that is not what originally happened.

“His son got infected by accident when he was out at the sea fishing. The original virus came from a meteor under the sea. The teacher thought his son have a cold so he went out to buy medicine. When he came back he witnessed his son eat his wife,” said the fan. All of Us Are Dead did keep the small webtoon detail of Byeong-chan reporting his son missing to avoid suspicion over his absence.

The fan explains that Byeong-chan was using the mouse to cure the virus. This somewhat occurs in the K-drama until Byeong-chan gives up, realizing the virus was mutating to survive.

In All of Us Are Dead, Hyeon-ju is infected by a lab mouse Byeong-cha experimented on. The fan on Reddit clarifies, “But in fact, the girl never got infected(so hamster bite it’s just a scare, not enough for transformation). In desperation, the teacher injects his son’s blood into the girl to try to get a better result. That was the real reason why she transformed. The whole bully arc never happens in the comics.”

Netflix and the director tweaked the virus’s backstory to make the premise of the K-drama and how the infection works more dramatic.

The webtoons finale is different from ‘All of Us Are Dead’ K-drama

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The opening scene and story arc between Byeong-chan’s son and his bullies never occur in the webtoon. KPopMag also confirms this. They explain the opening scene is more mundane and calm. On-jo, played by Park Ji-hu in the K-drama, complains about walking up the stairs to get to school.

How Hyeon-ju was infected was changed from the webtoon for the K-drama. Instead of one mouse, Hyeon-ju was bit by three. She also developed symptoms much slower than in the K-drama. In the All of Us Are Dead webtoon, she tells a full story of what happened to her.

According to the webtoon, All of Us Are Dead has a possible continuation. In the K-drama, Nam-ra’s closing remarks lead audiences to believe more mutated versions of the infected. The finale happens differently in the webtoon. According to Bustle, Nam-ra becomes immune, but the virus made its way into the water stream heading toward Japan.