HeroZ is a story that takes place during a zombie apocalypse. It is not just straight up zombie genre story, however. Take a zombie apocalypse, now add a little super hero element, throw in a good dose of kung fu, and sprinkle in a love story for good measure. That's HeroZ. It's the story of two people facing the end of the civilization. We follow the main characters, Henry and Emily, in the aftermath of the devastation. A global outbreak has brought civilization to its knees. Both their lives have been destroyed, but how they each deal with the reality of survival in this new world is very different. Henry decides to stick to his training, his morals and his code in an attempt to preserve his own humanity. Emily takes a darker path and becomes judge and executioner in a quest to avenge her brothers' deaths. They meet in a chance encounter, and initially they don't get along at all. But, they are forced to work together.
Early 30's. Marine. All American, boy scout type. Growing up, he was always a bit bigger and stronger than all the other kids his age. And he always felt the need to protect the littler kids who got bullied. This natural instinct to fight for those who couldn't fight for themselves followed him as he grew up. Eventually he joined the Marines. He thrived in the military environment as he had in almost everything else. He was strong, athletic, smart, and determined. A natural leader. He climbed the ranks quickly.
Henry was overseas when the outbreak hit. His team was sent in to secure what they thought was the contagion. But it turned out the virus had already been distributed and a global attack was already underway. By the time he got home, his fiance, Julie, was gone without a trace. It all happened so fast, there was no way to know if she was alive or not. Odds of survival in the hot zone were slim. He had dedicated his whole life to protecting and fighting for people, but he wasn't there when the one person who mattered most to him needed his protection. He feels he should have been there. He failed her.
In a mad fit of rage and despair, he went out into the streets killing every zombie he could find. He would fight till he dropped, and died. While in his mad rage, a young girl saw him in the streets in his military uniform and came out from hiding. She ran to Henry and asked if he's in the army and there to save her. She said the military men said they'd come back. Henry, still in a rage, turns to her and yells back "I can't save you! I can't save anyone!" She begins to cry. Henry then has flashbacks, hearing voices of his old friends, drill sergeant, and Julie...his fiance. "You will knock that shit out and you will help that little girl...do you understand maggot?!" yelled his drill instructor. Then he hears his girlfriend, "Henry, this is not who you are. Save this girl. Don't give up..." Henry's sanity returns. He looks at the little girl and calmly says he's going to save her. From that point on, Henry doubles down on his lifelong commitment to save people and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. It is now they need him the most. And he vows to keep searching for Julie until he knows for sure what happened to her.
Late 20's early 30's. Of Asian decent (China or maybe Taiwan). She grew up the youngest of three, with two older brothers. Being the youngest, the smallest, the weakest, and a girl, she was often told she couldn't do the same things her brothers did. She never accepted that and spend her life trying to prove to her older brothers she could do anything they could. She developed a fierce competitive streak. She had an iron will and never backed down or gave up. She always had to prove she was as good as her brothers. As a result, not only did she prove she could hang with her bros, but she often bested them (and anyone else who challenged her). Her brothers were accomplished martial artists, and she could beat them both. She also took up their love of motorcycles.
Though she always competed with her older brothers, it was good spirited and she and her brothers were very close. After the outbreak, bands of people were coming together to try to help one another. But, there were also those who used the chaos it as an opportunity for themselves. With no law and order to hold them back or provide any consequences for their actions, The violent criminals ran wild and terrorized the pockets of survivors. A gang, led by a vicious leader, took over the city Emily and her brothers were in. One day, on an urgent run for supplies, Emily and her brothers were ambushed by a some of these gang members. Her brothers told her to take the supplies and run while they held off the attackers. Emily protested at first, but then did as they said. When she returned, she found her brothers' bodies in the street. They had been slaughtered by the thugs. Society was gone, her old life was gone, her brothers were gone. She had nothing left. She vowed to find her brothers' killers and kill them to death. All of them. She would wipe out the gang that now controlled the city. By herself. She would not stop until they were all dead.
She prowls the city at under the cover of darkness and hunts down the gang members or anyone else that preys on the weak.
A zombie virus is spreading across the world. In a coordinated attack, terrorists have unleashed a deadly bio weapon in all major cities around the globe. Once the outbreak starts, it spreads too fast to be stopped. Nations across the world take drastic measures to contain the virus and quarantine the infected, but they fail. Society quickly breaks down as the military retreats back to ever-shrinking "green zones" in an effort to save the few uninfected they can. Most of the nation is in the hot zone, and survival in these areas is difficult. Death comes in the form of starvation, zombies, or violence from other survivors.
The story begins with Henry at his lap top skyping with his girlfriend, Julie, who is back home. Julie works in a hospital and is calling him before her shift starts. He is deployed overseas, but will be heading home soon. They have a trip planned, Emily can hardly contain her excitement, but Henry is distracted. In his hand, out of sight to the camera and Julie, Henry fumbles with a ring. Their call is cut short when Henry's commanding officer, Tex, interrupts and says he has urgent business. Hot new intel has come in. It's only hours old. But it's critical they move on it immediately. They are stationed the closest, and Henry and his team are the best. So they get the gig. Henry says goodbye and tells Julie he'll see her soon.
Tex gives Henry the briefing. A source has provided the location of a lab located in a cavern system in the nearby mountains. They are in possession of a deadly virus, and plan to release it into the public and infect the global population. Henry and his team must mobilize to secure the pathogen before it's moved to another location and lost. Their orders are strict: secure the material intact. Henry wonders why they don't just fire bomb the place and wipe it out with everyone inside, but orders are under no circumstances is it to be destroyed!
The raid is a bit suspenseful. Tense, action-packed, but successful. They take the terrorists by surprise, but still meet some resistance. They're able to get away before the terrorists can regroup. Once back at the base, they start making arrangements for evac. A government agent man has arrived, he departed for the base as soon as the intel came in. He checks out the material Henry recovered. He is relieved...they got it. They victory party is short lived. They soon learn the terrorists have regrouped and are about to stage a counter attack, most likely in an effort to reclaim the virus. They need to repel the attackers and keep the material safe until reinforcements can arrive for an evacuation and extraction.
Meanwhile, back at home we learn that Henry's girlfriend works at a hospital and patients are arriving showing strange symptoms. They are the first wave of infected. The news eventually reaches Henry and those at the base. The outbreak has already begun! Cities around the world are reporting patients with strange, horrible symptoms of some new sickness. The government man levels with Henry: what they secured was not the virus, but a possible vaccine. The terrorists were holding it as ransom. It can't help those already infected, but it can stop or at least dramatically slow the outbreak. That's why it's critical to get it back stateside and get mass production started as soon as possible. They must protect it at all costs and prevent the terrorists from taking or destroying it!
The gov man is on the coms trying to come up with another plan to get out. The attack is now under way and they are taking heavy fire. To make things worse, town people start rushing the gates, but...they're infected! The terrorists have infected the town and turned them into an undead army! A zombie horde is now at the front door. The escape plan is to go across town to the nearby airfield. Henry doesn't think that will work. He comes up with a new plan, but it's risky. The government man agrees to it. A heavily armed caravan will head out the front gate and make for the airfield. But Henry, the Gman, and a very small team will take 2 vehicles out after the main convoy leaves and head out of town to another evac point where another airlift will be waiting. They have a small handheld digital flare, a beacon, that they will use once they've reached safety to signal the evac. The main caravan will be a diversion and provide cover for them to make their escape.
The plan almost works, but Henry and the group are ambushed in an rpg attack. Gman is mortally wounded. Most everyone in the caravan is killed. Henry is alive but unconscious. The material is still intact but the case is damaged. The vials look cracked. It can't survive if contaminated with outside air (or something). It must be saved! In a desperate attempt to save the vaccine which is leaking from the vial, Gman injects Henry with it! Then, he moves him to a safe hidden location, Signals the beacon and sticks it in Henry's vest. Then he gets back in the car and keeps going. The terrorists blow up the fleeing car with another rpg attack. They sift through the burning rubble and see the charred broken case that the vaccine was in. The vial is broken and empty. They've succeeded in destroying it! Or so they think. Henry wakes up, having no idea what just happened. He wakes up in time to see the gman's truck blown up. Just as he's about to lose consciousness, an attack helicopter rises over the rocky cliffs and opens fire on the terrorists who had pursued Henry and the Gman. The heli wipes out all the terrorists, and a team of men repel down following the beacon's signal to Henry. They grab him and head back.
Henry wakes up at home. All forces were evacuated and brought back to the states. The zone he is in is unstable and about to be overrun. They are in the process of evacuating and pulling back farther. Henry says he isn't going anywhere, and says he's heading into the hot zone to save Julie. By the time he gets back to their home, he finds a destroyed city overrun by infected. Julie is nowhere to be found. The hospital is ablaze. Destroyed. Their apartment is empty. Blood trails line the halls. Infected roam everywhere. Henry has little hope Julie survived.
The story of the apocolypse begins:
We follow Henry and Emily. They both are hit hard by the aftermath of the outbreak, and both suffer great personal losses. How each decides to cope and move on is very different. Henry doubles down on his convictions, and vows to stay the course and fights with the hope that society will recover and rebuild. This is a war, and it is a war he believes can be won. Emily, however, turns down a darker path. She believes the world is over and society will fall into total collapse, and the human race is staring down extinction. When her brothers were killed, she lost everything. For her, life is over. There is nothing left. Her will to survive is fueled only by the need to seek revenge on those who killed her brothers. She is filled with rage, pain, hate and grief. She grew up competing against her brothers and is a world class champion martial arts master (various degrees, belts, titles, etc). She's basically a ruthless assassin destroying anyone who gets in her way. She's also into motorcycles (another thing she got from her brothers). So, I'm kinda thinking in vigilante mode she dresses in a lot of black biker leather because 1. She'd look bad ass. 2. Leather would be practical because it would make for good armor against zombie bites.
Henry and Emily meet during a chance encounter in the streets of the city. Henry has come back to look for Julie. Emily was in the city during the outbreak, and has already lost her brothers. She is in full vigilante mode. Henry loses his shit after the realization that Julie is most likely dead because he wasn't there for her. He heads to the streets for a little death by zombie. He doesn't want to live anymore, so he'll go out fighting. An "honorable" death. It is there he meets the little girl. Henry snaps out of his rage when he realizes this girl will surely die without his help. The little girl has given him purpose again and saved him, and now he must save the little girl. A horde of zombies is descending upon them, but Henry is able to fight them off in a harrowing chase through the streets until he and the little girl get to safety. The little girl tells Henry of an evacuation, and how she and her family were unable to make it onto the trucks in time. She said they had been told military was retreating to a fortified green zone and they'd take as many as they could. She said the military men said more soldiers would come back for those not on the first evac caravan. But no one ever came. Now, her family is dead. This gives Henry hope that maybe Julie made it out and might be alive in the green zone. Julie worked in the hospital and might have been considered essential personnel and been included in the initial evac. He decides that he must get out of the city and to the green zone, and must take the little girl out of this hell hole and bring her to the green zone too.
As they head out of the city, they are confronted by a gang of street thugs. Now that all law and order has broken down, and all military and police are gone, the gangsters have taken control of the city. A ruthless gangster now has declared himself ruler of ?City (I don't know where they are yet. Maybe a real city, maybe a fictional one. Or maybe he doesn't control the whole city, just a part of it. A part Henry happens to find himself in at that time.). He rules from a lavishly decorated penthouse apartment and his thugs have gone out looting and he surrounds himself with treasure looted from the city. Paintings from museums, gold bars, piles of money. All of it worthless now, but for him it is symbolic of his importance and dominance nonetheless. He plans to live the rest of whatever days he has left as a king. Anyone still in the city he considers to be his subjects. No one leaves. Everyone must serve him. His thugs patrol routinely. They find Henry and the little girl as they are gathering supplies and preparing to exit the city, and surround the two. They tell Henry no one leaves the city, and that he must swear allegiance to the king. Henry is like, fuck that. He can fight his way out of this. And, once the punches start flying we see Henry can clearly take all of them handily. But, he has the little girl with him and they use her to force him to surrender. They grab her and threaten to kill her. The thugs see Henry as a threat that must be removed, and they decide they'll take the girl for themselves. Just when it looks like Henry is gonna bite it (if he fights the girl will die), a dark shadowy figure swoops down and slaughters the thugs in a vicious, but one-sided fight. Henry initially thinks this mystery fighter will turn on him and the girl next, so he grabs the girl to protect her and prepares to fight to defend them both from this attacker. But as quickly as this person swooped in, they are gone again. It doesn't appear the mystery attacker wanted anything to do with Henry and the little girl. This is the first meeting of Henry and Emily, although Henry doesn't know it yet.
Henry and Emily will eventually team up in an effort to leave the city. Henry and the little girl will form a small band with a few other survivors. Emily will join the group although it will be some time before Henry realizes it was her that day. She plays like the innocent, harmless girl during the day. She uses her beauty to lure out those taking advantage of the weak. But when she wants to, she can kick some serious ass. (Since this will be animated, I really want there to be some crazy fight scenes with her doing some amazing moves...things that are difficult or impossible to film in live action...with incredible speed and hard impacts.) Henry can kick ass as well, but he's more brute strength. He has some serious hand-to-hand combat skills thanks to his special forces training though. Together, Emily and Henry are nearly unstoppable. But...the problem is: from the start, they kind of hate each other.
The dynamic between them is going to be very much like Superman and Batman. Henry is big and strong. He's idealistic and optimistic. He believes that they'll turn this around and somehow save the world. Emily thinks he's stupid and naive. And she thinks that kind of thinking is dangerous and will get people killed. She thinks this is the end of mankind and eventually everyone will be dead. Human life will be wiped out. So in the meantime, she's taking out the people who pray on the weak, people she considers worse than the zombies. Henry, of course still holds on to quaint notions of justice and due process. So, while the two are in a bit of a forced partnership while they help out the other survivors, the two clash quite often over their approach to various problems they face.
Over time, though, Emily eventually starts warming up to Henry. She was so filled with hate and rage that she can't help but find Henry's endless optimism enticing. Slowly but surely, he starts to give her reason to hope again. She is envious of his resolve, and his hope shines like a bright light, a beacon which she reluctantly finds herself following, climbing her way out of the deep dark pit of despair she had been trapped in. And over the course of season one, we see that Emily has clearly fallen for Henry. Henry will also warm to Emily, but since he is completely devoted to finding his (probably dead) girlfriend, Emily never really can get too close to him. This will be the classic story with the two main characters that the audience wants to see get together, but circumstances seem to keep that from ever happening. (Fear not, it won't make the mistake of dragging on like other shows.)
In season one, we will get to know Henry and Emily better through flashback to who they were before the outbreak. That will contrast (or show similarities) to who they are now. We'll watch as their relationship evolves. Season one will basically be the story of the survivors plotting their escape out of the city and getting to the green zone. The plan involves first escaping the city, and then making their way to a small airport where a pilot in the group can fly them to a green zone several hundred miles away. (The trip would be far too perilous to make on foot, and travel by car is almost impossible with the roads jammed up and shortage of gasoline.) A few of them have managed to find a way to leave the city and scout the area, which is how they find the airport and a plane that is flyable. But for them all to leave, it will be a bit dangerous and will be impossible without being detected by the gang. So they prepare and plan. We follow the preparations for escape, get to know the characters better, watch Henry and Emily's relationship evolve, and also follow Emily's growing war with the gangster/warlord who controls all (or part of?) the city. The season culminates with the group getting out the city (after a lot of fighting and a lot of action) and getting to the airport. There, they face an attack from gang members who have followed them out there. The sound of the fighting brings a horde of zombies. It appears as though their plan of escape will fail. But Emily comes up with an idea. She drives a fueling truck down each side of the runway with the valve open. She's going to set the fuel ablaze, creating a protective wall of fire to keep the runway clear of zombies so the plane can taxi and take off. Emily really had no plan to going with them. After all, she still has gang thugs to kill. And Henry is off to be with his (probably dead) girlfriend who is (probably not) safe in the green zone waiting for him. So she tells them to get in the plane while she fights off the horde. Except she gets in trouble. Back at the plane with the group, Henry sees this. So...of course...he leaves the group and runs over to help her. He tells them to board the plane and go on without him if he's not back. As the two of them fight, Henry is bit while saving Emily. They still mange to fight off the zombies and the remaining gang thugs. The fire keeps the runway clear. The plane takes off. Emily then takes the bitten and quickly weakening Henry to her motorcycle and rides off. There is a sweet shot at the end looking down the runway (night) with flames along both sides and the plane heading towards camera taking off, while on the ground Emily drives with the infected and dying Henry on the back of her bike.
She drives off into the woods. She doesn't get far because of the growth, but she gets far enough until she feels they're safe. Here there will be an emotional scene of Emily holding Henry. He is bit. He's going to die. He's going to die because he saved her. Just like her brothers did. It's happening all over again. Emily can't handle this happening again and is at her breaking point with grief. Henry was the only one who gave her hope, and she realizes she loves him. And now he's going to die. He tells her she needs to "do it" so that he will not turn. Emily just can't bring herself to actually go through with it. Soon, Henry drifts off. And becomes unresponsive. He's dead. Emily loses it. Just then...bullets whiz by and ricochet off a nearby tree. The remaining thugs tracked her down. They're after her. They found her. Still dazed from Henry's death, she gets up and runs for cover. She sees them coming. She's too frazzled to fight. As they get closer, she looks and sees Henry stirring. Oh my god...he's turning! She didn't kill him through the head! Now her failure is complete. They see her again! More bullets! She has no choice, she must run! She runs off into the woods. They run after her. She runs blindly. She's too frazzled and can barely see through her tear filled eyes. And... She runs right into another thug. She tries to fight but her strength is gone. Her grief is too much. She just doesn't care. Let them kill her. But they don't. They bag her. "The boss is gonna be real glad to see you", one of them says.
Thus ends season one.
ROUGH CONCEPT GALLERY
These are just a few tests from a set I was putting together. The zombies are from tests I did a year ago. So they're kind of old. This was basically just trying to sketch up a potential mood for a teaser/trailer.