Back in April 2019, AMC announced the Walking Dead franchise was expanding to include a third series. According to the network, The Walking Dead: World Beyond "will feature two young female protagonists and focus on the first generation to come of age in the apocalypse as we know it. Some will become heroes. Some will become villains. In the end, all of them will be changed forever. Grown up and cemented in their identities, both good and bad." The show will be very different than previous Walking Dead series in its structure — it will run for two closed-ended seasons — as well as in its tone and geographic locations.
Here's what we know so far about The Walking Dead: World Beyond, the third Walking Dead series (after The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead), which will premiere later this year on AMC. It was originally scheduled to premiere Sunday, April 12, but the premiere date has been postponed to a date to be determined due to the coronavirus pandemic. Production on Fear the Walking Dead Season 6 has also been halted, and the start date for physical production on Season 11 of The Walking Dead has been pushed back, while the writers are working from home.
Here's what it's about
"The Walking Dead: World Beyond expands the universe of The Walking Dead, delving into a new mythology and story that follows the first generation raised in a surviving civilization of the post-apocalyptic world," AMC's official description states. "Two sisters along with two friends leave a place of safety and comfort to brave dangers, known and unknown, living and undead, on an important quest. Pursued by those who wish to protect them and those who wish to harm them, a tale of growing up and transformation unfurls across dangerous terrain, challenging everything they know about the world, themselves and each other. Some will become heroes. Some will become villains. But all of them will find the truths they seek."
It's a two-season, closed-ended series
Sarah Barnett, president of AMC Networks Entertainment Group and AMC Studios, revealed at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in January that World Beyond will be a two-season, closed-ended series consisting of 20 episodes. "It's the perfect advancement of the universe in ways that are multi-generational, fresh, and unexpected," she said. "It's not imitating The Walking Dead, either in substance nor in form. World Beyond is a two-season, closed-ended series that will tell a very specific and distinct story."
It has some familiar producers
World Beyond is created by Scott M. Gimple, chief content officer of the Walking Dead universe and former Walking Dead showrunner, and Matt Negrete, who has been a writer and producer on The Walking Dead for the past five seasons and whose credits include Andrew Lincoln's final episode and the Negan-introducing Season 6 finale. Negrete is showrunner of the new series. Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts will direct.
There are plenty of trailers
The series' first trailer was released during the show's panel at New York Comic Con. Check it out above.
Since the first trailer, AMC has released two more. The first one teases a CRM location in a place never before seen on any Walking Dead show: New York.
The second is about character and mood. It doesn't contain any new footage from the show. Instead, it introduces the characters via pastel colors and personality.
There's also an abbreviated and updated version of the original Comic Con trailer.
It will have some significant differences from the other shows
Unlike the other two series in the franchise, which do 16-episode seasons, Season 1 of World Beyond will be 10 episodes long. The show is shot in Virginia, which is not a place the other two have filmed. The Walking Dead is set in Virginia, as of Season 10, but films in Georgia. Fear the Walking Dead has filmed in numerous locations and is currently set and filmed in Texas. World Beyond set all over the country, as the kids' quest starts in Nebraska and continues east.
A bunch of young people are in the cast
Alexa Mansour, Nicolas Cantu, and Hal Cumpston have been cast in major roles. Mansour, who has appeared on Madam Secretary, SEAL Team, and The Resident, will play Hope, one of the two protagonists, "a good-natured rule-breaker who lives for today. She is likable and funny on the outside but sad on the inside." Cantu and Cumpston will play Elton and Silas, a science-minded teen and a quiet loner, respectively.
At San Diego Comic-Con, Gimple announced some other cast members: The Americans' Annet Mahendru will play a character named Huck, and The Red Line's Aliyah Royale will play Iris, the other protagonist, a heroic young woman who will do anything to protect the people she loves.
We have some first-look photos
AMC released the first six images from the new series ahead of the show's New York Comic Con debut. The star of these photos is Silas' big wrench.
Scott Gimple teased some details at San Diego Comic-Con
Gimple said the show will be about kids who came of age relatively sheltered from the zombie apocalypse, in what he called a "first-world situation" compared to the mud and blood we've seen so far.
"There's a big secret about the Walking Dead universe," he said, speaking about the spin-off publicly for the first time. "All these years we've just seen a tiny sliver of the Walking Dead world. There's a whole lot of world out there. The big secret is that all along, there have been other civilizations that survived the apocalypse. We saw hints of that in Season 7 of The Walking Dead and again in 'The End of Everything,' and now we're about to show a lot more of the world in a bunch of different projects," he said. "These kids could stay where they grew up, in this place of comfort and security, but they leave their home to risk everything for a quest while they are pursued by adult friends on a quest of their own. We will see some of these kids become heroes and others become villains."
At New York Comic Con, Gimple gave some more insight into what the story of World Beyond will be.
"They've grown up in the apocalypse," Gimple said of the show's young characters. "They're aware of walkers. They haven't interacted with them. They've been [living] beyond walls. That makes any journey they need to make incredibly dangerous. They are affected in different ways by what happened. They don't remember much of a world without walkers. This is the normal world for them, but they've been apart from it. They've been in safety. There's a quest aspect to this show. They're going somewhere. They have to leave this place of safety to put themselves in a position where they have to fight for their survival and what they believe in. It's a different kind of story in the world of The Walking Dead, and it introduces a new world."
It's directly connected to CRM, the helicopter people
Gimple revealed a big piece of mythology during the New York Comic Con panel. The group who took Rick Grimes away in a helicopter on The Walking Dead and who showed up again on Fear the Walking Dead has an insignia that's three interlocking circles. Gimple said that those circles each represent a different community within the larger group, and the community on The World Beyond is one of those groups. But it's not the one where Rick Grimes is presumably headed, nor does it seem to be the one where Fear's Isabelle was from.
A preview clip from the World Beyond premiere revealed that CRM stands for "Civil Republic Military." We know a lot about the Civil Republic Military, except for the biggest thing, which is where they took Rick Grimes.
It took a long time to settle on a title
The series was announced in April, and the title wasn't announced until November. Along with the title announcement came a new teaser, which has some hardcore helicopter action.
The supporting cast is getting filled in
Emmy-winner Julia Ormond (Temple Grandin) joins as a series regular and will play Lt. Col. Elizabeth Kubler, who is described as the charismatic leader of a large, sophisticated and formidable force. Guest stars in the season will include Succession's Natalie Gold as Lyla, a mysterious figure operating in the shadows on behalf of the cause she believes in; Step Up: High Water's Al Calderon as Barca; Rise's Ted Sutherland as Percy; and 30 Rock's Scott Adsit as Tony.
The key art makes it clear this is a different Walking Dead
In keeping with the colorful teaser, World Beyond's key art uses bright colors never before seen in the usually drab Walking Dead franchise.
The Walking Dead: World Beyond is coming to AMC later this year. The Walking Dead is available to stream on Netflix, while Fear the Walking Dead is available on Hulu.