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."
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 premieres Sunday, April 12 on AMC.
It's coming in April 2020. At the Television Critics Association winter press tour in January, AMC announced that World Beyond will premiere Sunday, April 12 at 10/9c, immediately following the Season 10 finale of The Walking Dead. Following the premiere, it will air at its regular time Sundays at 9/8c starting April 19.
It's a two-season, closed-ended series. Sarah Barnett, president of AMC Networks Entertainment Group and AMC Studios, revealed at TCA 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's a trailer. The series' first trailer was released during the show's panel at New York Comic Con. Check it out above. During the panel, Gimple also gave some 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 will have some significant differences from the other shows. Unlike the other two series, which do 16-episode seasons, Season 1 of the new series will be 10 episodes long. The show is shot in Virginia, which is not a place the other two have filmed, and is set somewhere in the midwest. 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.
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." Mansour confirmed the casting on social media. 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, who's 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."
It's directly connected to 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.
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 Elizabeth, 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 Walking Dead: World Beyond is coming to AMC on Sunday, April 12 at 10/9c. The Walking Dead is available to stream on Netflix, while Fear the Walking Dead is available on Hulu.