The Walking Dead: World Beyond opens up a new part of the TWD Universe with new characters and a closer look at the Civic Republic Military (CRM). The new cast is young, and they have a lot to live up to with the success of The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead. They are well aware of the pressure to tell a good story, and they are having a blast.
TWD: World Beyond stars Aliyah Royale and Alexa Mansour as Iris and Hope Bennett. Nicolas Cantu is their friend, Elton Ortiz, and Hal Cumpston is their new friend, Silas. The show also stars Nico Tortorella as Felix, Annet Mahendru as Huck and Julia Ormond as Lt. Colonel Elizabeth Kublek. The story takes place in Nebraska in a place called the Campus Colony. It’s an extension of Omaha. Omaha is one of the three communities protected by the CRM, along with Portland. The third community is a big secret.
The young cast of TWD: World Beyond are the focal point of the series. Iris is your typical high school student. She makes good grades, is involved in extracurricular activities and is the perfect citizen. Hope is the complete opposite of Iris. She’s not bad, but she’s good at getting herself into trouble. When the show begins, Hope and Iris are missing their dad, who was asked to join a research team in the CRM to find a cure. They find out that their father is in trouble via FAX, and they decide it’s time to find him.
As fate would have it, Elizabeth is in the community at that time. She wants to be friendly with Hope and Iris. She tells them that their father is safe and gives them a map to his location, and that’s where the adventure begins.
Elton is a young man with a curious mind. He is a black belt in karate but is more interested in what the world has to offer for the time he has left in it. Elton actually knows of a way out of the community and only asks that he be allowed to tag along. And Silas … Silas is a mystery. From the beginning, we know that the community is skeptical of him for something he did in his last community. But Elton, Iris and Hope don’t care about his past. That’s how he ends up leaving with them, searching for a new life.
The cast got their first taste of the TWD pandemonium at New York Comic Con 2019. “I remember The Walking Dead‘s panel was before ours, and of course they had this incredible welcome,” says Royale. “And I was like, ‘Oh, I hope we get something halfway to that point.’ They don’t know us. They don’t know our characters. I don’t think we even gave them the name of the series at that point. And we walked on stage and … just the amount of love and excitement that flooded into the room … it was the most insane welcome.”
Mansour adds: “The fans are so loyal to the show that it’s like you enter into this family and they welcome you with open arms. And that was incredible. That was absolutely amazing.”
The Walking Dead has been on television for 10 years and has a huge impact on this young cast. Cantu is only 17 and grew up with zombies. “Growing up playing video games, zombies have always been a part of my life. So kind of having that point of reference as an audience member, and being a consumer to these pieces of media. And then becoming a part of something like this, it was a journey for me. It was like stepping into these worlds that I had been playing around with in video games or watching on my couch. It’s a crazy experience. It’s really awesome.”
NEW TWD FAMILY
The cast knows each other so well, they can describe each other’s characters. Mansour says Iris is “good to a fault. She cares about others so much that she really forgets to put herself first. And she’s so smart. She’s so intelligent. Iris is Hope’s rock. And I think without Iris, Hope wouldn’t become the person that she does at all.” Royale says she would be the Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) of the group.
Royale describes Elton as “the genius. And he’s the youngest of the group. The things he goes through are just as powerful as what we go through. I think he’s one of the most important parts of our show.” Cantu compares his character to Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt), because they are both super geniuses.
Cantu says Silas is one of his favorite characters on the show. “He’s got some big secrets that you’re definitely going to want to watch the show to see what that’s about. He just wants to get away from this secure world, where he feels trapped in between the walls. Silas doesn’t feel himself, his real true self inside the community. Outside of the community, he gets to feel free and safe. You’re going to love his stunts. We got a crazy big wrench for killing empties. It’s so nuts. That’s Silas. That Hal’s character.” Cumpston says Silas is more like the little girl who gets lost at the start of the show. I’m pretty sure he’s talking about Sophia (Madison Linz).
When Cumpston describes Hope, it just comes down to this: “Hope is a badass. The rules are out the window, when Hope’s involved. She’s super intelligent, even though she probably doesn’t give herself the credit. Hope is actually very funny, she’s is a very cool character. There’s no way you’re not going to like her. She’s a badass.” Mansour says she’s definitely the Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) of the group.
RELATABLE TO YOUNG VIEWERS
It’s clear that throughout the series these characters are going to do a lot of growing up. Which is something that could bring in younger viewers. Mansour says: “I think all the younger fans are going to see a part of themselves in these characters. You know something, a struggle that they’re going through, they’re going to see something they can relate to.”
“It’s unlike the other shows in that the characters are already formed because they’re adults. They’re like anywhere from what, 25 to like 55. They already know their moral code and that type of thing,” Cumpston adds. “At least for the teenagers, it’s pretty easy to resonate with the characters because they don’t even know how they should be reacting to this situation or who they are.”
Cantu thinks young viewers will find someone to relate to. “For me, I definitely related to Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs), just because I was the same age as him. So the kids that didn’t really get into the first show, might be inspired by our characters or by just the story and the majesty of it all. I feel like that would be the best take-away.”
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
Royale says the show relates to youth and adults on different levels. “The World Beyond is an incredible example of … watching these young adults make hard decisions for themselves for the first time without needing an adult to tell them what to do.” She goes on to say there’s something for the adult audience as well. “These characters have a lot of trauma, a lot of secrets, there’s heartbreak, there’s confusion. And then there’s also family and love and togetherness. I think anybody of any age range is going to be able to relate to the World Beyond because of that.”
Cantu adds, “the story is familiar in the world of The Walking Dead. As a viewer of the show, you might understand the world better. But what’s cool about our show is that it’s a limited two season event. We have a complete story that wraps up quite nicely. We know where we’re going and it stands for itself.”
The Walking Dead: World Beyond airs Sunday nights on AMC.
This article was originally published on 10/19/20