While the cast and crew of AMC's The Walking Dead enjoy the response they've been getting for the tenth season, life in the franchise's universe has become a lot like the NFL: neither have off-seasons anymore. With a strong ensemble cast (and a "Big Bad" fronted by Samantha Morton in an award-earning turn as Whisperers leader Alpha) and richly layered writing, showrunner/executive producer Angela Kang did the near-impossible: made the show feel fresh and dangerous again.
While work continues on that side of the Walking Dead universe rambles on, production is also underway on the upcoming The Walking Dead spinoff The Walking Dead: World Beyond – with a new teaser released that clearly ties this series directly to the TWD, Fear the Walking Dead, and the upcoming Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) films – and introduces us to the great Julia Ormond's Elizabeth (more on all of that in a minute).
Now we know what day to mark down on our calendars for the series' premiere, with the walker drama set for Sunday, April 12 at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT. – immediately following the tenth season finale of The Walking Dead. Following its debut, The Walking Dead: World Beyond will air Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT starting April 19.
Walking Dead chief content officer Scott M. Gimple sat down recently with EW to offer some more insight into what viewers can expect – and here are some of those highlights:
● For those concerned about the timeline, TWD: WB will be a "little behind" TWD – but "not enough for people to notice".
● As for how this series will connect with CRM and the upcoming Rick Grimes films, Gimple went the Shakespearian route fo a comparison – one that still has us confused since it seems the films and the new series are pretty much hand-holding tight. Hmmm…
"We're going to be discovering this very big aspect to the world that we haven't yet seen. We've seen glimpses of it on the shows with the helicopters and with the soldier that we saw, Isabelle on Fear. The movie does obviously touch upon some of that mythology as well as Rick being in one of those helicopters. In some ways, World Beyond, it's a big story and yet it's sort of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to Rick's Hamlet, meaning the show and the movie touch upon some of the same things, but they're not really that deeply related.
We'll learn more though about that group, that civilization, the nature of some other civilizations of the world through World Beyond, and that will give some of the background for the world that Rick finds himself in. But the story of World Beyond doesn't really intersect with the movies other than they share knowledge and interaction with some of these bigger things going on in the world."
● While the CRM story will be a major storyline/mythology within the Walking Dead universe, Gimple wants it known that it won't be the main mythology – and that each series will be developing their own narrative lines as always:
"No, I'm actually loving it. I will say that though this mythology appeared on The Walking Dead and on Fear the Walking Dead, those two shows aren't going to be as involved with this. We don't want to change all of The Walking Dead to having to do with this. It'll wax and wane, it'll occasionally touch upon it, but really there's going to be brand new mythologies on each of these shows and even outside of these shows. This is not the new mythology for The Walking Dead. This is a new mythology for The Walking Dead universe. The new show is tied into it quite a bit, the movie is as well, but it isn't going to be a driving force throughout all the shows on the universe.
We really want to strike some differentiation, and even the movie and the new show are so vastly different and deal with some vast different aspects. They do kind of show these cool different aspects of this new mythology, but they aren't tied in it directly. The Walking Dead has such amazing stuff coming up, we don't want this to be the only story that all of these different shows and movies are telling."
● Fans shouldn't expect CRM to be the only element that crosses the series over with the rest of the Walking Dead universe – but think more "second season" for that:
"Yeah, absolutely. I mean, they do share a universe. Though it is really cool to see how this different corner of the universe operates and the lives that they have been living all this time, it will be these little places that cross. We've been talking about aspects of next season of World Beyond. There might even be a big aspect of crossover with one of the shows. That's the other part of it is we have these plans, but we've got to execute them. That's sort of next season. We're still finishing up this season.
They do share a universe, so where there are opportunities, we want to take them. Even with that album cover [with Ryan Hurst's Beta appearing on Fear the Walking Dead], it was so funny. I mean just by virtue of the fact that there was a scene with all these records in it, and we knew this shared aspect, we didn't even want to make that big a deal of it. We just wanted it to exist in there so that people might, deep cut-wise, we were hoping one or two people might notice into the future. We didn't want to make as big a deal about it. It's just nice, even unto ourselves, between the shows to feel that it's one world."
Gimple also discusses why Nebraska was chosen, what differentiates TWD: WB from the rest of the Walking Dead universe, and if there's such thing as too much Walking Dead during the rest of the interview – which you can find here:
Usually, the news breaking at this point has to do with what's happening in front of the camera, but at the end of October, it was the business side that grabbed our attention.
During the company's recent earnings call, AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan revealed that the company will not license out the domestic streaming/on-demand rights for "The Walking Dead 3" – with Amazon Prime handling international streaming only in areas where AMC Networks doesn't have a service presence.
The reason is pretty obvious – and speaks volumes about the importance of networks and studios keeping their IPs to themselves as the "streaming wars" grow: AMC Networks is using their "golden franchise" to boost its own streaming services – like we've seen happen with shows like Friends and others over the past several months.
"Today we are in a position to optimize our content by using it in different ways without a one-size-fits-all approach strategically windowing each series. The monetization plan for the new upcoming third series of the Walking Dead universe is this: we did a deal earlier this month with Amazon to distribute that series internationally outside of territories where our AMC global channels will air it. However, in the U.S., we are holding back rights that we have traditionally sold to third parties. So domestically we will not sell the SVOD rights to this third Walking Dead series, but rather the series will be used to fuel our own platforms, both streaming, as well as linear as we window it and take full advantage of the opportunities that it presents to us."
To that end, Sapan announced that Charter Communications will offer AMC Networks' suite of video-on-demand serves as well as premium ad-free AMC Premiere to its Spectrum customers.
The third series in a franchise that includes global hit series The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead 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 Walking Dead: World Beyond (co-created by TWD CCO Scott M. Gimple and showrunner Matt Negrete and set to be directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts) stars Alexa Mansour (Madame Secretary), Nicolas Cantu (The Good Place), Hal Cumpston (Bilched), Annet Mahendru (The Americans), Aliyah Royale (Major Crimes), Nico Tortorella (Younger), and Joe Holt (The Tick, Scandal). In this next chapter of the Walking Dead universe, which follows two female protagonists with a focus on the first generation to come-of-age in the zombie apocalypse.
Mansour's character is a good-natured rule breaker who lives for today. She is likable and funny on the outside but sad on the inside. Cantu's character is small for his age in addition to being friendly and an old soul. He also has a black belt in karate. Cumpston's character is big for his age. He is a shy loner that scares some kids, but he hates the fact that he scares people.
Mahendru has been cast in the role of Huck, while Royale will portray Iris – though not much else is known about their characters. Tortorella's Felix is an honorable man of his word who isn't afraid to fight for others' safety and acceptance. Holt's Leo Bennett is a solid family man and respected professor with a generous heart and unwavering optimism for the future. He'd risk his life to save the people he cares about.