If you still need to catch up with The Walking Dead: World Beyond, some information gained from the 2021 San Diego Comic-Con panel with the cast and crew of the spinoff may be a good incentive. Now touted as a two-part limited series, whose second season/half will premiere on Oct. 3, stands alone as a YA adventure series set in the world of The Walking Dead, but will connect this growing connected universe in more definitive ways than ever.
Explanations are coming. Worlds will be joined. “It’s more discovery,” TWD chief content officer Scott Gimple said when asked to characterize World Beyond. “This season especially tells sort of these in-between stories to really big things happening in the universe.” Chris Hardwick, who moderated all TWD panels at SDCC, compared World Beyond to grout. You read that right. Grout. It’s not the most flattering metaphor, but Gimple agreed that it was apt. “It really does fill in some story gaps or story knowledge that the audience doesn’t have,” he said.
The first half, or first season, has already done this a bit. For those not in the know, the Civic Republic Military, which has appeared briefly on The Walking Dead and then a bit more on Fear The Walking Dead, is a major part of World Beyond. Any information we get about this mysterious group in World Beyond informs their involvement and their motives in the other shows, as well as the overall state of the zombie apocalypse and post-apocalyptic society in the universe. A key part of defogging that mystery is understanding the timeline, because the CRM’s objectives and leadership may have changed over time.
The Comic-Con panels also clarified where The Walking Dead and its spinoffs take place in relation to each other in time. Fear The Walking Dead is still, or once again, a prequel to the other series in the TWD extended universe. There may have been a period between time jumps where Fear was taking place at around the same time as The Walking Dead, but that is no longer the case.
Next in time is World Beyond, which takes place in the middle. (You know, like grout.) Gimple said that it takes place after the new season of Fear The Walking Dead, which is currently experiencing a nuclear holocaust on top of everything else, but before the current season of The Walking Dead. It may even take place before the CRM kidnapped Rick Grimes, but that’s still unclear. World Beyond could just as easily be happening in the six year gap that succeeded that tragic event. All we know is that The Walking Dead, which is entering into its eleventh and final season, takes place furthest in the future.
Speaking of the former fearless leader, one thing World Beyond will not feature or provide answers about is the current location of Rick Grimes, even though he was taken by the CRM. Maybe the timeline has something to do with that. But Gimple clearly stated those answers are not coming in this particular spinoff, and in a world where so many teases come in the form of cliches like “never say never” and “anything is possible” it’s refreshing to get a straight answer, even if its a negative one.