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The Walking Dead: World Beyond Actress Teases Rick Grimes Easter Egg - Exclusive

During the much-hyped fifth episode of The Walking Dead's ninth season — entitled "What Comes Next," which was advertised as the supposed swan song of the series' leading man – Rick Grimes destroys a bridge to stop a horde of walkers. Following the massive explosion caused by the dynamite Rick ignited with gunfire, his body is nowhere to be found. Due to his close proximity to the blast, everyone believes Rick was blown to smithereens. Later, during the episode's final moments, the mysterious Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh) discovers Rick's body lying in a riverbank — he's battered, but alive. She uses a walkie-talkie and tells a nearby helicopter that she has a "B" and convinces them to medevac Rick. He's soon lifted off, and that's the last we of The Walking Dead's lead hero who'd been the face of the flagship series since it debuted in 2010.

But what the heck is a "B"? Where did those helicopters with the three-ringed logo come from, and what are their plans for Rick? What's Anne's connection to them? Those are just some of the unsolved mysteries left dangling in the brains of Walking Dead fans. AMC's new spin-off series The Walking Dead: World Beyond aims to answer a handful of those questions — and it's very likely it'll ask some new ones too.

World Beyond introduces us to a cast of all-new faces, and one of the lead protagonists is Iris, played by Aliyah Royale (The Red Line). Iris, too, is also wondering where those helicopters come from, and certain pivotal events that occur during the premiere episode lead her to embark on a treacherous journey from Nebraska to New York to rescue a loved one. 

In a recent exclusive interview with Royale, Looper couldn't resist asking the actress about how World Beyond connects to the flagship series as well as its other spin-off, Fear the Walking Dead.

Aliyah Royale thinks Iris and Rick would make an epic team

"We definitely have a bunch of Easter eggs," Royale teased. "I think that's what's incredible about World Beyond – being able to answer some of the questions that were presented in other series like The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead. That three-ring helicopter that took off with Rick, what are they about? What do they really want? We're all working towards a cure. The difference is, 'Who's working towards it for the good and to help?' versus, 'Who's working towards it to control?' And we find that out."

It turns out those helicopters belong to the Civil Republic Military, or CRM. They're the same group that abducted Rick and the same group that employs Isabelle (Sydney Lemmon), the helicopter pilot who had a fiery encounter with Althea (Maggie Grace) during Fear the Walking Dead's fifth season. All of the puzzle pieces are coming together, and it seems like World Beyond may reveal clues about Rick's whereabouts and explain why he's being held captive.

Is the CRM friend or foe? So far, all signs are leaning towards foe, and the CRM might not have the best intentions for our young lead heroes. World Beyond's head honcho villain is Elizabeth Kublek (Julia Ormond), a charismatic lieutenant colonel who drops a few breadcrumbs for Iris that ultimately spark her perilous journey. Her intentions remain unknown, but the chilling final moments of World Beyond's premiere episode reveal that she can be as cold and cruel as Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) or the Governor (David Morrissey) when needed. Is she a villain, or just a puppet? All will soon be revealed.

Iris discovers that her scientist father is being held at a CRM research facility somewhere in New York — could that also be where Rick is? Will Iris eventually cross paths with the great Rick Grimes? As to whether that meeting might be on the small screen or in the long-talked about Rick Grimes theatrical movie, Royale was coy and tight-lipped, but she did have one little thing to say. The actress said with a knowing laugh, "It would it be my greatest pleasure to share the screen with the Rick Grimes. I think it would be an incredible journey for everyone. And I think we'd make a badass team."

The Walking Dead: World Beyond will air its next episode, entitled "The Tyger and the Lamb," on Sunday, October 18, 2020 on AMC.