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World Beyond's Place In The Walking Dead Mythology Explained

2020 has been a bittersweet year for the many devoted fans of AMC's The Walking Dead. While we learned the landmark program that started it all will finally wrap up with its eleventh season in 2021, there's still plenty of other television material for viewers to look forward to. Ahead of Fear the Walking Dead's buzz-worthy sixth season and the arrival of the Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride) spinoff series is a brand new, teen-centric installment in the franchise entitled The Walking Dead: World Beyond. With the first episode already released, it's clear that this show is blazing a trail away from its predecessors, and exploring new corners of the franchise's growing mythology. From the first few episodes, it's already apparent that World Beyond will provide an important piece of connective tissue between the franchise's various iterations.

Boasting an all-new cast, aside from one of Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) Saviors, played by Zach Ball, and an entirely original storyline, World Beyond is a breath of fresh air for the decade-old canon. Even still, it's important to remember that this offshoot doesn't exist in a vacuum and that it does, in fact, occupy space in the Walking Dead chronology. So far, it's shaping up to be quite an ambitious project that offers a brand new perspective on important aspects of The Walking Dead mythology — most importantly: the CRM.

World Beyond holds the key to understanding the CRM

The Walking Dead's rich fictional world has grown into something more than just a story of apocalyptic survival, as evidenced by some of the lesser-known background elements of the show. The Civil Republic Military, or CRM for short, is a mysterious paramilitary force working for the equally enigmatic Alliance of the Three — a coalition of three heavily fortified, yet highly authoritarian city-states in the post-apocalyptic world. Despite making their presence felt first in season 8 of the flagship series, their motives and origins remain largely unknown to viewers, who have only snippets of information to work from. 

This is where The Walking Dead: World Beyond comes into play, shedding some much-needed light on this very important organization and adding context to a future Walking Dead-based project. They were responsible for Rick Grimes' (Andrew Lincoln) rescue in the season 9 episode "What Comes After," and since the character is getting his own big-screen adventure, it seems likely that the CRM will have a major part to play going forward. As showrunner Scott Gimple told Decider, World Beyond will flesh out the CRM, and indirectly make sense of Rick's next adventures.

"Well, as it relates to that mythology that I was developing — in many ways, around the Rick Grimes story — it's a very big mythology," Gimple said. "I knew there were corners of it that I wanted to explore that I think audiences would want to explore. It's one of many new mythologies we have planned in this world." At the same time, he did make sure to mention that every Walking Dead installment doesn't have to stem from the same narrative angle.

World Beyond takes on the apocalypse from a new point of view

The Walking Dead: World Beyond may exist in the same universe as the previous Walking Dead series, but those behind it all don't just plan on replicating the status quo. In the same Decider interview, Gimple noted that World Beyond is much different tonally than previous TWD stories. "It's people who grew up in a place of safety. They went through a lot of trauma getting to that place of safety, but they are in a place of safety. That leads to an interesting dynamic." 

World Beyond's story centers on the difficulties of growing up in an era of immense danger, as opposed to adjusting to those threats as an adult. The original show touches on this concept through characters like Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Judith (Cailey Fleming), who are children when the apocalypse is in full swing. To conclude his statement, Gimple mentions that, "Everybody's going to have to face the dangerous world on their own. They make the choice to, rather than have it hoisted upon them. And that's heroic."

It will be interesting how World Beyond handles these characters taking their first steps into a larger, more deadly world as the series goes on. If nothing else, this departure from the previous storytelling mechanics of The Walking Dead will be one of the most unique additions to its canon in some time.