Fans of The Walking Dead will immediately recognize the three-ringed logoed helicopter that whisked away our favorite leader, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), to who knows where. The helicopter returns in the premiere episode of the franchise’s third series, The Walking Dead: World Beyond, this time transporting a representative from the mysterious Civic Republic (Julia Ormond) who has an arranged meeting with a civilized colony in Omaha.
The colony in Omaha is home to the first generation of children who were raised in this postapocalyptic world. These children were schooled with some normalcy and were sheltered from the horrors occurring outside of their guarded walls. The series introduces us to two sisters, Hope (a rule-breaking free spirit) and Iris (the brains and colony’s student leader), played by Alexa Mansour and Aliyah Royale. When a message upends the sisters’ worldview, they leave the comforts of their colony in search of the truth.
Here the sisters give us some insights on what we can expect with The Walking Dead: World Beyond (Sundays on AMC).
Can you share a bit on Iris’ journey and her backstory?
Aliyah Royale: Iris grew up with the apocalypse as her actual reality. It wasn’t; she didn’t have a life before the apocalypse. We’ve grown up with these creatures. So, the night the sky fell — that’s what we call it — Iris, she was young, she was a kid, and because of fear and confusion, some really terrible things happened, and she lost people really close to her. And she decided from a very young age that ever since that night, the way that she was just going to grow up was to just take charge of everything. She wasn’t going to be afraid anymore. She was going to do anything that anyone needed her to do, because she felt like she didn’t do enough that night to help the people she cared about. … Everybody on the show has a story related to that night. There are definitely some secrets, and on the journey as we grow in our identities, some secrets come out. [Leaving us to decide] who are we going to be, knowing all of this information about each other now?
Tell us about this place where you’ve been living.
Alexa Mansour: Inside the walls we have food, we have water, we have dorms, school, education, jobs. It’s this little world that we’ve created inside the world — a shelter from everything. … There’s also training inside this community — they train you for the outside world even though they never plan on taking you out. … It’s trying to make life as normal as possible for those who are in there. So those are considered the lucky ones.
So walkers are being called empties; are they moving faster now?
Royale: I think they are just a little bit more evolved, we’ll say that. They definitely are more on a mission. We know a lot of things about the walkers from the previous shows, but in World Beyond, we definitely learn more about what attracts them, where they’ve come from, how they migrate. The specifics of it get really cool and interesting.
As you’ve been exploring and making your journey, have you run into Rick at all?
Royale: Good old Rick. Have we? Have we not? I don’t recall. World Beyond is definitely its own new adventure. We’ve got some really cool, new, exciting characters with their own little secrets. It’s going to be really cool for everyone to see that.
How would you describe Julia Ormond’s character, Elizabeth, one of the leaders of the Civic Republic? And how is she your leader?
Mansour: At first I thought she was the evil villain. The more that I got to know her, I realized maybe she is fighting for a good cause. There’s a lot of different layers to her.
How do you think you’d survive living in a world like this?
Royale: I think I’d be just fine. It’s weird. After doing that for six months and being on set and learning combat training and weapon training and this and that, I feel like I would definitely survive longer than most people. I beat the curve, I swear. The biggest thing is for me, I’d need a damn good weapon, and I would be OK. I would definitely be cool. I was talking with my friends about just an apocalyptic world, and the biggest question was, “Do you have a family? Do you start a family, knowing what’s out there?” And it was funny, watching my friends go, “Would you have a kid? Would you not have a kid? Do you get married? What’s the personal aspect of it?” The survival, once you had that down, it’s, “OK, who am I now in the apocalypse?”
The Walking Dead: World Beyond airs on AMC Sundays beginning Oct. 4 at 10:05pm