Scott M. Gimple also explains how the new show and TWD timelines won't exactly match up.

By Dalton Ross
January 07, 2020 at 11:00 AM EST
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The third scripted series in the Walking Dead franchise will be unleashed when The Walking Dead: World Beyond debuts in April on AMC. Trailers and teasers have already revealed a link to the other two TWD shows with footage of the three-ring helicopter group known as CRM, but could there be other crossovers in the works?

In part two of our sit-down with Walking Dead chief content officer Scott M. Gimple, we asked the co-creator (along with Matthew Negrete) of the new series if World Beyond’s timeline matches up with the mothership show, why it takes place in Nebraska, if each of the rings in the CRM will appear on each of the TWD shows, and what other crossovers may be in the works. (Also read part one of our chat about the upcoming Rick Grimes movie, and check back later this week for intel on TWD, Fear the Walking Dead and other new content in the works.)

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Now that we’ve talked about The Walking Dead movie, let’s move over to World Beyond. Does this show line up, time-wise, with where we are now on The Walking Dead?
SCOTT M. GIMPLE: Technically, it’s a little behind. But not much. Not enough for people to notice.

So it’s not completely simultaneous? It’s just a little bit back?
It’s very, very close to being simultaneous, but a little bit back, yes. Not in any way that anyone will possibly notice.

We saw the three ring CRM group that we’ve already encountered on TWD and Fear the Walking Dead very prominently in the last World Beyond teaser. What can you say about how this show relates to some of the things we’ve already seen and connecting some of these threads you all have laid out?
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.

We see the three rings, assuming three different communities. You now have three Walking Dead shows. Is there a world where we see each of these communities on one of these shows?
Oh, lordy.

I’m just doing math, Scott. I’m doing simple math.
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.

Zach Dilgard/AMC

Is there going to be any other crossover element to World Beyond other than the CRM?
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.

That said, unlike reality today, these worlds are so isolated from each other because of a lack of mass communications, mass transportation. In some ways, they are on little islands from each other, so when they can have those crosses, it’s kind of wonderful.

The new show takes place in Nebraska, is that right?
It does, though not exclusively there.

Why Nebraska?
That’s a great question. It was a different place that conceivably could have had their own things going on there. It wasn’t like West Virginia or Southern Georgia. We wanted to show a very different life. It’s not even like we’re honing up on aspects of Nebraskan life. It’s more just conceivably a different place where there would be no cross between them.

That leads in well to my next question. We’ve talked about the similarities between the shows and tie-ins and crossovers, but what makes this show different from the other two, besides just the location?
I mean there’s a lot of things that make it different. The first one is really the situation with which the characters have been living in, relatively, a first world situation. Relatively. Because it’s focusing on young people, even the “adults” in this are on the younger side, they’ve more or less grown up with this. There’s a certain everydayness of this to them, though they’ve been behind walls. It’s a very big deal for these characters to leave these walls. Even though they aren’t like, “Oh, what are these people?” They aren’t shocked upon seeing walkers, but it’s just they haven’t been interacting with them. They haven’t had to interact with them. It’s an incredible act of bravery for some of these people to potentially step out into the world.

You have three Walking Dead shows now, and the movies as well. How concerned are you in terms of saturating the market too much?
In my mind, it really was: There are always going to be zombie stories being told, so why don’t we tell them? If it’s not us, other people will. They always have. There is sort of a signature approach that we have that we do want to mix up as well. We want The Walking Dead to mean different things, and we’re going to continue to do that. I think we’ve reached a point where people enjoy a variety of different stories within the same universe. They understand that. As long as we make these stories different, stand out from one another, they can enjoy all those cool things about that universe, but just feature different characters, different journeys, different emotional pallets, different voices telling those stories.

My goal is to do more and to do more varied entertainment. Walkers versus people is just one aspect of the story, and there’s also a story of the apocalypse, and it’s a story of some people trying to put things back together, some people trying to pull them apart, and there’s just a universe of stories to be told in there. Our job is to make them as different from one another as possible so that that part of it doesn’t feel repetitious. Each show should scratch its own different itch.

For more Walking Dead intel, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

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The Walking Dead

AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.

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