The Walking Dead: World Beyond showrunner on new mystery stranger
Warning: This article contains spoilers about Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead: World Beyond titled “Madman Across the Water”
There was a lot to unpack on Sunday’s latest installment of The Walking Dead: World Beyond. We got a big Elton backstory that showed what happened to him the night the sky fell. And Hope learned that the pregnant woman she killed was Elton’s mother, and that Elton’s mother had killed her own mom. We also got some more hints as to what happened to Huck before she ended up at the campus colony.
But all of that may be overshadowed by a mystery stranger that walked into camp in the very last moments of the episode — an episode titled “Madman Across the Water.” Seeing as how the group just spent the installment crossing the Mississippi and did not appear to meet anyone else, is this the “madman” in question?
We spoke to World Beyond showrunner Matt Negrete about everything that went down, including this new stick-wielding individual, who Negrete reveals “is really going to change the trajectory of these next five episodes in a way that I think is going to be irrevocable.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Two big things happen here right at the end of the episode. Let’s start with big thing number 1: Hope realizes that the pregnant woman she shot and killed is Elton’s mother. She just let go of this big secret by telling her sister about what really happened that night, so naturally that begs the question: Will she tell Elton?
MATT NEGRETE: There's obviously going to be a lot weighing on Hope just coming off of the end of episode 105. She has grown so much closer to Elton out of everyone in the group. She has this connection with Elton, they both see the world the same way. They both think that humanity doesn't have much of an opportunity to survive past the next decade or two. And they're odd kind of soulmates in a way. And it's just, of course, as the nature of things go — the closer you get to someone, it's always that's when the wrench is thrown into the works. And that's what happens here with Hope. So, she's going to have a lot to kind of process and deal with.
And I think that she knows if she were to come clean to Elton, that would change their relationship. Because if you think about really what happened that night, it's really not just that she killed Elton's mother, but it's that this woman that Elton idolizes killed her mother. So there's a lot at play here. It's not just about her relationship with Elton. It's about the whole reason that Elton was out here on this journey being about his mother, and him holding her up, and wanting to finish this book that she wrote. And everything that informs the way he sees the world is from his parents. And to find out that his mother is not who he thought she was, it's going to be a huge thing for him. So, I think that's everything. Those are the things that she's weighing at the end of the episode.
So as she's weighing these things, whether she's going to tell him or not, how in the short term is that going to impact that relationship?
Hope is someone who reacts in a way that's kind of different than a lot of people. She doesn't really necessarily have a high view of her own self in a lot of ways. And so I think for her coming off of this revelation, she's obviously going to have a lot of guilt, but this will impact their relationship in that she's going to make some decisions that actually might make herself feel even worse in a way. And that that's born out of the guilt she feels. And so what we'll see coming up in episode 6 and perhaps beyond that is her sort of using this information to kind of torture herself in a way. And it's because that's what she thinks she deserves, but she also thinks that she owes Elton quite a bit. So she's going to follow a course that kind of accomplishes both of these things.
Let's get to that other big thing at the end of the episode. The group hears this noise in the woods, assumes it's an empty, but it's actually someone else with a stick, possibly a weapon of some sort. What can you tell us at this point about this mystery person?
This is a mystery person that will potentially be around for longer than an episode. And we're at the halfway point of season 1 and the presence of this character coming in is really going to change the trajectory of these next five episodes in a way that I think is going to be irrevocable. Things are going to happen in a way that are ignited by the presence of this character. And there's not going to be any going back. There really are a lot of dominoes that we've been setting up this season, and I will say the presence of this character is going to send that first domino falling. And I'm excited for people to see where it all goes.
Okay, this could be absolutely nothing, but why have Hope cut her hand putting together this boat? Because things like that don’t usually happen for no reason. Is that something that is going to play out in the future in some way. or was it just to show them having trouble assembling this contraption?
It really was showing sort of the difficulty that they were having. And it was also, as we were in production, in my mind, Elton is the smallest person of the group. And in actuality, Alexa is tiny herself and Nicolas was also growing exponentially throughout the season and between episodes. And so by this point we realized on the day that he's actually taller and a lot larger than Alexa was. So we didn't want the audience to beg the question of, "Why doesn't she go under and do it?" And it had to be one person, it had been kind of the smallest person in the group, other than the person who just injured her hand. So that was a real reason behind that.
So, you're doing this pattern on the show where you're dispensing a lot of backstories through flashbacks on one character while you're dropping hints and teases about another character without the flashbacks yet. So we get the Elton deeper dive this episode, but we also learned that Huck was found floating down river, the arm's broken, she's all screwed up. I assume we're going to get some flashbacks at some point to see how she ended up in that state, right?
The story that we're going to be telling for her is more of an emotional story that can kind of fill in some of the pieces. It's not going to fill up all the pieces, but with a lot of these flashbacks, it's not necessarily a linear story that tells the whole story. So, I think for Huck, it's actually going to be a surprising flashback that's coming up that I think people are going to think is super cool. And we're going to see a different part of her own version of the night the sky fell, but it's not necessarily even that. It's just a glimpse at the beginning of things going wrong in the apocalypse. So, her flashback will predate the rest, but we're going to be setting some interesting things up for her that will help sort of tell the story of how she might've ended up there.
What's her real name, Matt?
I will tell you that we'll learn her name in the next few episodes. Yeah. It's funny. Annet, when we were shooting the pilot, kept asking me that. "What is her real name?" And we both wanted a name that might sound a little like, "Oh, okay." But I don't know. We didn't want something that was super expected, but something that just kind of made sense. And yeah, I'll leave it at that, but I'll definitely say that we'll be learning her name before too long.
So as we finish the episode, I guess the big question is, is everybody, including Felix, now on board for this journey?
I would say out of everyone, Felix is still probably the most reluctant. But I think he kind of went through a little bit of a change this episode, in which the last best avenue to really turn them around was the Mississippi. And with that gone, and with him realizing that these girls are on this mission, that's essentially born out of love for their father and their worry for him. And the fact that like we learned a little bit more about Felix in terms of him trying to convince himself, "It's okay to turn them around," because he needs to believe that Leo, the girl's father, and Will, his boyfriend, are okay. And we realized that he's actually very worried about them, too. So that's also feeding into part of the reason why he's still kind of reluctantly going across the country with the kids but he realizes, "You know what? I do worry about what may have happened to their father and his boyfriend."
But also he's starting to see these characters grow as well. And I think there is a part of him that agrees with Huck that this journey, although it's dangerous, it's like they're growing up in a way that I think kids in the apocalypse need to grow up. And in that respect, he's starting to acknowledge that this trip is valuable for them in that way as well.
What can you tell me about what's coming up next week?
Our group is going to be dealing with the arrival of this mysterious stranger that showed up at the end. And as I said before, he's really going to introduce something new, I will say, to the proceedings. And there will be an element of danger that comes along with the arrival of this character.
I will also say that what happens in the next episode is really going to set the course for the rest of the season. In a way that things might get a little darker than they have been in the first half. And really, the danger so far has been them not knowing how to deal with the world, but now they're getting a better sense of things. And we're starting to see them actually kill walkers now. There's going to be an added threat. That could be a human element that they're going to have to deal with soon. And that's going to add a new sort of dangerous layer to things.