Until recently, The Walking Dead he seemed to have reached the end of his publishing life, ready to embark on the path of a real creative “apocalypse”. On the other hand, the management of the latest narrative arcs has repeatedly touched the disaster, averted only by the charisma of some protagonists (but also for some unforgettable villain of The Walking Dead) and by a rather fond fandom, albeit largely tired of a narrative repetition too stale and ineffective.
Then, something changed. The increasingly low ratings of the main series, at the same time as the spin-off Fear The Walking Dead (also full of ups and downs) forced the creative table of the top management of AMC to find a keystone that would positively upset the fate of the franchise. The exit of Rick Grimes, in season 9, then began a second youth for the most famous zombie series ever.
To the mother series, which is also about to conclude, and to the aforementioned spin-off, other projects will soon be added to forcefully expand the universe created by Kirkman among the pages of his comics. And while we await more information on the show focused on Daryl and Carol, as well as on the anthology series Tales of The Walking Dead, on Prime Video is preparing to land The Walking Dead: World Beyond, a story that will tell us a near future populated by a generation born and raised in the apocalypse. Thanks to AMC and Prime Video we were able to preview the first two episodes, and here we are with our usual first impressions of the highly anticipated second TWD spin-off.
A new world …
The most interesting element of World Beyond is its temporal location. The tale takes place about a decade after the outbreak and development of the epidemic, and follows the story of a group of teenagers who have never really known “the old world”. Nonetheless, at the heart of this story are new communities in an area of the United States far from the borders of Atlanta and Alexandria, and which somehow seem to be connected to a group that The Walking Dead fans know well.
The Civil Republic is a new world order, whose symbol (three circles intertwined with each other) cannot fail to remind someone of a certain helicopter already appeared in the main series of the franchise. In short, The Walking Dead: World Beyond will make us discover something more about the military organization that took the dying body of Rick Grimes along with Jadis, and that somehow marked the future of the beloved sheriff, all well before that the feature films starring Andrew Lincoln reveal the fate of the former leader of Alexandria.
There will be a way, we hope, to learn some more details about the fate of the protagonist of the franchise, but in the meantime World Beyond takes its own time and catapulted us into a completely new story, as well as very different from what we were used to until now. in terms of tones and atmospheres.
First of all it is worth knowing that World Beyond immerses us in a world that, for better or for worse, has learned to live with the undead.
Or, at least, the communities under the protection of the Civil Republic have done so, a military body that seems to have the ultimate purpose of maintaining order and peace between the settlements, but at the same time governing with shady behavior and preventing the outposts from any type of contact or communication with the outside of the walls. And it is precisely on the day of the commemoration of a disaster that, perhaps, triggered the worldbuilding that we have just known that the story of two sisters takes shape, Iris e Hope, motherless and with a father far from them precisely because – apparently – committed to the Republic.
… with new heroes
The fundamental difference between World Beyond and the other products of the The Walking Dead franchise are above all the tones of the story. The protagonists of this spin-off are all teenagers, and the adult world seems apparently far from the focus of the narrative. Iris (Aliyah Roale) e Hope (Alexa Mansour) decide to embark on a suicide mission: to track down their father who has been missing for more than a year, whom they believe is in danger despite working for the Civil Republic.
But they will have to cross a boundless and wild territory, in which despite the absence of human marauders (the military elite seems to rule with an iron fist, preventing raids and looting) the danger of wanderers remains a concrete threat, especially for those who like them do not has ever known the pitfalls of an apocalyptic and merciless outside world.
The two girls are not alone: they are accompanied by Elton (Nicolas cantu) and Silas (Cumpston thing), but the quartet is not in the least prepared for the dangers that await them. The first two episodes of The Walking Dead: World Beyond, in short, set us a fairly varied cast, but in our opinion not entirely focused and not always convincing. The idea of focusing on very young protagonists, tormented by dramas and fears very different from the surviving pugnacious ones of the two previous series, is interesting on paper and opens to quite new scenarios for the brand, as well as to a certainly different audience. The problem is that, in our opinion, not all the protagonists are written worthily and the feeling is that it will take time to really empathize with each of them.
Furthermore, these first two episodes showed some rhythm problems: an interesting driver, capable of triggering promising narrative dynamics and intriguing relationships, is contrasted by a second slower episode, excessively wordy and with some too much relaxation. What it promises to be a travel story, but also a training story, it has excellent potential, which if exploited properly could compose a narrative fabric that is certainly appreciable. At the same time, however, we hope that the pace of the events and the characterization of the protagonists go beyond what we have been shown.
Obviously, not everything is to be thrown away, on the contrary: the cast has all the credentials to bring a breath of fresh air to the AMC franchise, as well as visually iconic characters. Furthermore, some aspects of this new imagery – a world in which the epidemic has been widespread for years – intrigues us a lot, since the production has been able to experiment much more from a visual point of view.
The photograph of the first two episodes, after having “pampered” us within the walls of Portland, throws us into the outside world, a territory in which desolation has thrived, giving birth to some new specimen of the undead. Among wanderers gangrenous in the vegetation, or contaminated by insect nests, the feeling is that the staff of World Beyond can surprise us with a new, captivating and unprecedented aesthetic, perhaps showing us some kind of evolution of the virus that has decimated humanity.