- Warning: There are spoilers ahead for “TWD: World Beyond” season 2, episode two.
- Lyla tells Hope the CRM is working on a way to eradicate the zombies from the world.
- Showrunner Matt Negrete tells Insider after 10 years, it’s about time someone found a solution.
After more than a decade, “The Walking Dead” universe is finally trying to find a solution to get rid of the world’s zombie problem once and for all.
Sunday’s “TWD: World Beyond” finally revealed what the mysterious Civic Republic group is doing with all of those zombie test subjects. They’re not trying to find a cure for the zombie virus. Instead, they’re trying to make life a bit easier by eradicating the dead already walking the Earth.
“It’s conceivable if we can modify an existing fungus, then we can one day accelerate the dead’s rate of decay, virtually neutralizing them as an active, mobile threat,” Dr. Bennett said in a video watched by Hope on season two’s second episode.
“As a fan of the show, before I was writing on the show, it was always something I wondered about — What caused this?,” “TWDWB” showrunner Matt Negrete told Insider when asked how long they’ve been having conversations of what makes humans turn into lively corpses.
Negrete joined “TWD” back on season four before departing the show in its ninth season to lead the franchise’s “World Beyond” spinoff.
Why they’re finally getting around to solving the zombie problem: ‘It just makes sense’ at this point.
Though “TWD” comic creator Robert Kirkman has always said he never planned to reveal what caused the zombie outbreak because “it’s dumb,” Negrete told Insider, behind the scenes on the flagship series, they’ve discussed for years things like a cure and what caused the zombie outbreak on the show.
The cure became a topic of discussion again on “TWD” season five when Eugene (Josh McDermitt) joined the series claiming to be a doctor with the cure who needed transport to Washington, D.C.
“When we brought in Eugene and Abraham and Rosita, Eugene’s like, ‘I have the cure. I know how to get to the cure,'” Negrete said. “That kind of brought it up again and obviously we found out he was lying.”
Negrete said this far into the zombie apocalypse — “World Beyond” is 10 years in — it would just be logical for someone to question how they got into this mess.
“As time goes on in the apocalypse… Once you have the scientific minds, but also the equipment, once you start building that stuff up again [and] start doing more research, it just makes sense that part of bringing the world back is trying to figure out what got us to this point,” Negrete said.
Finding a cure or the origin of the walker apocalypse is one of the obvious things that has been ignored in “TWD” universe for years as the show focused on groups of people trying to survive and thrive on their own.
They just didn’t have a bunch of scientists around in “TWD” universe to get the ball rolling.
“Once we know that, we can figure out how to reverse it, maybe, and bring the world back that way. It just made sense from a timeline standpoint, and an evolution standpoint, to really explore it on this show,” Negrete said, adding that even if you found a cure for what happened to make the world this way, it doesn’t solve another massive problem.
Any potential cure wouldn’t destroy and rid of the many dead that are still walking the Earth.
“It needs to be this two-pronged thing,” Negrete said of possibly finding a cure, but then also having a solution for the current walker population.
“From a global standpoint, it does make more sense to kill an empty if you can,” Negrete said (empties are a common name for the undead on “TWDWB”). “For us, it was in the writer’s room and talking with [‘TWD’ universe chief] Scott [Gimple about] what’s the thing that makes sense for the CRM? They would want to get rid of the empties roaming the world. How would you do that on a mass scale?”
Negrete said that’s the thought process that led them to come up with the outpost where Silas winds up where the dead are wrangled up to be killed and destroyed to help clear large swaths of land of the dead.
We will likely never learn what started the zombie apocalypse in ‘TWD’ universe. Sorry.
On the first season of “TWDWB,” a marine joked that he knew the origin of the zombie outbreak in “TWD” universe.
“I heard it came back in a rocket that it started in space,” Owens said. “Somebody breathed it in, it turned their stomachs and then they got on a plane.”
In November 2020, “TWD” universe chief content officer Scott M. Gimple told Insider the space spore is “not canon,” adding it “wasn’t a reveal as much as of a reference.”
“It really was just a nod to the comics,” Negrete told Insider last November. “We actually wrote that before Robert ever tweeted that, even though that was always kind of a joke from the comic early on. It was just one of those funny things that all kind of happened to tie in together.”
In “TWD” comics, Kirkman famously added a special ending to issue No. 75 in which a non-canon ending showed aliens were responsible for the zombie apocalypse. (That storyline is now playing out in a Skybound story called “Rick Grimes 2000” where the character has a lightsaber and the Governor is alive.)
At the time, Gimple added there were no immediate plans to reveal how the zombie apocalypse began (though “World Beyond” has really made it seem like a widespread virus is to blame).
While we may never learn what caused the zombie outbreak by the end of “World Beyond,” it seems like there’s a very real possibility that we could start to see the beginning of the end of the zombie apocalypse.