- “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” premieres on AMC October 4, 2020 at 10 p.m.
- Insider spoke with six cast members of the third spinoff from the set of the show in November 2019.
- They shared how they were cast on the show and what you should know about their characters.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
“The Walking Dead: World Beyond” takes place a decade into the zombie apocalypse.
The limited two-season series follows a new community, the Campus Colony, in Omaha Nebraska. Unlike the previous two shows, “World Beyond” follows four teens â€” Hope, Iris, Elton, and Silas â€” who have largely grown up knowing little outside of the apocalypse.
They refer to the dead as empties and have more or less carried on with regular life (or as normal a life as one can have during the apocalypse). The series follows them as they break away from life inside the walls for the first time on a mission to find Iris and Hope’s scientist father who is working with the mysterious Civic Republic Militia who we saw take Rick Grimes on “TWD.”
While on the set of the third “TWD” spinoff last November, Insider spoke with six of the lead actors on the show to learn what to expect from the third series. Before its premiere on October 4, here’s what they told us about their auditions, landing a role on the show, and what you need to know about their characters.
Iris (Ailyah Royale) is the loyal friend you want to have around who will have your back.
Aliyah Royale learned she was cast on her way to see “Stuber” with her mum.
“We’re in the parking lot about to get out and go into the movie and I get the call from my agent while we’re still in the car,” Royale said.
Though excited, they decided to still go into the theatre. They only made it through the opening sequence.
“We were like, we’re still going to go to this movie and just sit there and be calm,” Royale said. “We were in the movie theatre jittering. We couldn’t stop moving. So we were like, we got to leave. We got to go to like Cheesecake Factory and talk about this.”
What you need to know about Iris:
Iris is the daughter of scientist Leo Bennett, who is on some secret mission for the CRM in an undisclosed location. When she learns her father may be in danger, Iris, someone who’s usually on her best behaviour, rallies together a small group to go in search of him.
“I like to describe her as a really good friend. She’s very sweet, very loyal, [and is] ready to do anything for anyone at any time. She doesn’t need to know you,” Royale said.
“She’s always ready to give people the benefit of the doubt,” Royale added.
That eagerness to trust others may get the group in trouble. Royale said we’ll see Iris cross a line several times which potentially puts people in danger.
Hope (Alexa Mansour) is Iris’ mischievous sister who doesn’t like to play by the rules.
Alexa Mansour was ready to throw in the towel with acting before “TWDWB.”
“I was ready to quit,” Mansour said, aware it sounded like a bit of a cliché. “I was going on three auditions a day for months. So when you keep hearing, ‘She’s great, but she’s not right for the role,’ you’re kind of like, all right, I need to do something else.”
When the “TWDWB” audition came up last April, she grabbed one of her sister’s T-shirts without looking. When she noticed a penis on the band shirt, she turned it inside out and carried on.
“It’s probably something I should not have worn to an audition,” Mansour said, mortified. “I was like, there’s no way they’re calling me back.”
Two months later, Mansour received a call for a meeting with the chief content officer of “TWD” universe Scott Gimple and showrunner Matt Negrete. She didn’t believe it. After a few more callbacks and testing with Royale, Mansour learned she was cast on July 3.
“The first thing I said was, yay, I can fix my windshield,” Mansour said.
What you need to know about Hope:
Unknowingly, Mansour’s audition shirt fit her character perfectly.
“Hope is such an angsty teen who just does not give a s— about anything or anyone,” Mansour said of how different Hope is from her idyllic sister, Iris.
“Hope doesn’t think that she’s going to live very long with the way things are going in the world,” Mansour said, adding that her character’s personality doesn’t match her name. “She doesn’t have much hope so she just wants to have fun and do whatever she wants.”
Heading off into the real world forces her to get her act together.
Elton (Nicolas Cantu) is a very analytical 14-year-old who likes sneaking out of the community to see what’s beyond the gated community.
Nicolas Cantu didn’t know anything about the story when he auditioned.
When Cantu learned he was auditioning for the third “Walking Dead” show, he was really excited. Then he saw the material.
“When I saw the audition and it said ‘TWD 3’ my mind flipped out. But then, once I got the sides, it had nothing to do with the legit show,” said Cantu of the material he received to audition. “I had to play this character and then they couldn’t spoil any of the story elements. It was a very weird audition.”
After about a month of callback auditions, he finally received a call. Cantu said he was so ecstatic he jumped off his couch.
What you need to know about Elton:
Elton reminds us a bit of Eugene from “TWD,” just a little less quirky and awkward. He’s an orphan who hasn’t had a family in a long time. Despite his loss, Cantu describes Elton as an old soul who is well-read and prepared for dire situations.
“He grew up in this fortified community and he’s kind of done all the studying he can do inside those walls,” said Cantu of Elton. “His quest is kind of going out into the world and seeing how nature and these empties have affected the way people live life outside of the walls.”
Cantu also said Elton knows karate. We’re not sure if that’s a great defence against the dead, but maybe it will come in handy against any unsavoury characters they meet on the road.
Silas (Hal Cumpston) is new to the Omaha community and is a bit of an outsider.
Hal Cumpston was working on his own movie when he got a call to audition.
Cumpston received a call to audition for the series as he was working on a personal project he wrote and worked on with his father, “Bilched.” After a Skype audition that cut in and out, he sent in a tape and played the waiting game.
When he woke up one morning to a bunch of missed calls, he opted to shower before responding right away.
“I was like, I’m going to go have a cold shower just so I can be awake for whatever this news is,” Cumpston said.
After he received the good news, he was finally able to tell people about it three weeks later.
“Thankfully, an article came out so I could tell everyone because I was just telling my friends I’m going to LA and I’m going to give it a try,” said Cumpston, whose pals were originally a bit sceptical before they knew he landed the role. “They’re like, with what money dude? I just bought your lunch for you.”
What you need to know about Silas:
“Silas is probably a bit different [from] the characters of ‘The Walking Dead,” Cumpston said. “He’s had an exceptionally rough start to life. We see him as this shy loner within the community.”
Cumpston described him as a soft-spoken, gentle giant who works as a janitor in the community. In the first two episodes we previewed, we meet him as someone who doesn’t appear to have many friends. He arrived at the Campus Colony about a year ago after moving there from another city.
Felix (Nico Tortorella) is the head of security detail in the Omaha community.
How Tortorella was cast on the show:
Tortorella – who uses they/them pronouns – was on “TWD” family’s radar after previously auditioning for a lead role on the universe’s other spinoff “Fear TWD.”
They didn’t audition for “TWDWB.” Instead, they joined the show following a two-hour phone conversation with Negrete and Gimple. They told Tortorella the goal of the two-season limited series and was in. (Tortorella teased the series will lead us toward those long-awaited Rick Grimes movies.)
What you need to know about Felix:
“He is from the Omaha area,” said Tortorella. “Grew up in a pretty religious household. Came out to his parents… or his parents figured out what was going on.”
Felix was kicked out of his home about five years before the apocalypse and was living on his own. Hope and Iris’ father became a mentor to him after taking him in. Felix thinks of him as a stepdad and of the girls as his chosen family. So when the girls disappear, you can bet he’s going to be a bit anxious.
“I’m a protector, quite militant,” said Tortorella. “[Felix] loves the people that are closest to him and does whatever it takes to make sure that they are safe.”
Huck (Annet Mahendru) is a security guard at the Campus Colony’s university and one of Felix’s close friends.
Mahendru was in Russia when she learned she was cast.
“I was in Russia. I was getting on one of those tours as you go through the canals,” Mahendru said. “It was sundown. It was a really magical moment. I was getting a phone call and I looked at my husband and I was like, either way, I’m going to jump off this boat.”
“It’s that moment where your life changes in a really exciting way,” Mahendru said of learning she was cast. “And then we jumped off the boat.”
Mahendru wasn’t that familiar with “TWD” universe beforehand though she’s seen a few episodes. She said she’s usually that person who closes her eyes watching scarier movies, so it’s kept her on her toes while working on the spinoff.
“The walkers are so real, and, on this show, they’re even more intense,” Mahendru said. “So it’s just been petrifying. I’m constantly screaming and ruining shots.”
What you need to know about Huck:
Mahendru said Huck is the exact opposite of her. Huck is a former Marine and isn’t scared of anything. She rocks a pretty gnarly scar on her face.
“Her whole backstory before that is a little complicated and will be explained because she’ll come in with this [points to the scar],” Mahendru said.
“She’s on a mission to repair the world and get it back to where it was,” Mahendru added. “She needs some people on board for that.”
Elizabeth (Julia Ormond) is a leader in the mysterious CRM group.
Elizabeth is another central character to the series. We can’t say too much about her, her intentions, or her connection and loyalties to the CRM yet.
We expect that she’ll help unravel some of the big questions we have about the mystery group who took Rick Grimes.
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