The Walking Dead: World Beyond star defends spin-off over differences with flagship series

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The world of The Walking Dead continues with a brand new spin-off for 2020, World Beyond. A fresh new cast will come of age in the later years of AMC’s zombie apocalypse, but the series has received some criticism for its limited undead action. Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Aliyah Royale has come to the show’s defence.

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The Walking Dead: World Beyond will air its final two episodes later this week, but the series has attracted substantial controversy since its premiere.

Set ten years after the outbreak of the zombie apocalypse, TWD’s second spin-off follows a crop of young newcomers against the franchise’s familiar desolate backdrop.

Aliyah Royale leads the series as Iris Bennett, an orphaned high school student who grew up with her adopted sister, Hope (Alexa Mansour).

Compared to the original mainline series, World Beyond has been light on zombie action so far.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Aliyah Royale commented on the apocalyptic series’ unconventional approach, and touched on the experiences of bringing her character Iris to life.

She summarised the series: “We’re definitely getting the Walking Dead universe from a younger perspective. It’s fascinating because we grew up with this idea of the apocalypse.

“It’s not this big, bad wolf. It’s just a reality. It’s an everyday normal mentality for us.

“That there’s this undead world, this thing that promises this thing that we will turn into. But the way we handle it is by just not living in fear, even if we are afraid.”

Viewers didn’t know quite what to expect from the new TWD offshoot, as World Beyond’s unchartered territory doesn’t draw from Robert Kirkman’s original comic book source material.

Although the season premiere started off with a strong viewership, the show’s popularity has seen a considerable decline over the weeks.

Still, fans still continue to tune in as the ensemble cast are fleshed out, while some are still holding out hope for more hints to the whereabouts of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln).

Some new details about the current state of the world have been revealed in dribs and drabs, and AMC’s assurance that the series won’t continue past season two have convinced fans there could be a massive reveal in the upcoming finale.

Still, with more spin-offs on the way, it’s looking more likely The Walking Dead will stay on screens for another decade.

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Following a crushing coronavirus delay and announcements of a slate of impending follow-ups, World Beyond’s gentle pace felt like a slow crawl to the finish line compared to the flagship series’ recent episodes.

Defending the series format, Royale said: “I think it’s a really hard concept to come across in The Walking Dead universe because of how action packed it is.

“The walkers and the empties, they’re extremely important to the story. They’re the villain of it all, I guess.”

“But it’s really centered more about the characters and the storyline, where they’re going, why they’re going there.”

Royale perfectly captured the sentiment of earlier instalments of The Walking Dead, which posited that human corruption and darkness were greater threats than the undead.

Recurring villains such as the Governor (David Morrissey), Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and even Rick himself perfectly embodied these themes, and Royale hopes the spin-off series returns to those roots.

She added: “You stay [with the series] because you realize that the most scary thing in the apocalypse is not the undead.”

“It’s actually the people who are very alive. When you realize that it changes things.”

World Beyond could have a lot to learn from reactions to the first season, so hopefully when it returns for a second instalment the spin-off can help get the TWD franchise back on track.

The Walking Dead: World Beyond season 1 concludes Sunday, November 29 on AMC.

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