‘The Walking Dead: World Beyond’ Boss Talks Iris and Hope’s Divergent Paths

The Walking Dead: World Beyond is finally back for its second (and final) season, and with that premiere — titled “Konsekans” — we’ve already seen some massive status quo changes for all the main characters. The biggest ones, though? Hope (Alexa Mansour) and Iris (Aliyah Royale), who essentially have switched places since Season 1.

Spoilers past this point, but by episode’s end the usually impulsive Hope is calculatedly joining up with the Civic Republic Military (CRM) to work in their science enclave with her father. Meanwhile, Iris has straight up murdered a member of the CRM with her bare hands — or at least a very sharp weapon. That’s a far cry from how they were presented in the series premiere, as the heart and the head, respectively. Now Hope is all brains, and Iris is on her way to becoming all brawn.

“All the shows in The Walking Dead universe are really about growth and change and how the world changes you,” showrunner Matt Negrete told Decider. “And specifically for this show, it is about growing up. So much of growing up is about how you grow up together, but also how sometimes you grow up once you’re separate from your friends. Everyone has this experience, where you’re best friends, you have this core group of friends, and then you go away for the summer. And then when you come back at the fall, when you go back to school, everything feels different. And that specialness feels gone, and you realized you’ve all changed. A lot of growing up is growing apart in a lot of ways.”

Naturally that’s more pronounced in the world of Walking Dead, where the threat of death by zombies (on World Beyond they’re called “empties”) lurks around every corner. But there’s also the threat of CRM, an organization that is revealed to have wiped out two whole centers of humanity merely in order to push Hope on her way. That’s a big deal, and something that only puts the weight of the world on her shoulders; but also she is ostensibly presented with the choice to join up with them, or wander the outside world alone, ultimately choosing to go with CRM.

For Iris, on the other hand, she needs to train up to a level where she’s ready for whatever will happen next; mainly because Hope made a promise to her at the end of Season 1 that she would bring CRM down from the inside. So this episode, and that killing at the end, is partially like Iris getting an early start

“Now that she’s separate from Hope, she is exposed to a different set of facts,” Negrete continued. “Iris is becoming even more and more suspicious of the CRM in terms of what they’re capable of, what they may have done to her home. And we see where it’s led her at the end of Episode 1. While she’s fighting and killing a member of the CRM, on the other side of the spectrum, we have Hope, who is in this position of actually voluntarily rejoining with them, to go back to where hopefully her father is. They seem like very divergent paths. And to be able to explore that and see where that goes was really enticing.”

The promise Iris and Hope made to each other does seem to be the bond holding them together… But the promise Negrete made early in the going with the show is that some of the characters will become heroes, and some become villains. Which of those promises ends up being stronger, we’ll know when World Beyond ends in a few short months.

The Walking Dead: World Beyond airs Sundays at 10/9c on AMC and streams a week early on AMC+.

Where to watch The Walking Dead: World Beyond

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