The Walking Dead Universe Adds a Leading LGBTQ+ Character With Nico Tortorella's Felix

The Walking Dead: World Beyond star Nico Tortorella, who plays Felix in the new series from TWD Universe, confirms their character is gay when comparing the apocalypse survivor to Season 1 Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) from The Walking Dead. Described as the smart and loyal protector of a young group of inexperienced survivors — siblings Hope (Alexa Mansour) and Iris (Aliyah Royale), who are like sisters to Felix, and their friends Silas (Hal Cumpston) and Elton (Nicolas Cantu) — Felix found a surrogate parent in the girls' father, Nebraska State University head Raymond Campbell (Joe Holt), who became a father figure when Felix was disowned by his birth family for being gay.

"Felix is a great dude," Tortorella, who identifies as non-binary and prefers they/them pronouns, said with a laugh on Talking Dead. "No, Felix is smart, Felix is the most loyal. Felix is the protector of this crew."

As one of the heads of security for this campus-based community the World Beyond survivors have called home for the past ten years of the apocalypse, Felix is the protector type alongside counterpart Huck (Annet Mahendru), another campus security guard who served in the Marines at the time of the initial outbreak.

"In so many ways the girls — Iris and Hope — are like sisters to Felix. They really are the only family he has at this point," Tortorella said. "And the girls' father basically adopted Felix a long time ago because Felix was kicked out of his house for being gay. That was the first thing I knew about Felix when I heard about this project."

Felix is the latest gay main character to appear in TWD Universe, joining such characters as The Walking Dead's Tara (Alanna Masterson), Aaron (Ross Marquand), Jesus (Tom Payne), and Fear the Walking Dead's Althea (Maggie Grace).

Tortorella describes their character as a "fighter" who "holds these people, this chosen family, the closest to his heart — sometimes to a fault." Like Rick, Felix would do anything for those closest to him.

"Felix reminds me so much of Season 1 Rick in the best ways," Tortorella said. "And I feel like Rick now, wherever he is, would recognize that in Felix."

It was CRM, behind Felix's community, who abducted Rick from Virginia some six years earlier in the timeline. A teaser for the upcoming Walking Dead feature film hinted Rick was flown by helicopter to Philadelphia, which just might be one of the three major civilizations bound by CRM's three-circle symbol.

When Hope, Iris, Silas, and Elton embark on an a risky mission to locate the girls' CRM-employed father, taking them out into a world overrun by "empties," a.k.a. the flesh-eating undead, they do so without the zombie-slaying experience of Felix and Huck.

Mahendru previously described the younger-focused World Beyond as something like "seeing and experiencing something for the first time."

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"Like your first love, your first heartbreak... so everything is basically shot from that lens. Also the first time you have an encounter with an empty, what is that like?" Mahendru said. "Their first big fight is a huge deal. We get to a center called the blaze of glory and everything is on fire and it draws all the empties, it’s like World War III, so that was very exciting to shoot and something the fans have never seen before."

The Walking Dead: World Beyond premieres on AMC Sunday, April 12, following the Season 10 finale of The Walking Dead. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.