The third Walking Dead series could have a connection to a Season 2 episode of The Walking Dead from 2012.
When the still-untitled spinoff revealed its first full trailer at New York Comic Con, it was learned TWD3 is set in Nebraska. Series co-creator Scott Gimple later revealed this series' community, home to nearly 10,000 survivors, is one of three civilizations in TWD Universe represented in the three-circle symbol belonging to CRM — the organization responsible for the disappearance of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) six years before present action on TWD Season 10 and TWD3, both set nearly a decade after the zombie outbreak.
Gimple, who is also chief content officer for the brand, told Deadline the blossoming TWD Universe is less focused on crossovers between the three shows. Instead, "The things that we've implied [about the wider universe] have always been things we wanted to follow and tell more of."
He then appeared to hint TWD3 was inspired by the sophomore season of the mothership series:
"The things that we've implied come in like rumors, little things that characters say about the outside world," Gimple said. "There were things, for instance, that characters said in Season 2 of The Walking Dead that ignited my own imagination and some of those things are coming to fruition now seven years later in some of the things that we're doing. It's one of the pleasurable things about a shared-universe approach. It's satisfying to look at different things from different angles and play them with different voices."
Longtime viewers will remember Season 2 episode "Nebraska," where Rick, Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Hershel (Scott Wilson) encountered a pair of stragglers, Dave (Michael Raymond James) and Tony (Aaron Munoz).
As Dave told it, "Every group we came across had a new rumor about a way out of this thing." Added Tony, "One guy told us there was the coast guard sitting in the gulf, sending ferries to the islands."
"The latest was a rail yard in Montgomery running trains to the middle of the country," Dave said. "Kansas. Nebraska."
When Glenn asked about the Cornhusker State being a holdout, Tony told him, "Low population, lots of guns."
Interestingly, Dave and Tony claimed to come from Philly. The first teaser for the Walking Dead movie appeared to hint Rick was taken to Philadelphia, possibly the site of one of the three civilizations comprising CRM.
As TWD Universe grows across new miniseries, specials and other shorter length series exploring never-before-seen corners of the world, audiences will learn more behind the lore connecting TWD, Fear and TWD3 — even if those connections aren't apparent to their respective characters.
"There's going to be deep, historical mythologies going on — things that have been going on for years and years and years that have all sorts of aspects to it and yet nobody on the other two shows really knows much about it," Gimple told Deadline.
"There's an aspect of the new show, for instance, that is this epic, intense, huge thing going on — and it's been going on for years — but due to the nature of the apocalypse, the communications, and the landscape, the people on the other shows are unaware of it. Or they may be aware of one little aspect of it — they may have one little peek into it — but it does't really effect their lives or their view of the world," he continued. "And if that's the case, what other big situations are going on in the world? [The basis of those] situations could be about specific populations or environments, they could be international, they could be a function of how advanced people are or how impoverished they might be or how isolated."