The Walking Dead Universe's New Character Could Cure the Zombie Plague

The mysterious zombie virus that has plagued the Walking Dead Universe for a decade could be cured by a key character appearing in limited event series The Walking Dead: World Beyond. The spinoff taking place ten years post-outbreak introduces Dr. Leo Bennett (Joe Holt), described as a renowned biochemist and geneticist working with the Civic Republic Military, or CRM, to develop a potential counter to the widespread pathogen that causes the freshly dead to reanimate as flesh-hungry "empties." Bennett's research inspires the survivors in his home community, including daughters Iris (Aliyah Royale) and Hope (Alexa Mansour), who say their father is "away doing important work that will one day benefit us all."

"He's brilliant, which is why I was cast, I'm assuming," Holt said with a laugh when describing his character during the World Beyond virtual Comic-Con panel. "He ostensibly goes off to try and teach the wisdom that he is gaining about what he's discovered in terms of trying to cure this plague, this epidemic, and so he goes off to another community to try to impart his wisdom and help them along."

Bennett's work puts him under the thumb of pragmatic CRM leader Elizabeth Kublek (Julia Ormond), an authority figure whose clandestine behavior puts her at odds with the rebellious Hope.

"She is basically a high-up figure in a soon-to-be-discovered new community, a quite authoritarian community," Ormond said of Elizabeth. "More kind of along the lines of the pragmatist character which, I think in terms of Walking Dead, often skews to maybe the sociopathic people."

These two characters now join a small group of characters investigating a potential cure. In the first season finale of The Walking Dead, CDC scientist Dr. Edwin Jenner (Noah Emmerich) speculated the virus origin could be "microbial, viral, parasitic, fungal" — or even the wrath of God. (Franchise creator Robert Kirkman ended his comic book after 193 issues without revealing the origins of the zombie apocalypse.)

The Walking Dead World Beyond Dr Leo Bennett
(Dr. Bennett and Hope. Photo: AMC)

World Beyond co-creator Scott Gimple teased the two-season limited series will pull back the curtain on the "incredibly secretive" CRM, who we know are behind Rick Grimes' (Andrew Lincoln) disappearance from The Walking Dead. The organization will then play a role in the Walking Dead feature films revealing what happened to Rick after he vanished aboard a CRM helicopter.

CRM was hinted to be working towards a cure in Fear the Walking Dead, where Althea (Maggie Grace) learned the organization's black-clad soldiers will eliminate their own people in the name of "operational security."

Describing CRM as "the future," soldier Isabelle (Sydney Lemmon) warned Althea to be fearful of anyone wearing the group's uniform black jackets, telling her, "We are a force who are not living for ourselves or for now." According to Isabelle, CRM's cryptic mission is "about the future and rebuilding what we all once had."

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When Iris and Hope confirm suspicions their father is in danger, the girls leave the safety of home — the Campus Colony in Omaha, Nebraska — and journey into the world beyond on a cross-country rescue mission with friends Elton (Nicolas Cantu) and Silas (Hal Cumpston).

The Walking Dead: World Beyond airs its series premiere Sunday, October 4, following The Walking Dead's Season 10 finale. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.