The Walking Dead Universe is only a few years from extinction according to brainy 15-year-old Elton (Nicolas Cantu), who warns of doomsday in The Walking Dead: World Beyond. In Sunday's "The Blaze of Gory," Elton posits that humankind is in its death throes before labeling his group of traveling companions — Hope (Alexa Mansour), Iris (Aliyah Royale), and Silas (Hal Cumpston) — as "the Endlings," borrowing a term from the individual last survivor of a species whose death signals the extinction of that species. Whichever one character is identified as the "endling" of the group would experience the end of humanity, coming 66 million years after the fifth extinction.
"'Wind always wins,'" Elton tells Hope, borrowing a phrase from his mother who died at the onset of the apocalypse ten years earlier. "Something my mom said about nature deciding who lives and who dies. Turns out she was right."
He explains humans are "at the conclusion of the Holocene extinction," the sixth extinction event on the planet following the Late Ordovician mass extinction, the Late Devonian extinction, the End-Permian extinction, the Triassic-Jurassic extinction event, and the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event.
"We were already killing ourselves directly and indirectly, but nature made a shortcut," Elton tells Hope. "It took the dinosaurs possibly 60,000 years to die after 240 million of living, so following that ratio, given the human race's 600,000 and factoring in other miscellaneous variables, I say we have about 15 years until we're gone."
Hope already confided in Huck (Annet Mahendru) about the second end of the world, telling her it's all going to be gone before she's able to experience the outside world as an adult. She tells Elton he doesn't strike her as the "doomsday type," but he sees it as a statistical probability.
"That's just how it is," he says, later admitting he's not bothered that humans — as Hope puts it — are going to "end up like the dinosaurs."
"There had to have been a last generation," Elton says. "I just wonder if they knew they were the end, and therefore special."
No such extinction event occurs in the Walking Dead comic book, where humanity continues to survive at least another 25 years post-outbreak. Franchise creator Robert Kirkman teased this post-time skip period playing out in future episodes of The Walking Dead, which will end with its eleventh season in late 2022.
Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD. New episodes of The Walking Dead: World Beyond premiere Sundays at 10/9c on AMC.