The end of The Walking Dead: World Beyond is the beginning of a new story in The Walking Dead Universe. A five-minute post-credits scene ending the series finale of World Beyond, "The Last Light," connects to the first season finale of The Walking Dead, "TS-19," when a French doctor (Carey Van Driest) downloads decade-old "Wildfire" transmissions from CDC virologist Dr. Edwin Jenner (Noah Emmerich). Inside a dusty French biomedicine lab tagged with graffiti — Les morts sont nes icl, "The dead are born here" — a man (Oryan Landa) hunting down doctors from the Primrose Team and the Violet Team shoots the woman in the back.
"End this? You started this. All the teams. Then you made it worse," he says in French, suggesting the zombie virus origins: a man-made disease born in a French lab. As Jenner's archived video from 2010 plays, he's concerned by what the woman referred to as "variant cohorts" — a type of walker not yet seen in post-outbreak America.
Slumped over her laptop containing top-secret files, the dead doctor reanimates in less than one minute — and lurches back to "life" as a walker faster and stronger than any seen before on The Walking Dead.
"The coda after World Beyond had everything to do with the past and future of The Walking Dead Universe. There is another big story that will be told relating to that scene, and we can't wait to start showing it to the world," Scott Gimple, TWD Universe chief content officer and co-creator of World Beyond, said in a statement aired on Talking Dead. "The universe is unfolding, and to that end, hopefully, this is not the last we've seen of the characters from World Beyond or of Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh). This is a big story, and in some ways, it's hopefully just starting."
Gimple teased the journey is "going to go some places — and with some people — you'd never expect."
Among the files on the Violet doctor's laptop is one relating to the research of biologist Dr. Ellis (Allan Edwards), the director of the Human Genome Project. Eugene (Josh McDermitt) mentioned Ellis years ago on The Walking Dead before he appeared in the flesh on Season 2 of World Beyond, working with geneticist Dr. Leo Bennett (Joe Holt) and other scientists to develop a potential cure to the zombie virus.
Other visible files include "La modélisation" and "Singerland."
"I'll say that there's a lot packed into those last five minutes. There's a lot of clues in there," said World Beyond co-creator and showrunner Matt Negrete. "So if you've just seen that coda once, you probably haven't gotten the whole thing from it. So I would suggest watching it a few times, turn on your closed captioning, turn on your Google translator, and see what you learn. There's a lot packed in there."
The scene comes after the final season of the Walking Dead spinoff revealed Project Votus: the study of live test subjects through death to further research on reanimation. Conducted by Dr. Lyla Belshaw (Natalie Gold) for the mysterious Civic Republic Military, Project Votus was founded by Major General Beale and Lt. Col. Elizabeth Kublek (Julia Ormond) two years post-apocalypse.
The program is first mentioned, but never named, on past seasons of The Walking Dead when Jadis trades people — including the still-missing Heath (Corey Hawkins) and Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) — to the CRM under the binary code of "A" and "B." It was at a Civic Republic Research Facility in Ithaca, New York, where the CRM was conducting research to potentially slow or entirely eliminate the dead's rate of reanimation and eradicate the walker threat for good.
Jenner's return, made possible by new footage filmed by Emmerich, connects the coda to the first season of The Walking Dead.
Rick leads his group of survivors to the CDC in Atlanta, where Jenner reveals the French held out the longest as their scientists "thought they were close to a solution." A cure would never come for Jenner or his genius wife, Dr. Candace Jenner, the "Test Subject 19" used to further the CDC's reanimation research in Season 1 episodes "Wildfire" and "TS-19."
This "big story" about a new walker variant is potentially tied to Jadis and Rick's return in The Walking Dead Movie now in development from Gimple and franchise creator Robert Kirkman. World Beyond's series finale confirmed the film will take place at the Civic Republic in Philadelphia, what the CRM calls "the last light of the world" and the last hope for humanity's survival.