The Walking Dead World Beyond kicked off their first season in October 2020. While the reception has been mixed so far, World Beyond will be a mainstay for the next year. At November 2019, I was invited to attend their set to meet the cast and to see what was being filmed. I will break down what my entire experience was like!
After the travel arrangements were made, I went to bed that Thursday night looking forward to the next day. On Friday morning while I was at the JFK Airport, I made a last minute order for a cab service to the hotel. The airplane was a little late to depart since the engine needed to be changed. But I got there at Virginia safe. After the plane landed, my cab service was there. It was surreal since the driver had my name on a paper on the window. Do not mind me, I never experienced that before.
I am then dropped off at the hotel. It was actually a great hotel and it was a studio suite. After I dropped off my things, I had to prepare for my interview with Josh McDermitt since that was scheduled before the tour. I then plugged in my Nintendo Switch on the television to play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for 20 minutes and placed my MacBook on the charger. After that, I went to the lobby to be picked up.
But I was not the only one there. There were five other reporters there. One of them I know is Kirsten Acuna of Insider. We all talked about what could happen on World Beyond at the time on our way to the set. I also have to note that at the time, World Beyond did not have a title yet. It was only known as “TWD3” and not even the cast or crew knew the name of the show yet.
We arrive on the set which was about 20 minutes away from the hotel. I remember the weather being very cold that day. The cold weather was so brutal, that the tents had heaters. We were all greeted by production assistants, publicists, and representives of AMC. The look of the set is massive. It really felt like it was a real apoclapse in that area. And for some reason, a tall rocket was there.
Next, we were all guided to the tents where the interviews took place. One by one during the afternoon, cast members arived in between breaks of when they filmed scenes. The interviews that took place at the time were with Nicolas Cantu, Nico Tortorella, Annet Mahendru, and Hal Cumpston. Nicolas’ mother and dog were also present during these interviews as well. It is here, that we learned more about the characters and plot of World Beyond. There were also questions to how this show will tie in to the status of Rick Grimes.
We did not know until we got there that Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead’s Abraham) directed the episode that we were there for the tour. I actually ran into him while I was getting hot chocolate for the second time and we both joked about the cold weather for a brief second. He was not available for interviews since he was busy with the directing. But later towards the night, we all sat on the directors chairs outside to look at a scene being filmed.
I thought it was interesting to see how one of those scenes were being filmed in different angles and shots. It also gave me insight on the directors point of view of what looks good, and what does not. After the scenes were shot, we all had dinner. I must say, that the food options and catering was really. I also seen the talent and crew all together during dinner and they all seemed happy and excited from what I seen. Let’s say that the family vibe with all of them together was on full display.
After dinner, the interviews with Aliyah Royale and Alexa Mansour took place. In fact, these interviews took place inside the set in different rooms instead of the tent.
After these interviews took place, we talked with the publicists and representives of AMC about World Beyond. They also talked about how they handle large crowds when it comes to the stars of the main show doing public appearences. It was really interesting to hear them talk about that since I can imagine how insane it is. The conversation then shifted to how great the set tour was. Even one reporter said that this was better than the IT: Chapter 2 set tour that he attened since he and four others were in one room the entire day.
The set tour concluded at around 10:00pm. We were escorted back to the hotel. It was a blast and we all talked about our experience during the ride and said our goodbyes to eachother. I had a great time. I will add this because it was strange. About 10 minutes after I got back into my room to start playing my Switch again, a fire alarm went off. This lasted for about 20 minutes as I thought that there was a fire. The fire department even showed up. But there was no fire.
That did not ruin my experience, But I was sure scared. The set tour was awesome and I will always thank AMC for allowing me to visit!
(Editor’s Note: The episode that I was there for the set tour was for 1.07 and the set is also re-used for 1.08)