The latest episode of Walking Dead: World Beyond includes a post-credits sequence hinting that the Civic Republic have a zombie vaccine.
The Walking Dead: World Beyond is inching closer to introducing a vaccine for the zombie virus. In Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, the outbreak itself remains a mystery from start to finish, and even when the story ends in (relatively) happy fashion, the undead problem has yet to be solved. AMC’s ever-expanding The Walking Dead franchise is taking a different path with the introduction of the Civic Republic. Appearing in Walking Dead: World Beyond‘s series premiere, the Civic Republic is evidently keen on studying the virus, even poaching the Campus Colony’s Dr. Bennett, a renowned immunologist from before the outbreak. It’s no surprise that an organization as large as the Civic Republic would be researching a zombie vaccine, but Walking Dead: World Beyond has, until now, offered no hints as to how much progress they’ve made.
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Suspicions were aroused when the CRM slaughtered the entire Campus Colony – but only after allowing a select group of youngsters to escape. Viewers wondered why, if the Civic Republic needed these kids, they didn’t simply invite them back to their HQ, or kidnap them by force. Why make these teens trek through the post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland? A common theory suggested that one (or all) of the youths had secretly been given an experimental vaccine, and their journey to New York was some kind of trial run away from the laboratory environment.
The post-credits sequence in “Shadow Puppets” puts some extra weight behind that theory. Following the post-credits scene from 2 weeks ago (which continued The Walking Dead‘s ongoing “A or B” mystery), this sequence takes place in the same Civic Republic lab, as Dr. Belshaw takes a thesis written by Bennett with the title “Advanced Immunology: What To Know in the Age of the Unknown.” Crucially, the “age of the unknown” tagline suggests this to be research conducted post-outbreak. Taking a phone call from Elizabeth, Belshaw confirms she is expecting the arrival of Iris’ group from Campus Colony, and the necessary preparations have been made, while assuring her boss that the girls’ father won’t be a problem.
The existence of this document, coupled with the fact that Dr. Bennett is apparently being held against his will, suggests that the Civic Republic has made far more progress in their hunt for a vaccine than first thought. If Bennett was the Republic’s only hope, they’d surely be keeping him as sweet as possible while the scientist worked his magic. Instead, the CRM appears to be picking off its brightest scientists (the previous post-credits sequence showed a zombified member of Bennett’s team).
Moreover, the scene confirms suspicions that Elizabeth wanted Iris and her group to reach the Civic Republic’s New York facility. Unless the CRM have stationed snipers on each and every step of their journey, how could Elizabeth possibly be sure that the girls would make it to New York alive unless they’d been vaccinated before leaving? Viewers also have to question why Elizabeth would want Iris and Hope to find one of her top-secret zombie research facilities. The Civic Republic probably aren’t planning on giving Dr. Bennett’s daughters a guided tour or stealing Hope’s champagne recipe – something about these girls makes them special test subjects.
During the “Shadow Puppets” post-credits scene, Dr. Belshaw finds a hand-drawn portrait of Iris and Hope, and softly smiles while looking at their sketched faces. Considering Belshaw has no emotional connection to either girl, it’s strange for her to be so invested in her colleague’s daughters. Perhaps Dr. Bennett spoke of the children with such enthusiasm, his love spread through the entire lab. More likely, Iris and Hope are of scientific value to Belshaw – holding the future hope of humanity within their teenage veins. Whatever The Walking Dead: World Beyond reveals the truth to be, the Civic Republic certainly appears closer to a zombie vaccine than previously believed.
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