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Monday, June 14, 2021

Teenage Wasteland: “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” and Growing Up Post-Apocalypse

The transition from childhood into adulthood is rife with hormone-induced turmoil, angst, and growing pains. Like many things in life, puberty lends well to horror. Coming of age horror can convey the experience like no other. The teen experience gets heightened within the genre space, compounding the woes of adolescence with the supernatural or fantastical. But what would it be like for a young adult to mature in a place far removed from normality? Where the world as we know it is long gone, removing all semblances of safety?

Limited spinoff series The Walking Dead: World Beyond takes place ten years after the initial zombie apocalypse and tells of the first generation to come of age post-apocalypse. Sisters Hope (Alexa Mansour) and Iris Bennett (Aliyah Royale) have grown up within the secure walls of settlement Campus Colony, one of three remaining hubs of society. When they receive a concerning message from their father, the sisters leave the safety of their world and venture out into the zombie-infested wild on a quest to find him. Accompanied by Elton (Nicolas Cantu) and Silas (Hal Cumpston), the group encounters dangers both living and dead on their transformative journey.

The Walking Dead: World Beyond also stars Julia OrmondNico Tortorella, and Annet Mahendru. Ahead of season one’s Blu-ray and DVD release on June 15, 2021, we look back at post-apocalyptic horror for the core themes of surviving and growing up in teenage wastelands.

Family First

No one can survive alone, apocalypse or not. In a world where mortal peril lurks at every turn, the family offers the most stable source of comfort and protection. Sometimes, it’s worth risking everything for the sake of a family unit.

A Quiet Place

Family is all that teen Regan (Millicent Simmonds) has in a world ravaged by monsters that hunt based on sound. Regan carries tremendous guilt, though, stemming from her younger brother’s death and her father’s unwavering search to improve her hearing. The conflict that breeds permeates throughout, but it’s those family bonds and sacrifices that ultimately empower her- giving her the strength to find her inner strength that carries into the sequel. Regan’s hero’s journey only builds in A Quiet Place Part II, defined by her family.


Sometimes family has nothing to do with blood relations. A shy college student setting out on a trip to reunite with his family amidst a zombie apocalypse instead forges a new one with the friends he makes along the way. The foursome at the center of this zombie comedy butt heads and struggle with trust issues while dodging the undead, but they realize they prefer sticking together by the end.

Lean on Friends When Necessary

Forging new friendships bring new life experiences, a rite of passage of childhood and adolescence. It’s often friends that give new perspectives or encourage exploring new terrain. In an apocalypse, that can be vital.

Turbo Kid

In an alternate 1997 where the world is a dusty wasteland largely devoid of water, The Kid (Munro Chambers) prefers his life of solitude in his bunker with his comics. That is until he crosses paths with Apple (Laurence Leboeuf). Apple instantly attached to the Kid, refusing anything less than best friend status. Ultimately, it draws the Kid out from his bubble, sparking a quest for growth and saving the world.

Warm Bodies

Zombie R (Nicholas Hoult) lives a peaceful, undead life at the airport. Everything changes when he saves human Julie (Teresa Palmer) from an attack. They strike up a tentative friendship, bridging the two worlds in irrevocable ways. It’s a sweet zombie comedy, as their friendship-turned-romance reignites R’s dormant humanity. It radiates through R’s friends.

Humans Pose the Biggest Threat

Humans are incredibly social creatures that rely on communication and cooperation to survive. In a world inundated by terrors, it seems like a safe bet that humanity would band together in opposition of the threat. That’s not always the case, and it can make for a harsh life lesson.

Night of the Comet

Sisters Reggie (Catherine Mary Stewart) and Sam (Kelli Maroney) survived the odds against a comet that caused most of the population to dissipate into dust. The partially affected weren’t as lucky; they transformed into the walking dead. While they encounter various friends and foes along the way, it’s the very scientists that dangle hope that prove to be the most dangerous to their survival.

Stake Land

A vampire pandemic swept the world, leaving only pockets of survivors scattered throughout. Luckily, Martin (Connor Paolo) has Mister (Nick Damici), a vampire hunter that took Martin under his wing after his family’s slaughter. Their voyage to a promised land features no shortage of dangerous encounters from feral vamps and connecting with fellow travelers. The most significant thorn in the pair’s side comes from an evangelical Brotherhood, whose allegiance to the vamps will cause destruction and devastation.

Self-Discovery is a Journey

Finding one’s identity, especially amidst the onset of puberty and hormonal changes, is a tumultuous process for any adolescent. Throw in the looming risk of death, and the path to finding oneself becomes extra daunting. It’s a journey.

The Girl with All the Gifts

The Girl With All the Gifts

Melanie (Sennia Nanua) is extraordinary. Her intelligence, especially compared to her schoolmates, is uncanny. Melanie happens to be part of a new generation of Hungries, or zombies created by a fungal parasite that ravaged the world, turning most into rabid flesh eaters. Like her classmates, Melanie hungers for flesh but retains cognizant ability. When the base where she lives falls, Melanie learns more about who she is and how she fits into this world. She changes it in the process.

Love and Monsters

Joel clings to his past years after a monster apocalypse decimated everything. He lives in a bunker as the community cook, too scared to defend against the monstrous bugs that roam the Earth. He holds onto memories of his high school sweetheart, often chatting over the radio. Finally, Joel decides to leave his bunker to reunite with his love. He finds new friends and a slew of dangerous enemies, both human and inhuman. Mostly, he finds himself as he finally embraces this new world.

The Walking Dead: World Beyond releases on Blu-ray and DVD on June 15, 2021.


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