Walkers. Lurkers. Biters. The Walking Dead has had several pet names for zombies in the decade (and change) that the franchise has existed across comics and television. Now, we can add one more to that: The Walking Dead spin-off The World Beyond will introduce another fitting nickname for the undead: Empties.
Speaking during The World Beyond’s Comic-Con 2020 (opens in new tab) panel, in which the new trailer debuted (opens in new tab), showrunner Matt Negrete explained the change and how it arose from a simple question in the show’s formative planning stages.
“When Scott [Gimple] and I were working on the pilot and talking about the show in general, it’s always that question of ‘What do they call walkers in this corner of the universe?’ I started thinking about something Robert Kirkman put in one of the comics. There was a character who also used this phrase… I just loved the term, it was ‘Empties’. Basically straight up cribbing Robert Kirkman is the short answer to that!,” Negrete said of the moniker, which Jesus coined in the comics.
It’s not just a cool-sounding name for the shambling undead, however. It all ties together with The World Beyond’s more despairing outlook, especially whenit comes to one of its characters, Iris.
“The thing I really loved about it too is thematically it felt relevant to the show because Iris in the pilot is dreaming that she’s dead because she essentially feels empty inside. It feels like there’s a sort of cool parallel to that,” Negrete explained.
The Walking Dead has gone supernova at this year’s SDCC, not only announcing a Fear The Walking Dead season 6 release date (opens in new tab), but also The Walking Dead season 10 finale release date (opens in new tab) and an extended tenth season in early 2021. That’s on top of World Beyond also airing on October 4. That sounds far from empty.