The Walking Dead: World Beyond‘s season 1 came to a close Sunday night with two back-to-back episodes. The second spin-off series to spawn from AMC’s The Walking Dead, World Beyond centers around a group of teenagers who have grown up in the apocalypse. Adopted sisters, Iris (Aliyah Royale) and Hope (Alexa Mansour) left their guarded community earlier in the season to venture out into the dangerous world on a mission to save their scientist father with only a coded map and a few friends to help.
Many secrets were revealed in the penultimate and finale episodes. Hope and Iris’ father did not send out the message about being in danger and Hope finds out what the mysterious Civic Republic Military, or CRM, wants with someone like her. With one season down, and only one more season to go, the series still has many questions to answer and many characters to reunite.
Royale and Mansour spoke to Screen Rant about season 1, episode 9 “The Deepest Cut” and episode 10 “In This Life,” discussing Hope’s reaction to Huck’s true identity as a spy for the CRM, how their characters have grown over the last ten episodes, what the ending could mean for season 2 and much more.
Aliyah, when we saw Iris in the beginning of the season, she was a people pleaser, doing everything for everybody else. How do you think she has changed since the first episode to how we’re seeing her by the end of the season?
Aliyah Royale:I think Iris has lost a lot this season. She lost her therapist, she thinks she’s lost her father, and probably the most important relationship to her, her relationship with her sister, that was especially rocky ever since Hope told Iris about what really happened to her mother. I think she’s grieved a lot this season, and she’s also grown in a way where she really has nothing left to lose at this point.
I think it started out really scary, you know, going on this journey, bringing her sister along. And trying to get her sister to agree to this very, you know, deadly plan of traveling across the country to see their father. And I think she’s at a point where she does not want to be afraid anymore. And it’s easier for her to just make decisions. It’s easier for her to get things done, you know, get back to business. And especially at the end of the season we see her smiling, and Felix is like, “Why are you happy? Everything is not okay,” and she’s like, “No, no, no, the time for worry and fear and treading lightly is over. I’m about my business now,” And I love that. She’s always been about her business, but instead of in like a political way or a people pleaser way this is about her just doing her in the apocalypse. And I appreciate that.
While Iris has always wanted to see the best in people, Hope has always maybe been more able to see through people. That interestingly kind of switched when it came to Huck in 109. Alexa, can you talk about Hope’s relationship with Huck and how she felt when the truth about Huck came to light?
Alexa Mansour: I think Hope looks at Huck like the cool older sister and she admired her a lot, but she wanted to know more about her. Even in the beginning when she’s asking Huck about her past and how she’s been to the city, like she really admires her. And she believes that Huck is a good person and she trusts her. She tells her everything and then she finds out that Huck is part of this group of people that she really doesn’t like, and you know the people that took her father. So I think when Huck betrays her, that right there is the ultimate betrayal. I don’t think anyone else in the group could have done that to Hope and Hope would have been this angry. I mean, Hope pulls a gun on Huck, I don’t think she would have done that with anyone else. Even when she finds out that Elton is trying to turn back, the worst thing that she does is she yells at him. But when she realizes that someone that she really thought was there for her and understood her and didn’t judge her was probably just saying all these things and “listening” to her to get Hope on Huck’s side, she feels really used and taken advantage of. So I think that a little bit of trust that Hope had left inside of her is definitely gone.
We really learned from these last two episodes just how tight this bond is between the sisters, literally since they were babies. Aliyah, what was that moment like in 109 for Iris when Hope tells her “Maybe you just don’t know me as well as you think you do”?
Aliyah Royale: Oh, that was awful. I knew that was coming as the actor and I felt awful shooting that scene. And of course as the actor I was just trying to trying to play this game, and save face and make things look a certain way that they actually aren’t. But in that moment, when you’re in character, it just breaks your heart. And Iris had no idea what was going on. But she’s grown up with her sister long enough to know when something’s off.
So even if she doesn’t know why Hope is saying the things that she’s saying she knows that something isn’t right. And she’s not just gonna brush it off. And she’s not gonna just leave it at that, “I’m just be mad at her for saying something stupid,” like, no, she’s gonna find her and get to the bottom of everything there. No matter what conflict arises between the sisters, even if it takes everything in them to push aside the things that they’ve said to each other that could be hurtful, they’re gonna do whatever they need to do to get back to each other. And that’s just the end game.
Alexa, at the beginning of the season, Hope didn’t maybe feel a ton of self-worth. How did that change for her when Huck told her she had a gift and that people like her are needed?
Alexa Mansour: I don’t think she really believed it. I think that she’s so used to kind of being the… what’s the word? I used to use this word when I would stay out really late. Not a delinquent, but she just kind of feels useless and she feels like Iris is the smart one and the one that’s supposed to do good.
I think Hope thinks that it’s in her blood to do bad things and to let people down. So when she finds this out, I don’t really think that she believes it or understands the capacity to which Huck is talking about. So, I think there’s a lot of denial inside of Hope and she tries to believe it. And then at the end of the season, I think she’s acting like she does believe it just to kind of get Huck off everyone else’s back. So she feels like a little bit of leverage over Huck when she finds this out. But she doesn’t use it until the end when she’s trying to protect Felix and Iris.
In the finale, we really see how powerful these sisters are together. As Hope says, they’re both the asset, and they’ll both save the world from the CRM. Can you both talk a bit about what that means going forward for these two now that they’re going to be separated?
Aliyah Royale:I don’t think they’ll be separated for too long. Hope obviously has business that she needs to take care of from inside of the Civic Republic headquarters. But Iris is going to do everything under the sun to get back to her, get their father back and destroy everything she can in regards to the Civic Republic in the meantime. Evident at the end of season one, she’s got some good help, we’ve got these special tree people (laughs). And we’ve got Will now. I think we’ve got a good team to get Operation Hope on track… Operation Save Hope.
Alexa Mansour: I think separate or together they’re a force to be reckoned with. They may not be blood sisters per se, but I feel like they kind of know what what the other one is thinking. And I don’t think that they have to be in the same room necessarily to make a plan together. I think they know each other well enough to the point that they could get like, “Okay, what would Hope do? What would Iris do?” And then go from there. So I’m actually not worried at all about whatever happens in season two with them being separated because I have 100% confidence that they’re going to get through it and be able to do it.
Aliyah, I was going to ask about that ending with Will and what those new people mean, but I liked your description of the “tree people.”
Aliyah Royale:Yeah, you know, the tree people. That’s what we were calling them because we have no idea what they are (laughs). I’m assuming that they’re people who survived… actually, maybe not. That might not make sense. I don’t know who they are. I was wondering if they’re people who maybe took cover from Elizabeth’s time destroying the campus colony, if they maybe got out in time. I don’t know who they are, but I know that Felix, Will and Iris – that’s a trio that’s easily gonna be unstoppable. Will’s definitely got a lot to fill us in on (laughs). Yeah, it’s gonna be a good group to wreak some havoc on the CRM.
One thing about the show, with it being a group of young survivors, is there’s this theme of hope that is a little different from the other shows in the franchise. And this season kind of ended on a more hopeful note. What can we expect from that in the second season?
Alexa Mansour: I have no idea what’s happening in the second season if I’m being 100% honest. No one has told me anything.
Aliyah Royale: I feel like season 1 was definitely about hope, and season 2 is definitely going to be retribution. But I think we’re just diving deeper into the world of the Civic Republic and how that applies to their plan for our post-apocalyptic world, because we’re not all on the same page about the cure and how we should use the cure you know, some people have different plans, more diabolical plans. So I think it’s going to be the girls’ job to make sure that things are handled the right way for the sake of humanity.
After playing these roles for a season, is there any trait that you picked up from your characters that you really like?
Aliyah Royale:Smart ass… let’s see. (laughs) Sister?
Alexa Mansour: I kind of like Hopes no bullsh**, rebellion….
Aliyah Royale:You had that! Don’t lie.
Alexa Mansour: No, no, I care a lot. Like I’m not irresponsible and just living for today and not worrying about tomorrow. I’m a planner, I stress out about what’s going to happen in the next hour. And I don’t like breaking rules. You know, I do a couple of things in life that my mom might look at and be like, “Oh, dude, stop.” But on a day-to-day basis, I’m pretty responsible and a little bit too stressed out, and I kind of like how Hope isn’t like that. She just goes with the flow until, obviously, they leave the community. But her mentality is just super go with the flow and enjoy life in a way, and make the most of it, and don’t listen to what anyone else has to say. Which is not me. So I’m trying to be a little bit more like that, a little bit more carefree.
Aliyah Royale: I’m trying to learn Iris’ diplomacy. She has a good way of talking. She uses great rhetoric. And I’m sometimes too blunt for my own good.
Were there certain scenes from the last two episodes that you were excited for fans to see?
Alexa Mansour: The moment that Iris and Hope are outside of the burning house and they’re hugging, and you have little flashbacks to how they were when they were kids. It just confirms how intelligent the both of them are, and how they’re a lot better together than they are on their own. And before this, they weren’t on the best of terms.
Hope left and she made Iris feel like Iris didn’t understand her. And in that moment, it’s like it doesn’t matter what they both just went through. Whatever was going on between them that they were mad about, they just left it all on the table. And they made up in a way that you would have never known that they were mad at each other in that moment. I just love seeing how close they are, and blood is thicker than water. Even though they’re not related, but I think you know what I mean.
Aliyah Royale:Seeing their adoption… OMG. That was my other favorite thing to shoot because, I don’t remember what we were doing, but I remember we were on set and someone tapped me and was like, “Oh my god, Baby You is so cute.” And I was like “So, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” But then they were like “No, no, literally, I’m serious, like you’ve got two twins, like the two twins of you are on set.” And I ran as fast as I could to go meet the two babies playing me and playing Hope. And it was so cute!
You don’t know much about the next season, but is there anyone from Fear or The Walking Dead that you would like to cross over with?
Aliyah Royale: Negan.
Alexa Mansour: Daryl Dixon.
Aliyah Royale: Easy, they’re just legendary. If we had the chance to work with them, that would make our Walking Dead careers.
Alexa Mansour: Yeah, I’m petitioning for a spin-off with Negan, Daryl, Hope and Iris.