The Walking Dead: World Beyond’s Nico Tortorella, Aliyah Royale, Nicolas Cantu and Hal Cumpston reveal their experience with the original series.

When AMC’s The Walking Dead debuted in 2010, the series took the world by storm, debuting to high ratings and reviews. Thanks in large part to that reception, The Walking Dead universe — which started with Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Tony Moore’s series of the same name — has continued to grow and expand with different TV series, video games and other media. And while it may not be connected in any clear way to the flagship series at this time, the cast of The Walking Dead: World Beyond have definitely experienced the main show.

During a set visit for World Beyond, CBR talked with Nico Tortorella, Nicolas Cantu, Aliyah Royale and Hal Cumpston about their experiences with the other parts of the Walking Dead universe.

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Nico Tortorella Was a Huge Fan of The Walking Dead

Tortorella, who plays Felix Carlucci on the show and is among the older members of the main cast at 32 years old, was a huge fan of the original The Walking Dead. “The first one, I was diehard [for the] first five seasons,” Tortorella said. “My wife and I watched it religiously.”

However, Tortorella’s experience with the AMC series’ first spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead, was much different. “I auditioned for [Fear the Walking Dead]. Didn’t get it, so refused to watch it,” Tortorella joked. “I’ve gone back now and watch some of it. And once this came together, I was like, ‘Do I go and watch everything? Do I commit to understanding the full world?’ And I went back and watched the first two seasons of the original, which is two of the greatest seasons of any television show ever made. And I got into Fear some, but I made a decision: Felix would have no idea what’s going on out there, so I don’t need to know what’s going on totally. I want to be a fan as well as being part of the universe. I think, like, having those realizations come in the series is great.”

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Hal Cumpston Has Seen a Little of The Walking Dead

Hal Cumpston, who will play Silas on World Beyond, explained that he watched “the first two seasons of The Walking Dead.” This has given him some idea of the show’s format, but he noted, “I definitely need to score more of the series to get a full understanding. But I watched the first six episodes in the lead up to getting the callback, just because I watched the first one before I did the audition. I was like, ‘Holy shit. How have I not seen this?'”

The reason Hal hadn’t seen as much of the show as he’d have liked to was the result of it not coming free to air in Australia,” so “[he] would have had to pay for cable and that type of thing for it […].” As Hal noted, though, “I probably should have watched it before, but also I had that new, like, freshness of ‘Wow, this is this whole world I’m getting into,’ and then I actually am going to be a part of the world. I feel like that’s pretty interesting point of view.”

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For Aliyah Royale and Nicolas Cantu, The Walking Dead Was About Family

On World Beyond, Aliyah Royale is set to play Iris, who serves as something of a leader for her group of survivors. Prior to joining World Beyond, Royale had a lot of experience with the franchise thanks to her family. “My brothers were obsessed with The Walking Dead,” she said. “So obsessed. There was a year that they got […] The Walking Dead calendars. I was like, ‘Okay, cool. What are you gonna do with that? All right.’ They’re obsessed. When I told my brother that I got this, he did not believe me. He still doesn’t believe me, which is funny.

Nicolas Cantu, who plays the precocious and scientific Elton on World Beyond, watched the show with his father when he was quite young. “I watched the first two seasons [of The Walking Dead] with my dad when I was maybe, like, eight or nine,” Cantu explained. “Like superduper young.”

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However, Cantu has also looked into some of the other The Walking Dead media. “I love everything zombies,” Cantu explained. “I’ve looked into the comics, I’ve looked into the Telltale Games. Those are some of like the greatest pieces of zombie media ever. So I watched the first two seasons, but then I kind of consumed more of the content [in] a studying way. So I wouldn’t necessarily watch the episodes, but if there was a recap thing on YouTube, I would watch that and keep in the know about what’s happening in the universe, but I’ve only ever watched the first two seasons with my dad at nine and seeing all of those wonderful things.”

As for how his family reacted when they heard news he would join World Beyond, Cantu said, “They’re very supportive. They’ve always been very supportive of me, and I’m very happy that they are and my dad — me and my dad are huge nerds. So like, we talk Star Wars. And then once we booked this, I come home and my dad’s like, ‘Oh, I was watching some discussion videos. Did you see how people reacted to the trailer, look at what this guy theorized.’ So we’re like, kind of nerding out but also, I’m here and nerding out here and then I can come home and nerd out with my dad and like my brothers. So it’s really great.”

Created by Scott Gimple, Robert Kirkman and Matt Negrete, The Walking Dead: World Beyond stars Aliyah Royale, Alexa Mansour, Annet Mahendru, Nicolas Cantu, Hal Cumpston and Nico Tortorella. The series debuts Oct. 4 at 10 p.m. ET on AMC.

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