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SYFY WIRE The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead boss shoots down major fan theory about the Commonwealth

By Josh Weiss
The Walking Dead

The 'C' in The Walking Dead's mysterious CRM, three-ringed organization doesn't stand for what you think it stands for — at least according to franchise head honcho, Scott M. Gimple. First introduced in Season 8, CRM refers to three mysterious survivor communities and ever since they were mentioned, fans have theorized that the first letter refers to an element from the comics: The Commonwealth.

"The Commonwealth is its own thing. There are a lot of changes to the comic story and the show, but it is important to me, and to Angela, to tell the story from the comic. There might be some weird minor ways that it touches, if at all, but it’s a version of the story from the comic," Gimple recently told Entertainment Weekly.

In the post-Whisperer War comics by Robert Kirkman, The Commonwealth is one of the more advanced and flourishing human outposts in the post-apocalyptic world of flesh-eating zombies. Comprised of about 50,000 survivors in Midwestern America, the communities of The Commonwealth (led by Governor Pamela Milton) strive to rebuild society as it once was, class system and all.

In the comics, things get a little messy in the Commonwealth when Rick and his crew arrive, but it's a key storyline from the comic series that finally introduces a community with the size and scope to potentially restart society on a large scale — and also one that helps set up the eventual endgame for the recently-concluded comic run. But according to Gimple, they plan to honor the major sign posts of that story (minus Rick, presumably), which means it apparently does not play into the long-simmering "CRM" mystery. So, let's keep guessing.

So far, the mysterious symbol of the CRM — which appeared on the helicopter that took Rick Grimes away in Season 9 — has shown up across The Walking Dead, Fear The Walking Dead, and even the teaser for The Walking Dead: World Beyond. The upcoming spinoff is expected to premiere sometime this year and will focus on a young generation that has no knowledge of what life was like before the outbreak.

While Rick (played by Andrew Lincoln) is gone from the main series, he will be appearing in a trilogy of live-action films spun out of the popular universe — likely dealing in large part with this CRM group, considering they're the bunch that grabbed him.

"I’m really happy with the way that we [handled Rick's exit]. It allows us to tell an entirely different Walking Dead story with the star of The Walking Dead," added Gimple during his EW interview. "To me, so much of it goes back to when I was a kid, and just getting excited for the possibilities of story. Movies would take so long between them… I guess I’m talking about Star Wars and EmpireJedi, but there was this time that you just had to dream as to what on Earth was going to happen. I always look upon that as a positive thing, and it was sort of a necessary thing in this case, and it was built into our process with Walking Dead."

Season 10 of The Walking Dead returns Sunday Feb. 23 on AMC for its second half.