During The Walking Dead Comic-Con@Home Panel, Showrunner Angela Kang was asked what she’s most looking forward to in the world of TWD. Among her very exciting answers, was one quite interesting tidbit that revealed the direction the show is headed in. “The Commonwealth… we’ll get to what’s a pretty cool point for them on their journey,” she said.
For those who haven’t read Robert Kirkman’s comic series, the Commonwealth is a community that the survivors encounter and some eventually integrate into. Interestingly enough, in the comics, the survivors first encounter the Commonwealth during the same cross-country mission in which they meet Princess. So it’s possible that Eugene, Magna, Ezekiel, and now Princess, are already on the journey which leads to them to encounter this community. One notable difference, is that in the comics both Michonne and Siddiq accompany the group on this mission.
So what exactly is the Commonwealth?
The Commonwealth is a bloc of communities, with approximately 50,000 members. They enjoy sophisticated technology (for the apocalypse), and live across a range of settlements and geographic areas. They have their own military with advanced weaponry, and even have their own arena where they hold sporting events and concerts for the connected towns.
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The settlements are under the control of a governor named Pamela Milton. She governs with the help of her army, led by a man named Mercer (who couples off with Princess in the comics). Milton believes civilization is a like a machine, so he establishes rules and order within the Commonwealth to combat the chaos of the outside world.
Their society is based on a system that places people in the jobs they did before the apocalypse, thus enforcing and dual-class system. A high class is reserved for those who hold jobs in places like the government, and the lower class is relegated to those with working class jobs. This class system does eventually lead to a revolt among the soldiers.
In the comics, when the survivors meet the Commonwealth, they are taken there by its soldiers, lead by a man named Lance Hornsby.
Another notable difference there will undoubtedly be between the show and the comic: When the group arrives at the Commonwealth, the survivors see a board of missing survivors. Michonne sees a picture of herself, because her daughter, Elodie (long presumed dead), is still alive and living in the Commonwealth.
Years later, the Commonwealth expands to include the communities we know from TWD, and they elect Maggie as their leader.
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