Everything We Know About the ‘Three Rings’ Group in The Walking Dead Universe | IGN

With The Walking Dead: World Beyond’s new air date announced as October 4, airing directly after the long-delayed Walking Dead Season 10 finale, we’re doing a deeper dive into the large militarized group — which uses a Three Rings logo — that has become a very big part of the Walking Dead TV-verse over the past few years. Scott Gimple referred to the group as the “CRM” during World Beyond’s Comic-Con panel, and a clip from World Beyond has revealed that the organization’s official title is the “Civic Republic Military.” 

We’ve written about the Three Rings group/CRM before, most notably after Michonne’s last episode, which worked to set up the Rick Grimes movie that Michonne will also be a part of.

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World Beyond’s EP and showrunner Matthew Negrete also spoke to us a bit about this group (aka “those rascals in those helicopters,” as he put it) in order to shed a bit more light on their mission, their presence on the spinoff series, and what they might mean for the endgame of the Walking Dead universe as a whole.

So let’s track the “Three Rings” — from The Walking Dead to Fear the Walking Dead to what we know about them in World Beyond — and figure out just what these rascals are up to.

Three Rings/CRM on The Walking Dead

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Pollyanna McIntosh as Anne on The Walking Dead.

Six or more years back, in The Walking Dead’s timeline, Anne (formerly Jadis) had a deal going with a clandestine, well-armed group that had access to a helicopter.

In exchange for supplies, she and her fellow Scavengers (assuming they were all in on the deal) would provide this Three Rings group with live human specimens, which she was told to classify as “A”s or “B”s (we can still only guess at their meaning). Back as Jadis, she first tried to give Negan over to the Three Rings, as revenge for Savior Simon killing her entire group, but even then she also tried to get Negan bit by a walker before the chopper came and got him. At the time, it seemed like the A’s and B’s might have something to do with infected and non-infected people.

After Rick and his army won the Savior War, Anne, no longer with a Scavenger community to fall back on, became a part of his crew. Still, all the while, she was trading people to the Three Rings for supplies. When questioned by Gabriel about an ex-Savior named Justin disappearing, she came clean with Gabriel, who’d recently become her lover, and asked him to leave with her and go join the mysterious group since she’d asked to be extracted. When she refused, she knocked him out saying “All this time, I thought you were a B.”

This made the A and B labelings for the Three Rings more unclear.

Anne eventually set Gabriel free herself out of guilt, but she still wanted to leave with the Three Rings. So in her walkie-talkie communications with the helicopter, she lied and said she had an “A” for them. Fortunately for Anne, she came across a badly injured Rick Grimes. Yes, after Rick didn’t die in the bridge explosion back in Season 9’s “What Comes After,” Anne saved him by handing him over to the Three Rings, which took them both away in the helicopter. She told them Rick was a B, but he was strong and needed help.

Unfortunately, no one in Rick’s life knew this happened and everyone assumed he died (though Daryl spent quite a while in the woods looking for a body). Then the show jumped forward six years.

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Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes on Rick’s final Walking Dead TV episode.

“[Rick] was injured but still alive and they were taking him somewhere,” Negrete told us. “We’re gonna have some fun with that [on World Beyond]. We’re going to learn a lot more about this organization. And in doing that, maybe there could be some hints about where Rick could be. We’re going to explore what this organization is and who they are through the eyes of these new characters. It’s a very mysterious onion that we’re going to be peeling back the layers on… and hopefully this will be tastier than an onion.”

In Season 10’s “What We Become,” Michonne, who thought Rick had died years ago, discovered his boots in a Navy Research Facility on Bloodsworth Island. A character named Virgil then told her the boots had come from a ship that washed up during a “big storm.”

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Michonne discovered a ship’s log that tracked the vessel from Virginia to a port in New Jersey. She took this as a clue and set out to follow the lead. Among the wreckage, she also found a phone with the drawings of Michonne and a figure that could be Carl or Judith. The only way it could be Judith is if the person who drew it, and wrote the Japanese lettering – be they Rick or someone else – was actively watching Alexandria all these years.

One huge question the Rick Grimes movie will have to answer is why Rick never went home. Has he been close by all this time?

Three Rings on Fear the Walking Dead

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Sydney Lemmon as Isabelle on Fear the Walking Dead.

Staying in the past, Fear the Walking Dead, as a series, exists pre-Walking Dead Season 9 time jump. And in FTWD’s Season 5, which syncs up more or less time-wise with the first five episodes of Walking Dead’s Season 9 (when Rick was choppered away), the Three Rings appeared.

Yes, all the way down in Texas, where Fear takes place now, in the episode “The End of Everything,” Fear’s Althea, played by Maggie Grace, had a run-in – and a romantic interlude – with a Three Rings soldier named Isabelle. Isabelle’s Civic Republic Military (CRM) gear had the Three Rings logo on it.

Isabelle, separated from her group, and her leader killed, radioed others and promised to deliver a “payload” (as part of Ground 17, a recon squad that acquired supplies and tech) while also calling in a “Reclamation Team” (who apparently come in to kill everyone and eliminate witnesses). At first, Althea was her prisoner, but the two talked and bonded while on the road, leading Isabelle to tell Al more about the group and why it was so important for Al to keep it all a secret.

“It’s bigger than me, it’s bigger than you, it’s bigger than all of us,” she explained to Al. “And we’re the past. And right now, it’s the only thing that matters … This is about the future, and rebuilding what we all once had.”

The Walking Dead: World Beyond and…the Cure?

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Julia Ormond as one of the leaders of the Three Rings group in The Walking Dead: World Beyond.

“This will be a different corner of the universe a corner we haven’t seen before,” Negrete said of the Three Rings society that World Beyond will deliver. “We’re lucky to have Julia Ormond playing one of the leaders of this mysterious group. She’s amazing.”

“We’re seeing how other groups live,” he said. “[On The Walking Dead] we saw these communities that are still developing and are still up and coming. We’re going to see some civilizations, and hint at other civilizations, that are very First World and more built up. They feel more like the world we live in today. They’re 10 years into the apocalypse and they have school and they have some very cool things that they’re doing. It’s also about living for the future. It’s no longer about ‘oh crap, where’s my next meal coming from?'”

Back at NYCC 2019, Walking Dead Universe Chief Content Officer Scott Gimple actually explained the meaning of the Three Rings symbol and what it meant for The Walking Dead: World Beyond. “The three circles represent three different civilizations that are bound and entwined in some way,” he said. The location in World Beyond is “associated with one of those circles,” and the series will get “very deep into that mythology” and showcase how big the world of The Walking Dead is.

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One of the theories we floated, back when the Rick Grimes movies were announced after Rick’s final Walking Dead episode, is that this organization, which is not from the comics, might be headed toward a possible “cure” storyline. Well, Negrete confirms that it’s true. The Three Rings are looking far enough into the future to be working on a cure.

“There’s responsibility that comes from [being in an advanced community],” he said. “It’s really about wanting to build the world back up. They’re thinking about ‘Is there a way someday we could get rid of walkers?’ — or empties, as we call them on this show. ‘Can we eradicate them from the world? Is there a way we could find the cure for this thing?'”

“They’re asking these questions because they’ve lived so long and built up the world so they can.”

Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead comic series may have ended with no mention of a cure, but it seems the TV-verse may wrap things up very differently, perhaps coating the saga with a thin sheen of hope.

The Rick Grimes Movie(s)

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We don’t know much at all about the Rick Grimes movie trilogy other than that it will star Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira as Rick and Michonne (and maybe even Pollyanna McIntosh as Anne). The set up was Anne giving Rick to the Three Rings as a wounded “B” (thus providing her ticket out). From there… it’s been six or seven years. Has he been with the Three Rings this entire time or does he just start with them, as a prisoner of sorts?

The last image we got with regards to the movie is the nomadic group Michonne saw on her quest to track down Rick in The Walking Dead’s Season 10. It was a large community on the move, with the civilians and supplies on the inside of the procession and the soldiers, on horseback, protecting the perimeter.

Gimple recently told us that while World Beyond and the Rick movie both involve the Three Rings, they “can exist on their own schedules.”

“There’s a lot of flexibility there because the stories aren’t intimately involved,” he said. “There are aspects and histories that they share but really they’re pretty independent of one another.”

Gimple stated that World Beyond is “a peek into the mythology that some of the movie revolves around. There are aspects of World Beyond that exist in the same universe as the movie. It’s just closer to what Rick’s story is. You know, Rick Grimes doesn’t walk out from around the corner in [World Beyond], and show up, but you learn a lot more about the world that Rick is potentially dealing with. It has deep connections to the movie.”

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The Walking Dead: World Beyond follows the first generation raised in a surviving civilization of the post-apocalyptic world, specifically two sisters and two friends as they leave a place of comfort and begin to explore the ravaged, dangerous world around them.

Limited series The Walking Dead: World Beyond premieres Sunday, October 4 on AMC. Watch the full Comic-Con 2020 panel for The Walking Dead: World Beyond below:

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Matt Fowler is a writer for IGN and a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow him on Twitter at @TheMattFowler and Facebook at Facebook.com/MattBFowler.
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