Where’s Rick Grimes? That’s been the looming question since our brave apocalypse leader left The Walking Dead in season 9. For many years, Michonne, Daryl, and the rest of Rick’s family thought he sacrificed his life on a bridge to save their communities. In reality, Rick was found gravely injured by the perpetually shady Jadis and taken off in a helicopter to parts unknown. Of course, we now know that this helicopter belongs to the Civic Republic—or more specifically, the Civic Republic Military (CRM). The Civic Republic and its deadly military force will play a large role in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live.
There are a lot of fans jumping back into this world simply because of Rick Grimes’ return. Some of them probably haven’t watched much Dead spinoff content, specifically World Beyond. Therefore, they don’t know much about the Civic Republic Military and their evil deeds in The Walking Dead’s universe. So let’s get into this organization, its relationship to the Civic Republic, its goals and key members, and how it will factor into the future.
What Is the Civic Republic and the Civic Republic Military (CRM)?
For years, we saw evidence of a community and/or organization with large-scale resources (guns, people, medicine, supplies, etc.) in The Walking Dead TV series. (Neither the Civic Republic nor the CRM are in the comics, btw.) Leading up to Rick’s departure, several mysterious helicopters appeared sporadically throughout the series. We also knew that Jadis and her Scavenger group had connections to a place with the aforementioned perks many years into the apocalypse.
In exchange for giving the organization survivors—who were given either an “A” or “B” grading—Jadis would get supplies for her people. We now know this place was the Civic Republic. Her connection to the group never faded, even after she fell into Rick’s cohort (and in love with Gabriel) and stopped trading with them. Eventually, her loyalty to the Civic Republic led to her taking Rick there and working for the CRM. Her actions did save his life but he was also taken away from his family and friends.
Fear the Walking Dead also gave us a bit of insight via Isabelle. She was a helicopter pilot from the Republic and super fearful of its military because she broke a cardinal rule. The three rings representing this community/military and their looming yet never-fully-explained presence has intrigued fans for years.
It wasn’t until The Walking Dead: World Beyond that we learned more details about the Civic Republic and CRM. The Civic Republic is a Philly-based civilization that makes the Commonwealth look small, with around 250K residents. This is where Rick Grimes has likely been for years under the thumb of the CRM. We will learn even more about the Republic in The Ones Who Live.
It’s not fully clear who started the community. But, there are strong hits that it was a coalition of former politicians or those who had access to firepower, vehicles, and other military resources prior to the apocalypse. The community came together shortly after the outbreak in 2010 in an effort to restabilize the world. In short, the Civic Republic wanted all survivors to see them as the final hope for humanity. At the time, Civic Republic leaders said that the power would return to the people in around ten years. Obviously, this hasn’t happened yet.
Leaders thought the way to maintain this plan was to put the Civic Republic under military rule for an authoritarian-style environment to regain and maintain complete control of its residents. We’re talking tons of secrecy and incredibly tight borders in a place where you do what you are told and you don’t question authority… ever. You know, because that always works to the benefit of a burgeoning democracy.
This is how the Civic Republic Military (CRM), a massive group of well-trained soldiers with ample firepower, was born. It’s primary goal is to be the official military arm and police force for the Civic Republic. Since its inception, the Civic Republic has grown to function much like society did pre-apocalypse, with running water, electricity, schools, medicine, vehicles, and a full-blown economy. There are several wards across the Republic where people live and work various jobs. It’s highly likely that no one leaves or enters unless it is with the approval of those in charge.
Who Controls the Civic Republic and the CRM and Are They Evil?
In terms of leadership, there’s a lot of mystery about who is currently in charge at the Civic Republic. The coalition is allegedly led by a group of government officials, likely the same ones who started it all (or their descendants). But it seems the Civic Republic Military holds most of the power. Its lower-level leaders do what they want with little to no repercussions. The leaders at the Civic Republic are largely unaware of most of the CRM’s actions, which includes killing anyone who isn’t agreeable on a whim.
At the top of the CRM is its leader, Major General Beale. He was mentioned (and heard) in World Beyond but will officially appear in The Ones Who Live. We don’t know a lot about him at this point. But we did learn quite a bit about his cohort Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Kublek, a primary antagonist in World Beyond. Years prior, Kublek and Beale began “Project Votus.” In this project, scientists developed a method to slow down—and in some cases nearly stop—reanimation after a bite/scratch using a gas concoction. They used recently bitten folks and those who opposed the CRM as test subjects for their work.
Of course, these scientists are not fully aware of the methods used to obtain subjects. Kublek wanted to create a cure to gain more power instead of actually helping others. And she would eliminate anyone who questioned her methods. World Beyond even takes us to one such “research” facility in Ithaca, NY, which became a major season two locale.
It is where the Bennett sisters believe their father is working and in imminent danger. This is the catalyst that makes them leave their secure Nebraska home for the first time. The facility was burned down and mostly overrun thanks to the Bennett girls and their friends, collectively known as the Endlings. The events there, including the destruction of this lab, eventually led to Kublek’s downfall and imprisonment, thanks to the greed and double crossing of Jadis.
The Civic Republic itself isn’t necessarily evil. It is a community made mostly of people with no power, some of whom are there against their will. It is not even completely clear if some or all of the Civic Republic’s leaders are evil or not.
But the CRM is absolutely an antagonist group in The Walking Dead universe. Jadis is one of those people in her current position as a CRM Warrant Officer. She brought Rick to the Civic Republic as a “B” a.k.a. a strong survivor who could work for the community. Being a “A” person is a threat, one that could get you killed or mysteriously hurt so you’d be up for experimentation. So yes, Jadis did lie and save Rick’s life but it is not clear why the CRM is keeping him around. Surely his “A” qualities will show at some point, considering Rick’s survival and natural leadership skills. Jadis later left Rick behind to move up the CRM’s ranks but we know she will appear in The Ones Who Live.
Does the Civic Republic Have Other Locations in The Walking Dead Universe?
During its early years, the Civic Republic formed an alliance with two other military safe-zone locations—Portland, Oregon and Omaha, Nebraska. The latter includes the satellite community of Campus Colony (formerly Nebraska State University). This is where World Beyond protagonists Iris and Hope Bennett lived before leaving to find their father. Together, they made the Alliance of the Three, which explains the three ring symbol. The Civic Republic would use “bright minds” from these locations to facilitate research and, in return, provide food and supplies. However, Portland and Omaha knew little about the Republic, including its location.
In The Walking Dead: World Beyond, the CRM kills the entire population of Omaha, including Campus Colony, because a “study” said that Omaha and Portland were a strain on resources. Eliminating the other Alliance locales allows them to further renege on their promise to give the power to the people. But it will also cause a major stir among people in the Civic Republic and beyond.
For now, Portland is still active thanks to a forewarning from the Endlings. The community hasn’t been on a show yet but they are presumably gearing up for an uprising. It’s also certain that the Civic Republic has influence in other areas of the United States, some of whom could join this brewing rebellion.
How Will the Civic Republic and CRM Play into The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live?
The Civic Republic and CRM will both play a huge role in Rick Grimes’ return to The Walking Dead. He’s at one of the wards in Civic Republic against his will and wants to get back to his family. Based on a trailer, it seems that Rick will attempt to negotiate or power struggle his way out. We see a snippet of a tense one-on-one conversation with Major General Beale. We can only assume Rick’s relationship with Jadis is not good, so we’ll have to see how he got this meeting. Rick is shown killing walkers so he surely doesn’t have a high ranking position in the community. And, he’s not a loyal enough soldier to be a full-fledged member of the CRM like Jadis.
It’s possible that Rick will partner with other rebellious residents and cause an uprising of some sort. He could’ve been planning this for years or perhaps some new information leads him to do so. And, with Portland and others possibly wanting to fight back, The Ones Who Live might take us from coast-to-coast to tell Rick and Michonne’s story.
Speaking of her, she spent time with a large band of survivors before leaving them to search for Rick alone. This group could have a connection to the Civic Republic or CRM. Or, at the very least, someone there probably gave Michonne information about these organizations. There’s a hint of this in the aforementioned trailer when she’s warned to not travel up North. From the impending uprising in Philly to whatever’s happening with Negan in charge in NYC, it is all culminating into something epic. And, at the center of all the drama in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live will be the Civic Republic and CRM.