THE WALKING DEAD’s Civic Republic and Civic Republic Military (CRM), Explained

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 know that this helicopter belonged to the Civic Republic—or more specifically, the Civic Republic Military (CRM). The Civic Republic and its deadly military force play a major role in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live.

THE WALKING DEAD's Civic Republic and Civic Republic Military (CRM), Explained_1

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.

world beyond crm

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 and we officially meet General Major Beale in The Ones Who Live. He’s the type of villain that you fear the most, one who isn’t outright threatening but still evokes fear. Okafor, one of Beale’s top military leaders, sees the leadership potential in Rick Grimes and convinces General Beale to allow him into the CRM. Rick resists for many years (and failed escape attempts) before joining their ranks and hoping he can escape from the inside. We even see a failed attempt to use the tunnels to escape.

We will certainly learn more about Beale in future episodes. 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.

close up image of major general beale in the ones who live crm leader

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 Military CRM image of Kublek and several soldiers in front of a helicopter in the walking dead world beyond

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 and appears in episode two The Ones Who Live. She knows Michonne is there and threatens to kill everyone Rick knows if they try to escape. Yikes.

Does the Civic Republic Have Other Locations in The Walking Dead Universe? 

Iris and Kublek shake hands in the walking dead world beyond alliance community with civic republic
Zach Dilgard/AMC

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. In The Ones Who Live, Rick sees this event on the news and is rightfully suspicious about how it went down. 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 Does the Civic Republic and CRM Play into The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live?

The Civic Republic and CRM both play a huge role in Rick Grimes’ return to The Walking Dead. We go back to five years after the bridge and discover that he’s a consignee at the Civic Republic and under the thumb of the CRM. He’s there against his will and wants to get back to his family. But, thanks to the community’s belief in “secrecy and security above all,” no one except CRM soldiers can leave. After much pestering, Rick becomes a CRM soldier with hopes of escaping.

After some time, Okafor reveals to Rick and Pearl Thorne, a fellow consignee-turned-CRM soldier, that the organization is broken and needs to be fixed. He wants both of them to move up the ranks and access top-secret information to do so. Pearl and Rick continue to have opposing opinions, with the former believing that the current system works while the latter points out that there’s no freedom. He is right because people are not allowed choices nor do they know what the military does outside the walls.

Okafor also explains the “A” and “B” designation, saying A people are leaders who people follow while B people are everyday folks who just want to survive. B people become consignees and eventually Civic Republic residents while A people are taken away and killed. He admits that Rick and Pearl should be dead because they are As. He says they can move up the ranks and received the Echelon Briefing, which will give them information that majority of the people don’t know. They can presumably use this intel to make changes from the inside out. Rick doesn’t care because he’s still trying to escape.

After Rick discovers that Okafor knows about Michonne and his community, he decides to be a dutiful soldier and release his dreams of going home. Of course, this all changed when Rick and Michonne found each other shortly after Okafor’s death. Michonne spent a short amount of time as a consignee at the CRM before she forced Rick out of a helicopter so they could “take a timeout.” Her wild plan seems to be working for now, with Rick agreeing to stand with her once again and prepare to fight against the CRM. Their helicopter is destroyed by the CRM and they believe they are free to go home. But, Jadis isn’t easily fooled. She catches up with them but they eventually get the upper hand, which results in her death.

Close up image of Pollyanna McIntosh as jadis in the walking dead the ones who live

Rick wants to get the evidence that Jadis has about Alexandria; however, that’s not enough for Michonne. She wants Rick to get the Echelon Briefing so they can leak this information to the public at the Civic Republic. Michonne says the people deserve to know the dark truths about their military force and she’s right. So, they return to the base out West and do just that.

The Echelon Briefing, Major Deaths, and Massive Changes for the CRM and Civic Republic

Rick discovers during his briefing with Major General Beale that there’s a belief that humanity will last for only 14 more years before disease eventually turns everyone into walkers. So, Beale and the CRM want to fix that by becoming the only organization left. Beale reveals that he is from Pittsburgh and took out the entire city to uphold Philly. Now, they want to use the same chlorine gas bombs that nearly killed Michonne to take others down.

He admits that the fall of Campus Colony/Omaha was intentional and that Portland is next on the list. Michonne becomes privy to this while in disguise as a solider during a briefing. Outside of saving a few select children to transform into mindless tools, the CRM plans to annihilate Portland in mere hours. This would allow the CRM to declare full martial law over the remaining Civic Republic and begin their death sweep across the country.

Thankfully, this doesn’t happen because of Richonne’s quick thinking. After Rick kills Beale, they set up a trap using his walker corpse along with another soldiers to set off a chain of gas bombs. They set the forces of the CRM at that location on fire, killing them all. Somehow, Pearl Thorne survives but Michonne eventually takes her down. They get the information to the Civic Republic and its leaders call for a revamp of the military and government. So both organizations still exist but they are not doing harm in the world anymore. And, those who are at the locations are now free to go home.

We even see some helicopters flying over Rick and Michonne as they embrace their kids, signaling that the Civic Republic and its military are probably helping Alexandria and the Commonwealth.

Will We See the Civic Republic Military and the Civic Republic Again in The Walking Dead Universe?

The short answer is probably. This organization spreads across the United States and has been a key force in this universe for some time. There’s all the wild stuff happening with Genet and the Pouvoir in France with them using walkers (some from America) for experiments. Perhaps the reformed CRM will butt heads with them or whatever organization The Dama is leading in NYC. We also know that there will be more spinoffs, one of which could involve someone in the Civic Republic. For now, we bid them goodbye and wish Richonne much happiness.

Originally published on January 17, 2024.

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