The reveal of Project Votus on The Walking Dead: World Beyond may explain what happened to the missing Heath (Corey Hawkins) on The Walking Dead. After he disappeared during a supply run with Tara (Alanna Masterson) in the Season 7 episode “Swear,” showrunner Angela Kang confirmed Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) of the Scavengers traded Heath to the helicopter group later identified as the Civic Republic Military. More than eight years later, Jadis is Warrant Officer Stokes of the CRM, serving the shadowy organization behind the “A” and “B” human trading program that abducted Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) as a “B” in Season 9.
In World Beyond Season 2 Episode 6, “Who Are You?,” Jadis confirms she traded Rick to the CRM when she tells Staff Sergeant Jennifer “Huck” Mallick (Annet Mahendru) she gave the military “something very valuable” to secure her spot in the Civic Republic. Jadis labeled Rick a “B” before flying away with him aboard a CRM helicopter that likely landed at the CR, the hidden city in an undisclosed location.
Season 2 Episode 7, “Blood and Lies,” reveals Project Votus was founded in year two of the zombie apocalypse by CRM Major General Beale and Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Kublek (Julia Ormond). Under Project Votus, Dr. Lyla Belshaw (Natalie Gold) and other CRM scientists study live subjects through death to further their research on reanimation by using “As” as test subjects forcibly bitten by walkers.
We see this practice on The Walking Dead when Jadis marks Rick, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and Father Gabriel Stokes (Seth Gilliam) as “As” and nearly has walkers bite them while they’re held captive at the Scavenger junkyard.
Jadis believed boyfriend Gabriel to be a “B” when she invited him to join her at the Civic Republic but downgraded him to an “A” after he threatened to tell Rick she was trading people for supplies. Jadis upgraded Rick to a “B” after earning his trust and becoming his friend, saving Rick’s life by giving him over to the CRM as an asset.
In “Swear,” Heath goes missing on a walker-filled bridge outside Oceanside, disappearing along with the RV later spotted at Jadis’s junkyard. Left behind is a dropped key card with the letters “PPP.”
It’s confirmed Jadis traded Heath to the CRM in exchange for supplies for the Scavengers. But is Heath an “A” or a “B?”
Rick, Negan, and Gabriel were enemies to Jadis when she marked them as “As” to trade them as zombie-bitten test subjects. Jadis only considered Rick and Gabriel to be “Bs” when she earned their trust and saw their value to the CR.
If Heath was bitten on the bridge or after he was taken by Jadis, he was labeled an “A” and transported from the junkyard to a CR Research Facility as a test subject in Project Votus. Season 9 Episode 3 of The Walking Dead may have hinted at Heath’s fate when it’s revealed the CRM is more interested in an “A” than a “B” in exchange for extraction from the junkyard.
“I paid my share,” Jadis radios a CRM pilot, who tells her she’s “been compensated” with supplies. When she asks what it will take for pickup and transportation to the CR, Jadis is told she needs another “A.”
We now know this is because human test subjects are invaluable to Project Votus, which aims to uncover the mystery of reanimation in order to slow or prevent it entirely — eliminating the threat of the walking dead.
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