That’s Ezekiel (Khary Payton), the ice-cool leader that hails from the Kingdom. Indeed, the mere inclusion of Payton’s newcomer offers some indication of where TWD is headed come October, and a handful of new images emerging today offer the chance to check in with our band of survivors.
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Undoubtedly, the one still that stands head-and-burly-shoulders above the rest features Ezekiel, perched on his throne next to his trusty cane. One thing that is missing from the brooding shot, however, is Shiva, Ezekiel’s pet tiger.
In anticipation of The Walking Dead season 7, Payton told EW that he considers Shiva an integral character of the upcoming episodes, and is “as real as Morgan or Coral or any other people who move among the Kingdom itself.”
“It’s just another beautiful way that I get to use my imagination. As far as I’m concerned, Shiva’s as real as the people standing next to me — as Morgan or Carol or any of the other people who move among the Kingdom itself. So I really don’t think of it as CG or mechanic. All I know is that she’s real to me. I’ve done a lot of video games where there’s literally nothing standing in front of me. I’ve done, you know, a lot of voiceovers where there’s literally nothing standing in front of me, I’ve got to make it all up, so this is just another situation where my imagination gets to be used in another context, so no matter how good they bring it to life, it’s already alive in my head.”
Joining Payton for more flesh-munching action are Andrew Lincoln, who reprises his defining role as Rick Grimes, along with Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Steven Yeun, Danai Gurira, Chandler Riggs, Sonequa Martin-Green, Michael Cudlitz, Josh McDermitt, Ross Marquand and Christian Serratos.
The Walking Dead season 7 will shuffle onto AMC on October 23.