Everyone’s favorite post-apocalyptic king makes his debut in a newly released promo for Season 7 of “The Walking Dead” (via Variety).
Ezekiel, or King Ezekiel as his followers refer to him, debuted in issue #108 of the comic series as the eccentric leader of the Kingdom, a settlement of survivors that fashioned itself after feudalistic society. It was apparent in the Season 6 finale that the Kingdom would appear in the show when we saw one of the armored knights from the community meet with Morgan while he was trying to rescue Carol.
Little has changed in the show’s adaptation of the character, as he’s the spitting image of his comic counterpart. The former zookeeper turned king appears with his trademark long graying deadlocks, star spangled spangled shirt, scepter, and of course, his pet tiger. In fact, the promotional image of actor Khary Payton released by AMC is nearly an exact copy of the comic cover where Ezekiel first appears. The promo itself seems to emphasize Ezekiel’s imposing nature showing him dispatching a few walkers while his tiger, Shiva lets out an intimidating roar. Despite what was displayed in the promo, there is an optimistic side to Ezekiel, which Payton has claimed is very important to the character.
One of the significant changes from the comic series is that it will be Morgan and Carol interacting with Ezekiel, and we get a quick glimpse of Morgan at the Kingdom in the promo. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Payton has said concerning the two characters, “He sees potential in them for understanding his way of living and spreading this gospel of joy and light in a dark situation. I think he considers his Kingdom a lighthouse, and if you use it the right way, it’ll keep you from crashing on the rocks.”
Naturally, Morgan fits this description pretty aptly, however given Carol’s disillusioned state at the end of the last season, it’ll take more time for her to reach that point. Regardless, it’ll be interesting to see that transformation if it happens.
The introduction of the Kingdom also has large implications on the plot of the series as a whole, since it was one of the communities that was vital in Rick’s plan to wage war against Negan and his army “The Saviors.” Only time will tell to see if things unfold the same way in the upcoming season.
Season 7 of “The Walking Dead” Premieres October 23rd at 9 Pm on AMC.
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