Fans of The Walking Dead were introduced to several new characters on last Sunday night’s show, including King Ezekiel and his pet Tiger Shiva. If you are familiar with the comic books, then Ezekiel and Shiva aren’t a big surprise, but those who only watch the show may have been just as confused as Carol was in this unusually awesome new world known as The Kingdom.
During the San Diego Comic Con, the Season 7 trailer of The Walking Dead revealed the character for the first time. Comic fans have been expecting to see the extravagant character and his monstrous pet for months but others have no idea who this guy is or where the tiger came from.
Ezekiel, or King Ezekiel as he is known to the residents of The Kingdom is the leader of the group that is situated on a college campus-turned post-apocalyptic community. It is a safe zone much like Alexandria, but it is a bit more established than Rick and the gang’s community.
Ezekiel leads the group with a level-headed approach, but he also distances himself from the community by referring to himself as a king, acting like a king, talking like a king, and keeping a pet tiger. Ezekiel was once a zookeeper; the tiger has remained loyal to him and defends him from treats including walkers and humans. She is immune to the virus but not immortal to being eaten or injured.
If the show continued to follow the comics, we should expect to see Ezekiel meet up with Rick and help out the survivors as they rise from the ashes and battle against Negan’s rule. For a while, Ezekiel will be very introverted, he doesn’t like allowing himself to be vulnerable to others and blocks out those who try to get close to him. In the comics, he and Michonne eventually end up in a relationship, but the show may be taking another turn with this story and placing him with Carol instead. Obviously, Michonne is already taken, unless Rick is going to be involved in another love triangle.
But WHO is Ezekiel?
King Ezekiel is played by the actor Khary Payton. He has provided his voice to various animated series including Arkham Origins and probably his most popular, the voice of Cyborg on Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans.
And if you didn’t catch that tidbit on Talking Dead last Sunday, now you can go back and re-watch and all you will hear is Cyborg talking to Chris Hardwick. It’s pretty hilarious actually.
It would be great if we could have King Ezekiel break character for a moment during a battle scene with walkers and yell out “Meatball Party!!” Just once. Maybe in the blooper real for the DVD.
Here is some more information on the talented actor.
Khary Payton is an Augusta, Georgia native who was born on May 16, 1972. He is an American actor and voice actor known for his voice characterizations in animated cartoons and acting roles such as on ABC’s General Hospital. (Cyborg was on a soap opera?) Payton appeared on a recurring basis a s Dr. Terrell Jackson on the ABC daytime soap. (Cyborg was a DOCTOR on a soap opera!?)
Along with plying Cyborg on the Teen Titans series, he also provided his voice for the role of Aqualad in Young Justice, Ten (from the Royal Flush Gang) in the Justice League cartoon series, Drebin in the game Metal Gear Solid: Guns of the Patriots, Ripcord in G.I. Joe: Renegades, Blade in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, Grimlock in Transformers: Robots in Disguise, and Killer Croc in Batman: Arkham Underworld.
So, What Does It All Mean for Rick & The Gang?
The introduction of King Ezekiel and his royal men, as well as the people of the Kingdom could be very good news for our survivors on the show and those left in the community of Alexandria. They may possibly have a brand-new ally to help them fight Negan and the Saviors since they both share the same enemy. After everything that Negan had done already (and we all know that he isn’t finished yet) Rick is going to need all the help that he can get. We will have to wait and see exactly how Rick meets up with Ezekiel and hopefully has a reunion with Morgan and Carol. If anyone should be able to help them out with the Negan crisis and his handy baseball bat Lucille, it should be the guy with the pet tiger.