The Walking Dead's seventh season will introduce several new faces and locations but one of the most anticipated is The Kingdom's King Ezekiel.
Fans of AMC's adaptation of Robert Kirkman's comic books may be completely unaware of what to expect from the extravagant leader of the yet-to-be introduced community.
So, who is King Ezekiel? Full spoilers for The Walking Dead comics are fair game from here on.
Ezekiel is a character from The Walking Dead comics who debuted in issue #108. He took the cover of the issue and was introduced as the kingly, extravagant man who distances himself from the community by acting constantly superior.
In truth, the man struggles with communication. Though he is an eccentric and somewhat flamboyant white haired leader carrying a staff at all times, he is reluctant to connect with any one. Eventually, he opens up to and finds himself in a relationship with Michonne on the black and white pages of the Image comics series. He takes failures very hard and works to ensure the safety of those around him as he is genuinely concerned for his people.
Prior to the apocalypse, Ezekiel was a zookeeper. This is where Shiva comes in. Ezekiel was the master of Shiva. He found her with serious injuries and after helping her return to good health, the cat was loyal to him. Throughout the apocalypse, Shiva stood by his side and defended him from several threats.
Ezekiel has ties to characters we have already met on the AMC series. His Kingdom community has trade lines in order which exchange goods with the Hilltop and he has a very close relationship with Paul "Jesus" Monroe (Paul Rovia on televison).
Of course, he has also encountered the villainy that is Negan and the Saviors and been oppressed by the group for some time by the time we meet him. However, rather than launching an assault the way Rick Grimes did or sitting back with no plan of attack like Gregory, Ezekiel has patiently bided his time and waited for the right time to strike the tyrant.
It isn't until Rick Grime and the Alexandria Safe-Zone come into the picture that Ezekiel comes up with a plan to take down the Saviors in which he has enough confidence to execute. In fact, it is Jesus who brings Ezekiel and Rick together.
Don't look for Ezekiel in the first couple of episodes of The Walking Dead's seventh season, though. The King won't be making his debut until the Greg Nicotero directed third episode of Season 7. The first encounter will also be a bit different. While the Khary Payton portrayed character will be first seen on a theatrical stage (literally) it will be Carol and Morgan who encounter him before Rick. In the comics, both Carol and Morgan have died by this point.
Speaking of death, Ezekiel's came in issue #143 of the comics which is most certainly a spoiler but the television series tends to alter character deaths quite a bit. No one can say for sure that Ezekiel's head will be found on a spike in Season 9.
Following the premiere of The Walking Dead's seventh season, ComicBook.com will be live with Dwight actor Austin Amelio for a recap of the brutal episode and a look into the future of the series on After the Dead.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. For complete coverage and insider info all season long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.