'The Walking Dead' Stars Explain How The Show Is Like A Social Experiment

The Walking Dead stars Michael Cudlitz and Khary Payton, visiting Melbourne, Australia for Walker Stalker Con, opened up to ABC's News Breakfast about the deeper themes of the apocalyptic drama, which Cudlitz describes as "sort of a social experiment."

"My whole life, I've been a fan of the genre," Cudlitz says, pointing to George A. Romero's seminal zombie works Dawn of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead. "I think every generation of kids grows up being a fan of this. I think that attributes to the success."

The series, which puts an emphasis on human versus human with the backdrop of a zombie apocalypse, is "like Lord of the Flies," Cudlitz explains.

"How would you rebuild society, if you had a choice? What mistakes would you make? What things would you correct? Or would we be doomed to sort of repeat ourselves?"

"You quickly understand what's important and what's not," Payton says. "Petty things kind of go by the wayside. Race relations isn't a problem. We're all the same race, you know. It's between the living and the dead. There's very little time to squabble about certain things like that."

"But it also shows you that who the 'bad guy' is," Cudlitz adds, "is really through the eyes of how you're seeing the story."

Cudlitz's fiery Abraham Ford has since been killed, executed in the season 7 opener, but Payton's theatrical King Ezekiel is embittered in a brutal war against Negan and his army of Saviors.

The Kingdom leader stands united with Alexandria and Hilltop leaders Rick Grimes and Maggie Rhee, who will be forced to continue on in the face of tragedy and navigate the fallout from the loss of longtime survivor Carl Grimes, who is slated to die in the mid-season premiere airing later this month.

Last viewers saw Ezekiel, he was captured by Gavin and a faction of Saviors. Ezekiel is currently being held hostage and is expected to appear "Honor," airing February 25.

Cudlitz and Payton are joined by The Walking Dead executive producer and director Greg Nicotero and stars Tom Payne, Alanna Masterson, Katelyn Nacon, Seth Gilliam, Ross Marquand, Austin Amelio, and Steven Ogg at Walker Stalker Con Melbourne.

Series alumni appearing at the event include Scott Wilson, Tyler James Williams, Michael Trainer, IronE Singleton, and Michael Rooker.

Walker Stalker Con Melbourne runs February 10 and 11.