By the third episode of The Walking Dead’s seventh season, a Greg Nicotero directed hour will introduce audiences to Khary Payton’s portrayal of Ezekiel and his pet tiger Shiva.
Comic book fans have long been awaiting the arrival of the King on television. When the Season 7 trailer released at Comic Con, screams could be heard not only in the San Diego Convention Center’s Hall H but from fandom around the world when they got their first glimpse at the dreadlocked king and his noble jungle cat.
Carol Pelettier actress Melissa McBride is just as excited as any of us to see the power couple coming to life on the AMC series.
"Shiva was really cool. For an animatronic, it was very impressive,” McBride says. “They had the puppeteers that work behind her. I guess it's all radio frequency, how they make the movements and stuff. It was really cool watching her and, of course, they're adding some CGI elements or visual effects, too. I can't wait to see what that looks like.”
Of course, you don’t have Shiva without her original zookeeper and leader of the Kingdom, Ezekiel.
“He's such a fun person,” McBride says of Payton. “It was really cool to see him transform into Ezekiel.” She went on to highlight the “dreadlocks,” “the whole attitude,” and his “voice,” as what has her the most excited about his joining of the cast, concluding, “He’s fun to work with.”
Back to Carol, fans were relieved to see that she is healing nicely from her wounds acquired in the Season 6 finale but her mental state is one which could use a little reshaping. With her return coming surrounded by the all-life-is-precious edition of Morgan and the extravagant Ezekiel, several perspectives will be influencing her going forward.
"I think it's all blending together, the effect," McBride says of Morgan and Ezekiel. "Just to see how Morgan will respond to the Kingdom... He and Carol were not seeing eye to eye when we last saw them, and yet he was forced to make a choice that he had fought so hard against for all of the last season, so we'll see where that takes them and their mindset and if they have anything new in common."
The Walking Dead returns for its seventh season October 23 at 9 PM ET on AMC. For complete coverage and insider info all season long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.