Why ‘The Walking Dead’ Spared Rosita and King Ezekiel from Their Comic Deaths

The Walking Dead producer Denise Huth teases big stories to come for expecting mother Rosita (Christian Serratos) and newly mourning father King Ezekiel (Khary Payton), both characters who were spared their comic book fates at the hands of Whisperer leader Alpha (Samantha Morton), who murdered ten victims — including Ezekiel’s adopted son Henry (Matt Lintz) — and displayed their decapitated heads on pikes. Rosita and Ezekiel were the most prominent casualties in creator Robert Kirkman’s version of the iconic pikes slaying — and now the characters are poised for all-new stories going into next season.

“One of the reasons that I was really happy Rosita didn’t end up on a spike is that she’s pregnant,” Huth told Digital Spy. “That’s a huge element, that she’s in this relationship with Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) and has this great friendship with Siddiq (Avi Nash) and Eugene (Josh McDermitt). It is an interesting dynamic to see how that plays out. That’s a very modern post-apocalyptic family, I guess.”

Unlike her late comic book counterpart — who was impregnated by Siddiq but was romantically entangled with Eugene, who was left devastated when Rosita fell victim to the Whisperers — Serratos’ Rosita is expected to give birth to Siddiq’s child, taking the character in an entirely new direction.

“I’m curious to see her become a mother, you know,” Huth said. “The character of Rosita has always been really strong and somewhat independent, and to be responsible for somebody else’s life, a life that is as vulnerable as a child, it will be very interesting for her. It will change her in a lot of ways. I’m really excited to see how we’re going to play that out.”

Ezekiel’s story has also outlived the pikes, and the Kingdom leader with wife-slash-queen Carol (Melissa McBride) will next be forced to shutter their crumbling home as damages set in, making the Kingdom unfit to brave the harsh winter ahead. Daryl (Norman Reedus), Michonne (Danai Gurira), and allies help relocate the Kingdom clan — traveling through dangerous Whisperer territory to do so — but the royal couple may not be able to withstand the loss of their adopted son.

“We’ve seen him evolve quite a bit from when he was first introduced,” Huth said of the usually optimistic king, who cheerfully looked towards a bright future with the newly reunited communities rallied by the Kingdom’s trade fair. “Losing Henry is significant, and the fact that he was able to take care of Henry for so long — I think there’s a lot of room there to explore the different side of Ezekiel, who is a highly positive king, who thinks and believes truly that everything can work out.”

She added, “I’m very curious to see how he and Carol together and as individuals respond to this huge, huge loss.”

The Walking Dead premieres its Season Nine finale Sunday at 9/8c on AMC.

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