King Ezekiel’s Journey Takes a “Surprise Left Turn” in The Walking Dead Season 10

The journey for newly single “Kingtop” leader King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) takes a “surprise left turn” in Season 10, according to The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang.

“I think Ezekiel, he’s definitely dealing with issues of leadership and what his place in the world is. I think Khary is doing an amazing job with the journey that he’s on this season,” Kang said at San Diego Comic-Con. “I don’t want to say too much about it, because I think it will be a surprise left turn for people, but a lot of deep and touching work by our wonderful Khary Payton.”

Disrepair and a harsh winter forced the Kingdom to shutter, resulting in Ezekiel, Jerry (Cooper Andrews) and their people relocating to Hilltop — now affectionately nicknamed “Kingtop.”

Because past Hilltop heads have met grim fates — Gregory (Xander Berkeley) was executed by hanging before interim leaders Jesus (Tom Payne) and Tara (Alanna Masterson) were murdered by the Whisperers — is King Ezekiel next in line to die?

“Well, no, they haven’t all died,” Kang said, pointing to currently stepped away leader Maggie (Lauren Cohan). “Just a couple of them [laughs].”

Payton’s Ezekiel has outlived his comic book counterpart, who along with a pregnant Rosita was among the dozen pike victims claimed by Alpha when staking Whisperer territory in issue #144 of Robert Kirkman’s comic book.

“There’s definitely a lot of fertile ground for Ezekiel, because the interesting thing with our show is we rarely kill a person the same way on the show that Kirkman did in the comic. Glenn (Steven Yeun) is a notable exception,” Kang previously told EW.

“We definitely have a story that I’m really excited about telling for Ezekiel in Season 10. I’ve talked to Khary about it. It opens a door to do something that’s different and really hopefully interesting for people to see with Ezekiel in the next chapter of dealing with the breakup of his home and his family and the loss of his child. Hopefully good character stuff can come out of it all.”

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How his kiss with Michonne (Danai Gurira) plays into Ezekiel’s story this season remains to be seen. Asked about the romantic encounter at Comic-Con, Gurira told EW, “I really can’t say much of anything.”

The Walking Dead Season 10 premieres Sunday, October 6 on AMC.