The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang says the kiss between Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) will feed into their respective Season 10 journeys as the king navigates a complicated dynamic with ex-queen Carol (Melissa McBride).
Speaking to TV Line, Kang admitted “there is a certain amount of stuff in Season 10 that has to do with illusions or flashbacks or dreams — things like that,” but this romantic development is real.
“We are seeing a moment. This really does happen,” Kang said. “The characters have always had a respect for each other. They like each other. [And their relationship] feeds into the journeys they’re on this season.”
Despite their split over the death of son Henry (Matt Lintz), Ezekiel and Carol “will have a really interesting ongoing storyline this season,” Kang said. “The two of them are kind of in their own realms, both alone in their grief, yet it’s like they need people — and each other.”
Indeed they do: Ezekiel, now overseeing the merged Hilltop and Kingdom communities of “Kingtop,” is plagued by the darkness brewing within him while Carol suffers from horrific visions of her dead son.
“I don’t want to say too much beyond that,” Kang continued, “but there’s some real loveliness and complication that’s very human between them that hopefully will be satisfying for people to see unfold.”
When addressing the buzzy trailer moment on TWD Season 10 Preview Special, Payton would only say the kiss would lead to “a lot of speculation,” admitting “there already has been.” Asked to explain the romantic encounter, Payton joked, “You get lost in the woods, you get bored, things happen.”
Because the Michonne-Ezekiel coupling is borrowed from creator Robert Kirkman’s comic books, there has been speculation Carol taking over one of Michonne’s comic book storylines — in which she spent a lengthy amount of time away at sea — could signal doom for Ezekiel.
Speaking on Ezekiel’s Season 10 story at San Diego Comic-Con in July, Kang would only tease his journey promises to be a surprising one.
“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. “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.”
The Walking Dead returns to AMC with its Season 10 premiere Sunday, October 6.