Fans of The Walking Dead comics went berserk when they saw Ezekiel take the screen in the trailer for the upcoming seventh season. Those unfamiliar with the comics may have been a bit puzzled to see the extravagant king and his trustee tiger, though.
In any case, the actor bringing Ezekiel to our screens this fall (Khary Payton) is finally speaking out and sharing his view of the character, which is the only one that matters right now.
"He’s in the business of not losing himself to his surroundings," says Payton. "I don’t let things get me down. I brighten the things around me in that it’s a party when you’re going to be around him, and whether it was a party there before it’ll be a party by the time he leaves. I love even his relationship with the zombies themselves. He’s a guy who doesn’t think of them as having a physical disease. It’s more that their joy was robbed from them, and that he’s one of the few people left on earth whose joy hasn’t been robbed, and to him, that’s the difference between the living and the dead. If you’re still human, but you’re letting your joy be taken away from you, you might as well be one of those mindless creatures walking all over. So to him, it’s kind of a weird philosophy of life that he’s developed living in this apocalypse that you don’t let this world turn you into something that you’re not."
A happy character is something The Walking Dead is unfamiliar with and Payton realizes it might be a little startling to meet such an extravagant guy in such a world.
"You first come upon him and you think he’s a little bit out there, and he is a little bit out there," Payton admits. "But the truth is that everything about this world is a little bit out there, and if you want to survive in it and if you want to survive on your own terms, you need to preach your philosophy and preach it loudly so that it doesn’t get drowned out by all the crazy."
The Walking Dead will return for its seventh season October 23 at 9 PM ET on AMC. For complete coverage, insider info, and more all season long, be sure to follow me on Twitter @BrandonDavisBD and check out The Walking Dead on ComicBook.com on Facebook.