Spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 9 follow.
In The Walking Dead's return, little time was wasted before Rick Grimes began his attempts to rally communities against Negan and the Saviors. As promised by several trailer and TV spots, he came face to face with King Ezekiel and pleaded for soldiers and aid in the war ahead.
Surprisingly, King Ezekiel shot down Rick's requests for help with little thought ever being put towards actually joining the war.
Speaking to Ezekiel actor Khary Payton, ComicBook.com learned more about his perspective on why Ezekiel shot down Rick's plea for help so quickly.
"I don't know these people!" Payton said. "If anything, they came knocking on the door and they want to go to war. He's asking to go to war. That's a big deal. So far, Ezekiel has been the only leader that has dealt with the Saviors that hasn't lost anybody. In Ezekiel's mind, he's like, "I'm doing this right. I'm protecting my people. I'm doing enough to get by. I'm keeping the peace, and I understand that you guys are friends with Jesus, but I just met you. There's a difference between helping somebody I just met and going to war with somebody I just met! That's a different story."
Ezekiel has no intention of changing his mind at this juncture, either, but we know Rick will inevitably come back for more. "I don't know if Rick can do anything," Payton said. "I think this has more to do with the relationship between the Saviors and the Kingdom changing. So far, he's heard things that the Saviors have done, but they haven't done it to him. They haven't done it to his people, and the other things that have happened I guess is kind of hearsay. At this point, it's like to make that kind of commitment, you're asking him to put the lives of his people on the line, and he's done that before and he's regretted it. He's trying to be a cautious king and think of his people first, but I don't know if it's about Rick convincing him. It's more about him seeing just what the Saviors maybe can be, and seeing that he doesn't have another choice. War should be a last resort."
"Haven't met many people with burnt faces," Payton points out. "That could do it."
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How Tom Payne Plans To Make Negan Look Stupid / Season 7 Finale Cliffhanger? / Rock In The Road Recap / How Will Rick Convince King Ezekiel? / Khary Payton Explains Ezekiel's Decision / Ross Marquand On Aaron And Eric's Emotional Scene / Those Epic Zombie Kills Almost Didn't Happen!