Khary Payton Breaks Down King Ezekiel in 'The Walking Dead' Season 8 Featurette

In a new featurette showcasing The Walking Dead Season 8's tragic death of the Kingdom's army, King Ezekiel actor Khary Payton and the show's producers break down the shocking turn of events.

Heading into the fourth episode of The Walking Dead Season 8, King Ezekiel swore his troops and their Kingdom community would flourish through battles. After thinking they had executed their mission, the King stood proudly, proclaiming not one life was lost.

"The great thing about Ezekiel is when he makes a decision, he's all in," Payton said in the video above. "Come hell or high water, this is happening."

However, merely a moment later, all of the King's troops were gunned down before his eyes as some sacrificed their own lives to save his.

"It's like you go to Vegas or something and you're on this incredible winning streak and one roll of the dice, just like that, it's all gone," Payton said.

Executive producer Denise Huth has a firm understanding of Ezekiel's psyche in those moments. "He has lead his people into this battle and he's had a great confidence the first few episodes," Huth said. "He's spoken a lot about how we won't lose even one. To have it all come crashing down around him where literally his entire force is killed right in front of his eyes is a crushing, crushing loss and it's one of the first big losses of the war."

In fact, as seen later in the episode, Ezekiel realizes the kingly role might not be for him. "He wants to resign and he wants to take the blame," Payton said. With the death of Shiva, Ezekiel's pet tiger, the King would soon declare he is no king, at all.

"It breaks him," said Scott Gimple, The Walking Dead executive producer.


It didn't end with the death of Ezekiel's soldiers, though. Quickly, many of the soldiers would reanimate and begin hunting him. "Now they're the undead coming back to haunt him," executive producer Tom Luse said. "It's just gotta be devastating."

The Walking Dead Season Eight is available on blu-ray on Aug. 21. Fear the Walking Dead returned for the back half of its fourth season on Aug. 12 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. The Walking Dead returns for its ninth season on Oct. 7, 2018. For more updates and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter!