The Walking Dead might be taking yet another blow in terms of losing cast members.
A new unconfirmed report claims that King Ezekiel actor Khary Payton will be leaving AMC's zombie series in either Season Nine or Season 10. The rumor comes up just as the series gears up for the infamous "pikes" sequence which saw the character killed off in the comics; however, fans should expect this sequence to deviate from Robert Kirkman's source material quite heavily.
"We Got This Covered has heard from trusted sources that Khary Payton will be saying goodbye to The Walking Dead in either season 9 or the already commissioned season 10, with King Ezekiel set to meet his fate," the report reads. "Our source can’t say for sure when it’ll happen, but Payton has already been notified about what’s in store for his character and it sounds like it was a writer-led decision and not because the actor wishes to leave the show."
If the report turns out to be true, Payton joins a long list of fan-favorite characters exiting The Walking Dead. Following Andrew Lincoln, Chandler Riggs, and Lauren Cohan, word broke out that Michonne actress Danai Gurira will be next in line to bow out. Cohan is expected to return, Lincoln is getting a series of movies, and Gurira's exit details remain quiet though she is making her escape at some point in Season 10.
While the majority of those exits were influenced by actor decisions, Payton's is noted as being a creative choice by The Walking Dead's powers that be. Unlike Gurira, Payton has been vocal about loving his position as King Ezekiel on The Walking Dead and has shown no signs of desire toward other pursuits.
Though entirely possible, Payton's exit from The Walking Dead should be chalked up as a rumor and nothing else. Representatives for Payton declined ComicBook.com's request for comment.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET. Fear the Walking Dead will return for its fifth season in 2019. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter and watch ComicBook.com's After The Dead each Sunday night following new episodes.