We already were waiting to hear more about Negan’s antics on the Season 7 of “The Walking Dead,” but fans were thrilled when the latest trailer (below) revealed that King Ezekiel and his pet tiger Shiva are also coming to “The Walking Dead‘s” world.
The dreadlocked character from the comics will be portrayed in the zombie drama’s upcoming seventh season by actor Khary Payton. In the comics on which the hit AMC series is based, the character rules a formidable community known as the Kingdom.
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King Ezekiel and Shiva were glimpsed in a trailer that debuted during the show’s Friday panel at San Diego Comic-Con International. “The Walking Dead” executive producer Scott M. Gimple noted he was younger and svelter than his comic book counterpart.
“We’re going to see leaders with different styles and how they work — some benevolent and some not so benevolent,” teased executive producer Gale Anne Hurd.
The panel kicked off Friday with actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan menacingly stalking behind several cast members with his villainous character Negan’s barbed-wire bat. At the end of last season, Negan infamously assassinated a character off screen. Their fate will be revealed in the season premiere.
Star Andrew Lincoln promised that Negan’s victim will be revealed in the season premiere. “It’s a really shitty start to the season” for the characters, Lincoln said but promised that things will get better for them down the line.
Comedian Chris Hardwick and panel moderator acknowledged the frustration that was expressed by some fans with the season-six cliffhanger ending, which showed Negan beating one of the show’s main characters to death, but did not reveal which character died — at one point even saying to the Comic-Con crowd, “No one’s ever trying to mess with you; everyone’s doing the best they can.” He asked executive producer Robert Kirkman whether the payoff would be worth it for fans.
“It’s definitely worth the wait,” Kirkman said. “It’s a fantastic premiere to a fantastic season.”
Executive producer Scott Gimple addressed the relationship between Lincoln’s Rick and Danai Gurira’s Michonne, which became one of the most high-profile interracial relationships on TV when the two became romantically involved last season.
“I wasn’t aware that it would have the impact that it did,” Gimple said. He added, “I think one of the things we fantasize about the apocalypse is that all of the things that separate us fall way.”
“Sometimes to change the picture that you usually see on screen can ruffle people, because it’s change,” Gurira said, adding, “I hope and believe that it will help break that barrier and allow more of those portrayals to be expressed.”
Lincoln was joined Friday by his “Walking Dead” co-stars Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira, Ross Marquand, Michael Cudlitz, Christian Serratos, Sonequa Martin-Green and Josh McDermitt. They each remained tight-lipped on who was on the other side of Lucille, the nickname of Negan’s bat.
The zombie drama’s seventh season will debut Sunday, Oct. 23 at 9 p.m. The 16-episode season will be split into two parts, with the first eight episodes airing in the fall and the second half debuting in February 2017.
“Fear the Walking Dead” New Character Revealed
The newest cast member of “The Walking Dead” spin-off was introduced to the zombie drama franchise in an overwhelming way.
Danay Garcia told the crowd during the “Fear the Walking Dead” panel Friday at San Diego Comic-Con International that she arrived for her first day on the Mexican set during lunch and was greeted by hordes of zombified extras chowing down.
“It happened so fast,” Garcia said. “I got the job on a Wednesday. I was in Mexico on Friday. I was on set on Monday.”
Garcia is playing Luciana, a member of a community near Tijuana, Mexico, with a very different approach to the series’ “walkers.”
“They don’t see the dead as a bad thing,” said “Fear the Walking Dead” executive producer Dave Erickson.
Frank Dillane‘s recovering addict Nick encounters Garcia’s character after he ditches his fractured family earlier in the season.
“She’s testing him,” said Garcia at the pop-culture convention. “He’s the foreigner.”
The second half of the second season of “Fear the Walking Dead” will premiere Aug 21.