SAN DIEGO — King Ezekiel and his pet tiger Shiva are coming to “The Walking Dead.”
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.
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.
“It’s a really (expletive) start to the season, but hang on because we are heading to one of the greatest showdowns of the show,” said “Walking Dead” actor Andrew Lincoln.
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 seventh season of “The Walking Dead” will premiere Oct. 23.