Leading up to today's The Walking Dead panel at Comic-Con, many expected that the show's cast and producers would reveal the premiere date and the first trailer for the hotly-anticipated Season 7, which is currently in production. Thankfully, both came as scheduled, with the trailer also giving fans their first look at a character who has long been rumored, King Ezekiel of The Kingdom. It was announced during the panel that actor Khary Payton has come aboard to play this iconic character from the comics.
The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Khary Payton will have a series regular role, joining the 20 previously-confirmed series regulars in Season 7. Of course, one of these characters will not be sticking around too long, with the Season 7 premiere set to reveal who the victim of Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) brutal beating is. We don't know for sure exactly when we'll meet Ezekiel, but he will certainly have a pivotal role in this new season.
Ezekiel and The Kingdom were first introduced in the 108th issue of The Walking Dead comics, just eight issues after the introduction of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who we first met in the Season 6 finale and will be a series regular in Season 7. In Robert Kirkman's comics, The Kingdom is a group who have fortified a college campus, lead by this man and his pet tiger. One of this seasons' biggest questions is how they will portray Shiva the tiger, with rumors from the set claiming that they are using a mixture of animatronics and CGI to bring her to life. As you can see, they've done a pretty impressive job.
Of course, the big question that remains is which character will be killed be Negan? We have reported that each of the 11 characters Negan lined up, who recently got their own character posters, each shot their own death scene, and we most certainly won't find out who this mysterious victim is until the Season 7 premiere. The Walking Dead producers used today's Comic-Con panel to reveal that Walking Dead Season 7 will debut on Sunday, October 23 at 9 PM ET on AMC. Ever since Season 2, each season has been split into eight-episode halves, which will continue with Season 7.
Khary Payton is best known for his voice over work, portraying Cyborg on Teen Titans and the new series Teen Titans Go!, Hex on Ben 10 and Ben 10: Alien Force and Black Manta on Young Justice. Most recently, he has been voicing Grimlock, Divebomb and a number of other characters on Transformers: Robots in Disguise and Rafiki in The Lion Guard. Take a look at the first trailer for Season 7 of The Walking Dead below, which reveals Khary Payton as King Ezekiel, and stay tuned for more on this highly-anticipated season.