‘The Walking Dead’ Season 7: Khary Payton On King Ezekiel’s Rapport With Negan’s Saviors In Episode 2 — Rick Grimes’ Introduction To The Kingdom In S7 Inevitable?

Last Sunday on AMC’s The Walking Dead “The Well,” King Ezekiel’s secret weapon against Negan’s Saviors was revealed. An interview with Khary Payton, who plays the Kingdom’s leader, gave his take on his character’s rapport with the dreadful community, according to IGN. It seems that King Ezekiel is a patient man and is methodically attempting to infect the Saviors via a food source.

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The Walking Dead’s cast of characters suffered two major losses during the Season 7 premiere as Negan introduced them to the new world order. Even Rick was given fair warning by Jesus that he will be encountering a bigger world as well in a Season 6 episode.

Negan And His Relationship With The Kingdom

The Hilltop is already under the violent thumb of Negan and, most recently, Alexandria, but it seems that King Ezekiel’s demeanor has kept things calm between his community and the Saviors. It is unknown if Negan has taken a life from the Kingdom.

In The Walking Dead’s second Season 7 premiere, what is the nature of the relationship between the Saviors and The Kingdom? Payton gives his take, suggesting how Shiva the tiger could prove intimidating to Negan and Lucille.

“I think that he’s got a particularly unique situation with the Saviors. In my mind, I don’t know if anyone was killed in his community by the Saviors. That somehow, maybe he got away with just a very tense confrontation. And frankly, if you bring a bat and I bring a tiger, I’m thinking maybe you’re going to be like, ‘Maybe I won’t hit you with this bat. Maybe it’s better if I more politely than most say listen we’re going to make trouble unless you give us a little something.'”

Deceit By The Former Zoo Keeper?

The Walking Dead seems to hold onto a common theme of keeping people in the dark. When Carol and Morgan encountered the community, Carol, just like members of her original group, felt that King Ezekiel was pulling the blinds over his people’s eyes. That any kind of hope is fruitless as it will be inevitable that the whole idealized environment will eventually come crumbling down. The same happened with Woodbury and later Alexandria. Rick Grimes made the people of Alexandria realize this, and now that they live in a world where Negan exists, Carol felt it best to just abandon that situation.

The Kingdom’s King Ezekiel sheds some hope on the situation and reveals his good nature in humanizing the walkers prior to leaving the site of their acquired pigs. This is being done in secret from the rest of his community to keep at bay the harsh reality of Negan and his Saviors for the purpose of “preserving the life of his people.”

The former zookeeper revealed to Carol why he insists on keeping up his charade. Payton gives a good reason as to why King Ezekiel is doing this, as his character tells Carol that people need someone to make them feel safe and is human nature to have leadership in their lives.

“This is not a fantasy that he’s living. It’s a construct to be sure, but it’s not different than the construct of the United States government.”

Since Deanna was with the United States government formerly as a senator, could there be some sort of connection between the two methods? It seems The Walking Dead is changing up how communities are being run in the zombie apocalypse.

Morgan And Carol Introducing Rick Grimes To The Kingdom

Since the two Alexandrians formed an alliance with King Ezekiel, this would make for a good setup to introduce Rick Grimes to the new community. Payton notes his character’s introduction to the Alexandrians. Carol and Morgan are still at odds with what kind of people they were prior to this new introduction, but there’s a feeling that this would be put behind them in the form of starting afresh.

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“I think that Morgan’s coming to realize that which is why he finds such a confidant in Morgan and seeing him as an adviser, someone who can help him lead. As far as Carol is concerned, I think he sees an incredible strength that she was literally pulling herself from the brink.”

Carol has come a long way as part of The Walking Dead when it comes to the human spirit and drive. She’s pretty much “up and at ’em” after only two days of rest. Khary Payton sees how her character would have great potential to The Kingdom if King Ezekiel could only get her to see “the light” in things.

“And even though, yeah, she’s trying to cut herself off it is a survival mechanism. He feels like if he can just get her to see a little bit of the light that she can, that that strength is something that he could really use in his community.”

Facing Off Against The Saviors

The Walking Dead’s Khary Payton talked about how he felt should there ever come a time when King Ezekiel takes up arms against Negan and the Saviors. Unfortunately, there are probably people of peace in that community who, like Morgan, may not be willing to fight, but if their hand is forced, it would become necessary.

“I don’t know, but it’s probably going to be bad. It’s like, there’s some people who like to fight and there are other people that don’t like to fight until you make them mad.”

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Although Morgan may be sought after as a great adviser to teach his non-warring citizens how to defend themselves via his fighting skills, Morgan could be at odds at compromising his “life is precious” stance. He shot dead one of Negan’s people who was threatening to kill Carol in Season 6, and another opportunity to take a life may happen eventually.

How do you see a war occurring between these communities? Keep tabs on AMC’s The Walking Dead every Sunday at 9 p.m. EST.

[Featured Image by Gene Page/AMC]