‘The Walking Dead’s’ Khary Payton Offers New Pet Suggestion For King Ezekiel

Khary Payton attending the Fathom Events and AMC's 'Survival Sunday: The Walking Dead And Fear The Walking Dead'.
JB Lacroix / Getty Images

The ninth season of AMC’s The Walking Dead brought a wave of loss to the doorstep of Khary Payton’s character, King Ezekiel. By the end of the season, the king had lost his adopted son, Henry (Matt Lintz), at the hands of Alpha and her gang of Whisperers. The death of Henry also triggered the loss of his wife, Carol (Melissa McBride), who decided to end their marriage and leave their shared kingdom.

But despite his character’s recent losses, Payton is mainly focused on getting a new pet for Ezekiel, and has even offered a suggestion, according to a report from Pop Culture.

When fans were introduced to King Ezekiel, they were also introduced to his unconventional animal sidekick, a giant tiger named Shiva. Throughout the series, Shiva stayed loyal to Ezekiel and later died after attacking a group of walkers to save his master. As the actor reflected on the scene, he said it was one of the most emotional moments for him.

“You know what, it’s weird because it’s the most emotional moment, but it’s when Shiva died. Because I played him being the king, him also being so distraught that he kind of lost himself,” Payton said at FAN EXPO Vancouver. “It was really emotional for me because we not only lost Shiva, but so many people in the Kingdom.”

“And to me, Shiva was the embodiment of all those people. It was a really special moment.”

Payton went on to say that he’s been asking for his character to be given an elephant to replace Shiva. The actor also outlined a handful of reasons why an elephant would make an excellent sidekick while dealing with zombies.

“They’ve got a nice, thick skin you can’t bite through, you can just step on a walker, if I get on his back I’m up high,” he said, before asking fans not to criticize the idea because he’s thought it through.


There has been no official chatter about a new pet for Ezekiel, but showrunner Angela Kang has been teasing a new direction for the beloved character in Season 10, as previously reported by The Inquisitr.

Kang explained that Ezekiel will be struggling to find his place in the world while dealing with the issues associated with leadership. As for his love life, the Season 10 trailer showed Ezekiel kissing Michonne, played by Danai Gurira, which means he could finally be ready to move on from his estranged wife.

King Ezekiel’s story will continue to unfold during the 10th season of The Walking Dead, which will premiere on October 6, on AMC.