Who is King Ezekiel in the Walking Dead?

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Ezekiel is a character in the Walking Dead who is the leader of a community called the Kingdom.  Ezekiel is known for fighting alongside Rick Grimes in the All Out War story as well as for his pet tiger, Shiva.  Actor Khary Payton has been hired to play Ezekiel in the show the Walking Dead.

First Appearance: The Walking Dead #108

Death: The Walking Dead #144

Monikers:  I have heard many people refer to Ezekiel as the Tiger Dude, Tiger guy etc.

King Ezekiel makes his first appearance in the premiere episode of Walking Dead Season 7.  Scenes by Khary Payton feature prominently in the episode.

Ezekiel was a zookeeper prior to the zombie apocalypse.  At some point he may have also been an actor.   After the apocalypse Ezekiel uses one of the Tigers as a zoo named Shiva as a pet.  He and the tiger create a community of survivors that names Ezekiel as its leader.  He proclaims himself, King Ezekiel and calls the community the Kingdom.   Ezekiel has met and befriended with Paul Monroe from the Hilltop. He greatly despises Negan and the Saviors.  Ezekiel is the first to admit that he can be theatrical while acting as the king of the Kingdom.  He acts very confident but at certain times does become rattled and reveals insecurity.

Ezekiel has spent considerable amount of time gathering information on the Saviors and Negan whom he regards as a tyrant.  He has been accumulating on this information waiting for the proper time to strike.

Rick is brought to the community to meet with Ezekiel by Paul Monroe where the leaders of each community create an alliance to take down the Saviors.  Dwight a Savior mole is also there and joins in the pact with the other leaders.  Rick brought several people with him to Alexandria including Michonne.  Ezekiel immediately takes an interest into the warrior woman.  She initially scorns him but after a friendly and flirty chat begin to see each other romantically.

Eziekel later leads a group of Kingdom warriors and saves Alexandria from a siege by the Saviors.  The Kingdom force catches the Saviors force by surprise and saves the town.  Negan manages to escape this battle and Rick initially wants to give chase.  Ezekiel warns Rick away from this tactic though due to the Saviors still possessing superior numbers.  Ezekiel is highly impressed with Alexandria and comments that Rick greatly undersold the community.

Ezekiel leads a force first with Rick on an attack of the Savior stronghold of Sanctuary.  Later he splits off to take down a Savior base.  Ezekiel's attack ends disastrously and Shiva ends up being killed.   The battle between the Kingdom and Savior forces had lured over a massive horde of zombies who diverted the Saviors.  While the zombie horde allowed Ezekiel to escape he became trapped within the horde himself.  Shiva took down as many zombies as the tiger could but eventually was surrounded and killed by the zombies.

A grieving Ezekiel seeks comfort of Michonne.  He tells her about the disastrous attack, the loss of his men and of Shiva.  He tells her that he no longer wants to be a leader.  Michonne responds to this by punching him in the face and calling him a "Pussy".  She says that he is still being trusted by families in the Kingdom to lead and needs to man up and do so.  When Alexandria is attacked Ezekiel wants to flee but Michonne convinces him to stay and fight.

Ezekiel eventually agrees to bring all of his remaining survivors to the Hilltop where the three communities can gather their forces and avoid being taken out by the Saviors individually.  He fights alongside the survivors at the final battle at Hilltop.

Some time after All out War:
It is eventually revealed that Ezekiel and Michonne are having relationship difficulties.  Michonne leaves and goes out on her own and Ezekiel goes out to look for.  He runs into the Whispers, whose leader Alpha decapitates him.

When Michonne sees the head of Ezekiel she begins to cry, revealing that she still had feelings for him.

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Carol and Morgan while battling Saviors came across another man who seemed to come from another community.  It is expected that this community is the Kingdom.

Actor Khary Payton was hired to play King Ezekiel in the show.  He was first shown in the trailer for Season 7 at San Diego Comic Con:

From Entertainment Weekly interview with Khary Payton was asked what it was like acting with nothing there at times to create Shiva.  Shiva is Ezekiel's pet tiger.

"It’s just another beautiful way that I get to use my imagination. As far as I’m concerned, Shiva’s as real as the people standing next to me — as Morgan or Carol or any of the other people who move among the Kingdom itself. So I really don’t think of it as CG or mechanic. All I know is that she’s real to me. I’ve done a lot of video games where there’s literally nothing standing in front of me. I’ve done, you know, a lot of voiceovers where there’s literally nothing standing in front of me, I’ve got to make it all up, so this is just another situation where my imagination gets to be used in another context, so no matter how good they bring it to life, it’s already alive in my head."

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