Khary Payton, who already has plenty of comic cred voicing animated characters in DC’s LEGO movie franchise and the Transformers and Teen Titans Go! TV series, is stepping in front of the camera to play King Ezekiel in the upcoming Season 7 of AMC’s The Walking Dead. The news pretty much broke when Payton was part of the Season 7 trailer that just dropped during the show’s Hall H panel at Comic-Con.
Ezekiel first appears in Issue 108 of the comic and is the tiger-owning leader of The Kingdom, where he is known by most as the king. While wary of alliances with the survivors, his deep hatred of Negan convinces him to link up with Rick Grimes and crew.
That will make him a pivotal figure in the upcoming season that now has an October 23 premiere date. Negan, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, was the key to the Season 6 cliffhanger when he was close to dispatching one of the key characters. That little mystery apparently will be resolved immediately in Episode 1, according to the panelists today.
Peyton, who also voices Rifiki in Disney Channel’s The Lion King spinoff series Lion Guard: Return Of The Roar, is repped by Innovative and Gekis Ribera Management.