While AMC's hit TV series The Walking Dead doesn't always follow Robert Kirkman's comic books to a T, they do help set up what fans may come to expect next in the series. For instance, in the Season 6 finale, we got our first look at two unnamed characters who interact with Morgan (Lennie James) and Carol (Melissa McBride), who many have assumed are from The Kingdom in the comic books. Shortly after the finale, showrunner Scott M. Gimple teased that we may or may not see The Kingdom, their leader Ezekiel and his massive pet tiger, Shiva. Now it seems that we may be seeing them early on in Season 7.
In the comics, The Kingdom is a college campus that has been fortified and turned into a survivor's colony, much like the Alexandria Safe-Zone where Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his crew inhabit. The Kingdom is lead by a man named King Ezekiel, a former zookeeper who has a massive tiger known as Shiva at his side. According to The Spoiling Dead Fans, production recently started on Episode 3 of Season 7. The site goes onto tease how Shiva may be portrayed on the small screen.
"Filming for episode 3 will resume tomorrow. We expect them to be back at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta for continued filming at The Kingdom. It probably won't be a great day for sightings, but if you're going out please keep us posted! Ezekiel and his faithful pet tiger Shiva have arrived! We are not sure who was cast as Ezekiel yet, but we'll continue to track it. As for Shiva, it's unclear how much of the giant kitty we'll actually see, but she's here! Rumor has it that she'll be a mix of animatronics and CGI."
The Kingdom was 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. Scott M. Gimple also teased in April that the new season will pick up right where the Season 6 finale left off, showing fans who Negan killed in the season finale. In the comics, Negan killed Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun), but the identity of his victim wasn't revealed on the show.
AMC hasn't announced a premiere date for Season 7 quite yet, but, like every previous season, it will most likely debut sometime in mid-October, during the network's annual Fear Fest programming. While no plot details have surfaced yet, series star Norman Reedus recently teased that Season 7 will make the world "explode," although he wouldn't go into specifics. We'll be sure to keep you posted about Season 7 and the casting of Ezekiel as soon as more details come in.