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The Ezekiel Story We Could See In Tales Of The Walking Dead

During the New York Comic-Con 2020 panel for the expanded The Walking Dead universe, Scott Gimple, the Chief Creative Officer of all things The Walking Dead, hinted that the upcoming Tales of the Walking Dead anthology series could include a brand-new Ezekiel (Khary Payton) story. 

The panel's moderator, Chris Hardwick, shared that at least one Twitter user is eager to see the King's time as a zookeeper — and while Gimple didn't confirm that Ezekiel's pre-apocalypse life will form the basis of an episode of Tales, he did share that's exactly the kind of story he wants the anthology series to tell. For Gimple, Tales of the Walking Dead represents a chance to explore all corners of the universe — from the pasts of beloved characters to entirely new characters and everything in between.

"It's to see more of these characters and more of the things that made them who they are, and then as they move into the future," he said of the anthology series. "We're going to see brand-new characters and brand-new situations, but we really want to keep up with all these amazing characters that the audience still love so much. It might be their past, it might be their future."

While fans won't know if Ezekiel has a future to visit until The Walking Dead ends with the two-part season 11, there's no denying that he has a colorful past that's just begging to be spotlighted on Tales of the Walking Dead. And yes, Payton confirmed he would be happy to explore the King's past on the new spin-off.

Ezekiel's time as a zookeeper is just one chapter of his story that could be explored on Tales of the Walking Dead

Back on season 7 when Ezekiel made his Walking Dead debut, he revealed his past as a zookeeper to Carol (Melissa McBride). While his followers believed all sorts of fanciful tales about how their King's pet tiger Shiva came to be by his side, the truth was that he risked his life to save the injured animal during his time as an employee at the zoo.  As a result, he earned her trust. 

Tales of the Walking Dead could easily dramatize that story and create a compelling episode of television in the process — but there are also plenty of Shiva and Ezekiel stories viewers haven't seen from their time prior to running the Kingdom. Fans know Ezekiel had a penchant for playing kings on stage before the apocalypse, and that he worked in a zoo. What they don't know is pretty much everything else. While The Walking Dead has followed the stories of characters like Carol, Rick (Andrew Lincoln), and Daryl (Norman Reedus) pretty much from the beginning of the apocalypse, there's not much information about how Ezekiel survived the first wave of walkers, or what he and Shiva got up to before the Kingdom was formed.

It would be a shame for such a rich character to not have his backstory fully explored, and although Tales of the Walking Dead is still in its early stages, it's clear that TWD fans are eager to see more of the enigmatic King Ezekiel — and the return of his dearly departed pet. Luckily, the upcoming anthology series is designed to delve into the histories (and futures) of the characters viewers love, so Ezekiel and Shiva's backstories should be at the top of Gimple's list.