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The Walking Dead's Khary Payton Teases The Commonwealth - Exclusive

The Walking Dead is now in its tenth season, allowing an in-depth view of a post-apocalyptic life where the living humans traverse a landscape filled with zombies who need a flesh-filled diet for fuel. One way the humans stay alive is by forging alliances and building communities. Finding strength in numbers has proved beneficial for many who have chosen that route. It makes sense to think that all the survivors would play together nicely in order to fight the zombie menace, but the show highlights the darker side of human nature through the many oppositional groups that form. 

Khary Payton plays Ezekiel, a former zookeeper who heads up a community called the Kingdom when we first meet him. His innate wisdom makes him a natural leader, but the day-to-day challenges are relentless, and only become intensified by the conflicts between factions. We soon learn that Payton's "King" Ezekial is merely affecting a regal accent and demeanor in order to bring his community together around a common cause. People needed something to fight for instead of against, and Ezekial gives it to them in theatrical form. It came in handy, when the Saviors rose up, and it became difficult to ignore all the people the Kingdom really did need to fight against. Ezekial helped his people dispatch that threat, but as the show's final season gears up it looks like there's another hostile community waiting in the wings.

So far, season 10 has provided a quick and intriguing look at a new community called the Commonwealth. Those are the armored troopers who surround and capture Ezekiel, Princess (Paola Lázaro), Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) as they travel to Virginia. It's impossible not to ponder their motives.

Payton knows that post-apocalyptic life isn't a bed of roses

Since the recent introduction of this new crew, not too much is known about what, or who, makes them tick. They do, however, rock full-body suits of armor that quickly call up images of Star Wars' stormtroopers. With all the fascistic imagery, fans (who haven't read the comics) are curious whether this Commonwealth will provide the new Big Bad for season 11.

To explore this question, Looper talked to Khary Payton and asked him to dish on the Commonwealth. He's helping keep the mystery about them alive, but he did offer some thoughts about the situation. "When you're talking about The Walking Dead, and you're meeting a new community, there's going to be a little bit of good and a little bit of bad," he said. How much of either, if you're wondering, isn't precisely revealed in his answer. 

"The percentages [of good and bad], I don't know how to talk about that. I am not sure if it's going to be like it was with the Governor's Militia where it seems rosy on one side or if it will be like the Saviors where all the rosiness has pretty much died. The thing about the Commonwealth is that it is a bit of a mystery right now. There's hope for some good in there, but it just wouldn't be The Walking Dead if it was all roses and lilies, would it?"

Tune into The Walking Dead on AMC to see how the mystery surrounding the Commonwealth unfolds and how Ezekiel is involved.