We have gotten to know “King” Ezekiel (Khary Payton) pretty well since his first appearance in season seven and from then he has been courting the ever resistant Carol (Melissa McBride). After a couple of seasons of showing off his charm, leadership, and a sense of vulnerability under the disguise, he finally got the girl. Now that they are married and have an adopted child, Henry (Macsen Lintz), their relationship continues to be put to the test in the apocalypse.
Referring to his love life on the show, Payton believes that exposing his true self more is a sign of strength and growth. “It’s like a boxer that must be strong, but in order to be a boxer, you have to put yourself out there to be able to take the punches,” Payton said. “You have to put yourself a situation where you could be vulnerable in order to show what kind of strength you have. I don’t think you can have one without the other.”
At this point in Robert Kirkman’s comics, Ezekiel is dead. The TV series has been known to divert away from certain storylines in the comics such as the death of Carl and the disappearance of Rick. Payton doesn’t know whether his time will come or not, but he’s not stuck thinking about it.
“Anybody could go at any point, and that’s just the nature of the show,” Payton said. “It’s like, smoke ’em while you got ’em. Enjoy it while it lasts, and try not to live thinking about the future. Just enjoy the present moment, because who knows? I could be hanging around for a couple years, or I could be gone tomorrow. They always end up switching the things up with the comics, so who knows which way it might actually end up.”
All we do know is that we want Ezekiel to stick around for a while.