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The Walking Dead has never hurt for compelling characters throughout the past decade, always finding a way to keep us coming back week after week to see what our darling survivors are up to again. But it’s a dangerous world these character inhabit, and we always know that no one on the show is truly safe from death. We’ve lost a lot of wonderful people along the way, including fan favorites like Glenn and Abraham, who were murdered at the hands of the now-reformed Negan, who himself has since become a lovable and sympathetic antihero of sorts.
Because we know that many of our heroes will eventually meet their often gory ends at some point, we’ve all learned to prepare ourselves for losing our most loved characters. That’s certainly what many fans and even some co-stars of The Walking Dead have had to do during season 10, as King Ezekiel has recently developed thyroid cancer, branding him with a giant tumor on his neck.
The former leader of The Kingdom has remained positive since his unfortunate diagnosis, however, and is currently traveling with Eugene and Yumiko as they seek out a new group. Of course, this group is widely expected to be members of The Commonwealth from the comics – a massive network of communities with around 50,000 survivors and technology well beyond that of other scattered settlements.
Speaking during a virtual Comic-Con panel, Ezekiel actor Khary Payton opened up and offered some hints as to what we can expect from the character in the coming episodes, saying:
There are definitely aspects of his life that he wants to leave behind. He’s got failed relationships, he’s got memories of loved ones that have come and gone, he’s built a community and seen it all get kind of toppled. I think he is looking for a fresh start, and he’s also a guy who’s got a clock on him. He’s got that tick tock in his brain that says he’s not long for this world. In a world where nobody ever seems to have much time, he feels like he’s got even less because he’s dealing with this cancer.
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But Payton sounded optimistic for Ezekiel’s fate, explaining:
They say, ‘You never know how far the road stretches in front of you, you’ve just got to start driving, you’ve just got to start going.’ And in his case, he started peddling. We’ll see where he goes. I think that the adversity is what gives him hope.
Could it be that the show may find a way to pull an unexpected twist on us and have a surgeon at The Commonwealth who could extend or save Ezekiel’s life? We may not find out for a while yet, but we’ll at least get to see the season 10 finale of The Walking Dead when it airs on October 4th.