Khary Payton is known for his role as King Ezekiel in The Walking Dead series. He was introduced in season 7, “The Well,” and made an impression sitting on his throne with his pet tiger Shiva at his side. This was an introduction fans of the comic story long awaited, and it was worth the wait. Payton has done an extraordinary job in his portrayal of this character, and luckily Ezekiel made it to the end of The Walking Dead and likely beyond.
In the series finale episode of The Walking Dead, “Rest in Peace,” a 1-year time jump showed what’s next for several characters in the series. Ezekiel, who has always been an inspiring leader, took over the role of Governor of the Commonwealth after Pamela Milton (Laila Robins) was overthrown. This role he was born to take on gives this character, who recently had a significant health scare, a happy ending.
In season 10, it was revealed that Ezekiel had thyroid cancer, a condition that had affected other family members, including his father and grandmother, who survived the disease. But they had modern medicine at their disposal as their conditions happened before the outbreak. Ezekiel would lose hope of survival until they entered the Commonwealth, a progressive community with a hospital and doctors who could aid him.
The Walking Dead – Ezekiel
Throughout his storyline, Ezekiel suffers great losses. He lost Shiva, his adopted son Henry (Matt Lintz), he would marry and then divorce Carol (Melissa McBride), and ultimately lost The Kingdom, the community he was the leader of.
Ezekiel did experience a low point after so much loss but finds hope once again and returns to his old self. Once he is treated and cured of his cancer, he opens a secret medical clinic to aid those unable to get the medical attention they need due to the class system implemented in the Commonwealth.
By the end of the series, viewers see him stationed as the Governor of the Commonwealth, a position he can take on to do great things in this community.