Season 7 of The Walking Dead has some pretty immediate questions to answer for fans, but will otherwise introduce brave new worlds and characters to explore after the bat. We know at least one major character (and his iconic pet) to pop up, but how might The Walking Dead realize such a complicated, outlandish figure?

You’re warned of full spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 7 from here on out, but still unknown is the casting of Ezekiel, the dreadlocked former zookeeper who presides over the mysterious “Kingdom” (whose “knights” we met last season). Ezekiel is also well- remembered by his pet freakin’ tiger, Shiva.

On that note it least, the unknown actor playing Ezekiel has reportedly already shot his first scenes for Season 7's third hour, but is there any chance an actual tiger has been spotted on set? According to those intrepid sleuths at The Spoiling Dead, AMC’s adaptation will utilize “a mix of animatronics and CGI,” potentially even a puppet to bring Ezekiel’s fierce protector to life.

The Walking Dead Ezekiel Shiva
Image Comics

That would make sense, given that the Shiva of books didn’t have any major action sequences early on, while The Walking Dead may not have the patience (or budget) for the same process Game of Thrones uses to incorporate actual wolves into filming. Also worth nothing, Ezekiel and Shiva have been said to be major reveals in the first Season 7 trailer, which itself has an admirable job ahead of keeping that big death under wraps.

We’ll likely learn more of Ezekiel’s casting in the coming weeks as Season 7 production continues, but what should we expect from The Walking Dead’s latest addition?

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