[SPOILERS for those not caught up on The Walking Dead ahead.]
The actor who plays King Ezekiel on The Walking Dead says Jerry should lead The Kingdom next, if Ezekiel ultimately dies on the show. On the midseason finale of The Walking Dead, the Kingdom was dealt another crushing blow when their base was taken by the Saviors and King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) was captured. With the king's life in jeopardy, it may not be long before a successor is chosen. According to Khary Payton, Jerry (Cooper Andrews) should become the next king if Ezekiel is killed.
During Sunday's episode, the Saviors finally struck back against the Hilltop, Alexandria and the Kingdom. One of Negan's five lieutenants, Gavin (Jayson Warner Smith), led his forces into the Kingdom's base and threatened to kill its citizens if they didn't give up Ezekiel's location. As no one was willing to comply, Gavin was about to turn violent when Ezekiel drove up in a school bus and helped his people escape. Instead of leaving with them, Ezekiel stayed behind to chain the gates shut. Ezekiel was knocked unconscious, leaving his fate up in the air.
Following the episode, Khary Payton appeared as a guest on the after-show, The Talking Dead. A fan asked Payton who he would choose to replace Ezekiel as leader in the event of Ezekiel's death. After noting that there weren't many character to choose from, Payton decided that Jerry would be the best fit. Another possible candidate is Carol (Melissa McBride), but Payton says he feels that Carol is "more Doc Holliday and less Wyatt Earp". As Payton put it:
I feel like whenever Jerry has been asked to step up, at first you just think he's the big happy dude, and then when he needs to change tack, he does it and he does it well.
Jerry was introduced to viewers as Ezekiel's bodyguard in the second episode of season 7. For fans, Jerry was a rare source of comedy relief capable of brightening the mood in a brutal, dark world. Despite the Kingdom's many hardships over the past two seasons, Jerry has remained at Ezekiel's side. One of Jerry's most memorable moments series came in the season 8 episode, "Some Guy", when Jerry rescued Ezekiel by slicing a Savior in half with an axe. Jerry also reminded the king of his importance to his people, and was willing to die to keep him safe.
Fans will have to wait and see if an opportunity for Jerry to take over as king ever arises. With Ezekiel a prisoner of the Saviors, that chance might come sooner than viewers expect.
The Walking Dead returns February 25 at 9pm on AMC.
Source: The Talking Dead
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