[This article contains SPOILERS for The Walking Dead television show and comic book.]
To say that The Walking Dead's season 6 finale was met with almost unanimous fan outrage would be putting it mildly. After weeks upon weeks of building towards the arrival of Negan and the brutal murder he was expected to commit, the episode ended on a cliffhanger which didn't reveal the identity of Negan's victim, sending viewers into an absolute tizzy.
The botched cliffhanger has certainly earned the ire of fans, even driving some to demand the series reveal who died before the show returns in the fall. Showrunner Scott M. Gimple, however, is insistent that when The Walking Dead season 7 premieres it'll be with an episode that "justifies" their decision to leave audiences hanging. Of course, at this point we just have to take him at his word, but it wouldn't be surprising if The Walking Dead didn't try appeasing fans any way it can over the coming months.
One way to do that is to keep up the conversation about what comes next. Now that Negan is on the scene, Rick will need to unite the residents of Alexandria and the Hilltop against him. It's no easy task, to be sure, but it's a vital one if they don't want to submit to Negan's oppressive rule. In the comics, Alexandria and Hilltop eventually form a coalition with a third community - The Kingdom - and it seems the television series plans to follow suit.
According to TV Line, AMC is looking to cast an African-American actor in his 40s for the recurring role of "Augustus". Described as "flamboyant and wise, nice and weird," the character appears to be a dead-ringer for Ezekiel, who in the comics is the leader of The Kingdom and has a pet tiger named Shiva.
Since arriving in Alexandria, The Walking Dead has been adhering more closely to the comics' narrative than usual, what with the introduction of the Hilltop, the Saviors, and now Negan. And if they're to continue with that trend, then introducing The Kingdom and its King only makes sense. But if this casting call is truly for The Kingdom's leader, why the name change? Just about every other character from the comics that's been introduced on the TV show has retained their original name. So, maybe Augustus isn't Ezekiel after all?
That's certainly a possibility, but the character as described sounds too similar to King Ezekiel to be anyone else. If we hear AMC put out a casting call for tiger then we'll know for sure.
The Walking Dead season 7 premieres in the fall of 2016.
Source: TV Line