[This article contains SPOILERS for The Walking Dead television show and comic book.]
Production is getting underway in Atlanta, Georgia for The Walking Dead season 7, where the series will film over the coming months. When it returns to television this fall, with it will come the identity of Negan's victim - a piece of information the season 6 finale withheld, sending fans into a tizzy that continues today. But there's so much more than that reveal coming next season, because as Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman recently teased: Negan will "change everything moving forward."
Besides being a dangerous and unpredictable new enemy, the arrival of Negan - especially at this point in the story - dramatically shifts the landscape of The Walking Dead. For Rick, Alexandria is their best chance at reestablishing some semblance of civilization and that's something worth fighting for. But Negan and The Saviors are a serious threat, and Rick cannot hope to defeat them alone. To really bring an end to Negan's tyranny, Rick needs an army and for that he needs allies.
Already, The Walking Dead has introduced another established colony with the Hilltop, but season 7 is expected to widen the horizons even more by introducing The Kingdom. There was a tease The Kingdom was coming last season when Morgan and Carol saw a fleeing man dressed in tactical armor - the same armor residents of The Kingdom are shown wearing in the comics. The Walking Dead was also casting for a character that sounded very similar to that of The Kingdom's leader, Ezekiel, and with how closely the TV series has been following the comics lately, it seems all the more likely this is direction season 7 will go.
But introducing The Kingdom and its leader, "King Ezekiel", brings another question to mind - will The Walking Dead also include Ezekiel's pet tiger, Shiva? Obviously, a pet tiger is a detail that's hard to forget and it certainly adds to Ezekiel's eccentric charm, but such an exotic animal would also pose a huge logistics problem. Thankfully, today's visual effects offer a way around needing a live tiger on set and, if these latest rumors (via The Spoiling Dead Fans) are to be believed, The Walking Dead season 7 will use animatronics and CGI to bring Shiva to life.
Previously, Game of Thrones created scenes involving direwolves by combining footage of real wolves with that of their actors, also allowing them to scale up the wolves in size. Ang Lee's film, Life of Pi, also created a tiger entirely through CGI that was indistinguishable from the real tigers used. And the possibility that The Walking Dead will include some sort of animatronic tiger on set that's operated by puppeteers is also good news since it'll give the actors something more than tennis ball to react to. Whatever route The Walking Dead chooses to take remains to be seen, but it's good to hear they haven't abandoned Shiva altogether.
The Walking Dead season 7 is expected to premiere October 9th, 2016 on AMC.
Source: The Spoiling Dead Fans