- “The Walking Dead” kicks off its final, 11th season on Sunday, August 22 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.
- While learning “TWD” was ending, Khary Payton initially thought his character was getting killed.
- Payton told Insider it’s usually not a good sign when you’re getting a call from two of your bosses.
“I remember I was getting a call from both Angela Kang and Scott Gimple, and half the time when you’re getting a phone call from just one of your two showrunners, it’s about the demise of your character in some shape or form,” Payton told Insider via phone in August.
“To know that both of them needed to be on the phone to talk to me about something… I was sure that there was a demise of some kind coming,” Payton continued. “I just didn’t realize that it would be of the show itself, which was shocking.”
Last September, after production on the series was delayed due to the pandemic, AMC surprisingly announced season 11 would be the show’s last. The final season, which debuts later this month, will consist of an extended 24 episodes instead of the show’s usual 16-episode count.
Payton has played Ezekiel, a former zookeeper, on AMC’s zombie drama since season seven.
Heading into season 11, Ezekiel is fighting a battle with cancer as he and his friends (Eugene, Princess, and Yumiko) are prisoners of a group of mysterious soldiers of a new community, the Commonwealth.
Payton wasn’t the only one rattled to learn “TWD” would end after 11 seasons.
Melissa McBride, Norman Reedus, and Josh McDermitt also recently told Insider in interviews they were all stunned and shocked to learn the show would end after 11 seasons.
When asked if he felt like one more season was enough time to wrap up his character arc in a satisfying and meaningful way, Payton said, “I absolutely do.”
“I have a lot of confidence in Angela and the writing team,” Payton said. “All of that story that’s been held inside of Ezekiel is coming out in these kind of beautiful moments that myself and the character have been given.”
“I’ve seen her do so much with a relatively short amount of time,” Payton added. “It’s kind of exciting that we’ve diverged from the comics enough or to be able to sit down with Angela and the writers and them to talk to me about how this is unfolding and to know that I truly have secrets now.”
Kang told Insider on Monday the show is currently halfway through filming its extended 24-episode season, adding that she and a few others know how the show will end.
The cast, who has grown close over the years, isn’t ready to think about the end of the show, just yet.
Some of them don’t even want to know how it’ll all end.
“I’m kind of putting off the sadness and the tears and trying to remain kind of a student of the moment and enjoy the story that we’re telling here now,” Payton said.
“TWD” premieres its final extended season on Sunday, August 22 at 9 p.m. on AMC. It will debut a week earlier on the network’s streaming service, AMC+.
We’ll have more from our conversation with Payton. You can follow our “TWD” coverage all season long here.
Courtesy By INSIDER