There's no question that The Walking Dead had a lot of schmoozing to do this weekend at Comic-Con after that let down of a cliffhanger from the Season 6 finale. Luckily, the show brought the heat and premiered a well-edited trailer for Season 7 that showed off the violent reign of Negan and some new people and locations. The biggest moment of the trailer came towards the end with the reveal of King Ezekiel and his tiger Shiva. The Walking Dead is known for boasting some impressive makeup effects, but from the sound of it, they ruled out practical effects when it came to adding a tiger to the show, and went some good old-fashioned visual effects.
CinemaBlend as on hand during The Walking Dead's press conference and they were able to learn how the show was able to bring Shiva the tiger to life. Shiva is mostly a display of CGI but there's also a mix of animatronics in there to help on set. This is a big relief to The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, who was glad they didn't get an actual tiger to show up on set.
I was asking Scott, 'How are we doing this thing?' He pointed out that it's not very humane to have a live tiger on set. And it's also very dangerous for the actors. . . . So I was like, 'Great, no real tiger, I can still come to set! That sounds awesome.' Because I would not have gone to set if there had been a tiger anywhere near the set. So there's no real tiger involved. It's all magic.
And impressive magic it is! Even just from that one screenshot, you can tell there's some impressive technology behind that tiger. It's very detailed and surprisingly convincing. The amount of special effects a TV show can boast as been growing over the years, from the constant use of superpowers on The Flash to basically everything on Game of Thrones. This type of technology is a bit new for The Walking Dead, who mostly use practical effects for their zombies with some CGI here and there. This is a whole new type of ball game, though, as it will be not only CGI involved, but also an animatronic tiger for on-set reactions.
This sort of technology isn't free, so we shouldn't expect to see Shiva in every episode. It'll more than likely pop up here and there to maul a couple walkers or humans and then go on its merry way. To reference Game of Thrones again, Ghost and Daenerys' dragons are entirely CGI and they disappear for episodes at a time before showing up for like 5 minutes. We'll probably get a similar treatment with Shiva.
If you missed out on the trailer and would like to see some Tiger action, you can check out the Season 7 trailer next...