The Silly Reason There's A Tiger In The Walking Dead, According To Robert Kirkman

the walking dead shiva

In the wake of October, fans of all things spooky are anticipating a month full of brisk weather, Halloween, and (most importantly) the premiere of The Walking Dead Season 7. Fans of AMC's apocalyptic drama have been eagerly awaiting the new season since April's thrilling cliffhanger finale, and now our long wait is finally close to being over. The majority of the buzz surrounding Season 7's premiere episode revolves around the mystery character death at the hands of Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan, there are also a ton of new characters and settings being introduced this season. The most exciting of which is The Kingdom, led by King Ezekiel. And fans should be especially excited for this introduction because it's bringing a brand new badass aspect of the show: a fucking tiger named Shiva.

Fans of The Walking Dead comic book will know that Ezekiel has a pet tiger at his disposal, but TV purists may have been surprised when the trailer for Season 7 included the big cat. Now The Walking Dead creator and writer Robert Kirkman has revealed (via Entertainment Weekly) the hilarious reason why Shiva was included in TWD:

Well, I'll say I'm really excited about Ezekiel and Shiva getting into the show because that's probably the wildest swing I took in the comics. You know, a guy who has a pet tiger [and] who speaks like some kind of weird medieval king is pretty strange, and I have to be honest, when I was writing the comic, I was like, 'Hell yeah, let's see how we handle this tiger in the show! This is going to be difficult!' So to actually get to this point where we are adapting it into the show and to see the show expand in this way that the comic did in the past is pretty cool.

This is pretty refreshingly honest. It looks like Shiva's inclusion in both the Walking Dead comics and TV series was largely because Robert Kirkman thought it was just plain cool. And cool it is.

Part of what makes The Walking Dead such an exciting and popular TV series is how unexpected it is. While we TV viewers can try to predict the events of the franchise (everyone has their own theory about who died at the hands of Negan), the team behind the series usually keep us on our toes. And no one could have predicted that a live Tiger would somehow be included in zombie apocalypse- even if its all made through visual affects.

I have to say that I love how both Negan and Ezekiel have sidekicks that aren't even human. While Ezekiel has Shiva which will presumably rip the throats off of his enemies, Negan's sidekick is his barbed wired bat named Lucille. Now we just have to see who Lucille claimed at the end of Season 6.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.