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Spoilers for The Walking Dead are below.
The Walking Dead capped off Season 6 last night with an intense final sequence that left one character bloodied and dying. But we have no idea who it was that Negan killed, and we’re not going to find out for a good long while, so let’s focus on other stuff, like whether or not The Walking Dead is going to honor its source material by bringing a live tiger into Season 7. Surprisingly, it sounds like that may actually be the plan.
Showrunner Scott Gimple, who is a professional side-stepper when it comes to clear and specific details about the show’s future, offered up a non-answer that seems to point in an orange-and-black direction.
Can we have a real tiger? That's a great way to put the questions to me because it sort of corners me into a spoiler. I would say, in a really cheeky way, that we can have a lot of things and people are gonna have to wait and see. If I were just watching the show - I'd want to see that tiger.
It’s all in how you ask the question, I guess, and I’d actually be more suspicious had Gimple been positive and up front about his answer. Had that been the case, it would probably have meant a former Detroit Tiger would be introduced as a survivor.
In bringing out those armor-wearing characters that Morgan talked to, The Walking Dead was likely planting the seeds for the location The Kingdom, which will probably get explored in Season 7. Of course, Gimple is playing coy about The Kingdom, too, since one spoiler leads to another, but there is little doubt in comic fans’ minds that this will be the case.
We’re not talking about just some random tiger, either. Her name is Shiva, and she belongs to Ezekiel, the leader of The Kingdom. The two have been together since before the walker apocalypse, when Ezekiel was a zookeeper, and they’re probably the most distinct character pairing in this universe. You get three points if you guessed Gimple was also mum about Ezekiel’s chances of arrival.
It was around a year ago, before viewers had any real idea of what Season 6 had to offer, that comic creator Robert Kirkman approached the topic of Shiva, saying that he thought a tiger might be possible in live-action, but made no promises. Shiva was introduced well after the TV show began production, so he totally knew what he was doing by getting a giant animal in there. And we absolutely want that beast to make her mark on both walkers and shitty humans next season.
The Walking Dead won’t return to AMC until October. But until then, you’ll be able to watch Season 2 of Fear the Walking Dead when it premieres on Sunday, April 10.. And for everything else premiering in the next few months, check out our summer TV schedule.