‘The Walking Dead’ creator says adding a tiger to the show was a ‘Herculean task’

The seventh series of the programme begins later this month

The creator of The Walking Dead has spoken about the process of adding a tiger to the show.

New character Ezekiel (played by Khary Payton) is a former zookeeper, leader of the Kingdom and owner of a pet tiger called Shiva. Both star in the seventh series, which is due to premiere on October 24 on FOX in the UK.

Robert Kirkman, who wrote the comic book series on which the programme is based, said he put a tiger into the story partly to see if and how it could be adapted into the show.

He told Entertainment Weekly recently that a real tiger was not used in filming, but instead was a mix of CGI and animatronics.

“I mean, you have to get it right,” he said. “You can’t have a fake tiger, because you know that’s not going to work. This is a very real world and if Shiva doesn’t walk on screen, and look like this amazing real tiger that’s existing amongst these characters, it’s going to be more farfetched than it is in and of itself.”

He continued: “You really have to have this deadly, terrifying creature coexisting with these people, and it has been a Herculean task to make sure that we get it right. But between the mastery of Greg Nicotero, and all the practical effects that he’s able to accomplish, and our crack visual effects team, I’m very happy with how it’s turning out.

“You can see in the trailer, it absolutely looks amazing. You wouldn’t, you know, think we had a real tiger on set, but thankfully we don’t or else I would never go to set again.”