Although The Walking Dead is based on a comic book series of the same name, the TV show doesn’t always stick to the comic book’s canon. The TV show has included new characters that were never in the comics; they have extended character’s lives well beyond their original deaths; and they have even swapped character deaths or storylines.
However, the TV show does include most of the basic steps of the comic book, although not always in the right order or in the exact same way. That is why many fans are wondering just how true to the comics the show will stay once it enters into the ‘Kingdom’ and ‘Saviors’ subplot. In the comic book, “The Kingdom” and “The Saviors” are two rival groups. The Saviors are led by a cruel man named Negan, while the Kingdom is led by an eccentric man named Ezekiel.
You might be thinking that fans are wondering whether or not the show will decide to tackle the concept of two large groups engaging in what is essentially a dramatic turf war—but that is not why comic book fans are wondering if the show will really “go there.”
The reason that fans wonder how true to the comics the show will stick for this storyline is because of one very specific character: Shiva. Shiva is the special companion of Ezekiel—and she just so happens to be a tiger. Before the outbreak of the virus, Ezekiel was a zookeeper who began an unlikely friendship with Shiva after she swiped at his stomach, causing him to bleed; although Ezekiel was supposed to report any aggressive behavior to his superiors, since aggressive zoo animals had to be put down, he did not report her and Shiva’s life was spared. After the outbreak, he rescued Shiva from the zoo and she has been his companion ever since. Shiva remains docile unless Ezekiel orders her to be aggressive, and she frequently protects Ezekiel from walkers and humans.
The introduction of a man with a docile pet tiger who repays his good deed is something that even a popular show like The Walking Dead may not be able to get away with. Aside from the fact that the show runners are probably not keen on the idea of having to get a tiger for any scenes, the inclusion of such an outlandish detail would be too over the top—even for a show with zombies.
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