The Walking Dead has some immediate mysteries to answer by the time Season 7 premieres in the fall, but that won’t stop the AMC horror smash from opening up a whole new world beyond. Following a quick tease and an apparent leak, The Walking Dead has now officially begun casting the role of Ezekiel, a fan-favorite and major new ally for #TeamRick.

You’re warned of some minor comic spoilers from here on out, but where previously Season 6 finale introduced a band of armored strangers undoubtedly belonging to the comic’s “Kingdom” community, TVLine now confirms that Season 7 will be casting their leader, the dreadlocked former zookeeper Ezekiel. Casting calls for the role of “Augustus” list the mid-40s African-American character as “flamboyant and wise, nice and weird.”

No mention of a pet freakin’ tiger as of yet, but one imagines Season 7 would borrow a bit from Game of Thrones’ playbook, to keep its imposing animal characters in limited, less budget-consuming appearance.

The franchise’s comic branch accidentally confirmed the arrival of Ezekiel and Shiva with a social media post for National Pet Day, before quickly deleting it. Reports also indicated that the Season 7 trailer could perhaps feature Shiva as a crowd-pleasing reveal, given the difficulty of cutting around eliminations from the pool of Negan’s untimely victim.

We’ll likely learn more of Ezekiel’s casting in the coming weeks as Season 7 production gears up (good luck keeping that death under wraps, everyone!), but what should we make of The Walking Dead’s latest addition?

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