The Walking Dead is know for pushing boundaries, and over the years we've seen the insanely realistic prosthetics and make up get better and better with each season. However in Season 7 the series had a whole new challenge to deal with, when they decided to include the comic book character, Shiva the tiger.
Shiva was one comic book character that many fans doubted the show would dare to include, but lo and behold when the Season 7 trailer debuted at San Diego Comic Con, Shiva was introduced to us with a hiss and a roar.
In fact, Shiva was so realistic looking that many fans were fooled entirely, believing the series had in fact opted to use a live tiger for the scenes:
Although we knew Shiva wasn't a real tiger, in a new interview Melissa McBride has revealed exactly how the crew managed to bring the tiger to life - and it's not just with CGI! "Shiva was really cool. For an animatronic, it was very impressive," McBride revealed. "They had the puppeteers that work behind her. I guess it's all radio frequency, how they make the movements and stuff. It was really cool watching her and, of course, they're adding some CGI elements or visual effects, too."
No doubt using the mixture of both animatronics and CGI made it much easier for King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) to act against, rather than just using the chrome or grey balls that film makers often use for reference before adding a character in in post-production using CGI.
McBride also spoke about her new co-star, Khary Payton and how he transformed into the eccentric post-apocalypse leader, King Ezekiel. "He's such a fun person. It was really cool to see him transform into Ezekiel,” she said. McBride also added that Payton was "fun to work with."
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Ezekiel and Shiva are due to debut within the first three episodes of Season 7, in an episode directed by executive producer and special effects guru, Greg Nicotero (who always smashes it out of the park when he directs). But if I were you, I wouldn't go expecting the big cat to grace our screens in the premiere episode, that's likely to be taken up with tying up that big cliffhanger-y loose end from Season 6.
You can watch The Walking Dead when it returns to AMC on October 23 at 9pm ET.
Are you excited to meet Ezekiel and Shiva?