Actor Tom Payne says an early script for the season premiere of The Walking Dead season 9 gave Jesus a boyfriend. A fan favorite character from the Walking Dead comic books, Jesus was finally introduced in season 6 with Payne in the role. With his cool look and martial arts fighting style, Payne’s Jesus quickly became a favorite of fans of the TV show as well.
Unfortunately, The Walking Dead’s writing staff never did find a groove when it came to Jesus, who had little interesting to do after his memorable introduction scene. The character would finally make his exit in season 9, being killed in an early encounter with eventual main villains The Whisperers. Afterward, Payne would remark on his own frustration with the way the show handled Jesus, and indeed his complaints were shared by fans who wished Jesus had received a more satisfying arc.
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Speaking to Skybound recently, Payne reflected on his time playing Jesus on The Walking Dead and revealed a little information about where the character was supposed to go before plans changed. According to Payne, an early script for the premiere episode of season 9 gave Jesus a love interest. “There was an iteration of the first episode of Season 9. I had a boyfriend in the first script, at Hilltop,” Payne said. He did not name a specific character who was supposed to be his boyfriend.
Of course, fans always wanted Payne’s Jesus to hook up with Ross Marquand’s Aaron, but for whatever reason the relationship never materialized (in the comics Aaron and Jesus do have a full-on relationship and even team up to kill Beta). However, Payne did once state that he thought an Aaron/Jesus romance on the show would be “lazy,” though he did speculate in his Skybound interview that perhaps Jesus and Aaron had a thing during the six years that went by between seasons 8 and 9. Overall, Payne says he has no misgivings about his time on TWD and says he’s just glad he got to have a great entrance and a great exit (even if nothing of particular note happened for his character between those two episodes).
Indeed, Jesus is high up on the list of Walking Dead characters who ultimately received disappointing arcs during their time on the show. Of course, with so many characters to juggle week after week, the show simply doesn’t have time to give everyone a fulfilling storyline. But even keeping this in mind, it seems a greater effort could’ve been made to provide Jesus some better scenes in between his admittedly great introduction and memorable exit. As Payne’s revelations indicate, writers did at least consider allowing Jesus to have a love interest, but for whatever reason the idea was scrapped. This news just leaves The Walking Dead fans feeling even more frustration about how Jesus was wasted during his four seasons on the show.
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