Pour one out for another The Walking Dead character. In the Sunday, Nov. 25 midseason finale, the AMC drama took another major diversion from the comic book source material and killed off a character who is still kicking major butt in print. Warning, spoilers follow!
The Walking Dead parted ways with Tom Payne‘s Jesus. Yes, the swashbuckling hero met his maker when he fought the Whispers, the new group of villains who wear skins of zombies to travel within walker herds. And it seems Payne is more than OK with that.
“I just wanted to be part of telling a good story that shocks people. That’s what the show has been about for me,” Payne told The Hollywood Reporter.
“When they came to me with the idea, I said, ‘As long as it’s a really cool moment, let’s do it!’ I know a lot of people are going to be bummed about it, but I’ve been bummed for the last two years, that the character hasn’t gotten as much cool stuff [on the show] as he has in the comic books. They gave me a really cool ending, and I’m happy with that,” Payne added.
Payne is well aware of what his comic book counterpart has done over the years. He told THR that he made producers aware he “wouldn’t be unhappy” if they killed off his character.
“I expressed unhappiness last season. I was very frustrated with what the character had been doing. He arrived in a very cool way, and then he floundered at the Hilltop. During the war with the Saviors, the only person he had a fight with was a man who was on his side [in Lennie James‘ Morgan],” Payne said, citing in the comics the many battles Jesus has fought and won, including catching a grenade and tossing it back at his enemies.
“He’s the most capable member of the entire group! And he wasn’t used at all [on the show]. In the background, I was training every single week. I was ready and raring to go. You can’t help but feel a little bit despondent when you’re not released to do some cool stuff. It was mutual and they knew I would be OK with it. It’s an amazing show and I was so honored to be a part of it, but at the same time, being the same character without anything fun to do is a bit frustrating,” he said.
See how his death ranks among the other significant Walking Dead departures below.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays, 9 p.m. on AMC.