“The Walking Dead” killed off yet another character on its midseason finale on Sunday with Jesus (Tom Payne) dying after a zombie battle.
Jesus is gay in “The Walking Dead” comics but his sexuality was rarely mentioned on the show. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Payne admitted his character’s sexuality was so unacknowledged on the show, some fans didn’t know Jesus was gay.
“[Jesus’ sexuality] was just one scene with Lauren in season seven. The right people picked up on it; they did recognize it. But you can find people who still don’t realize Jesus was gay,” Payne, who identifies as straight, says.“I think they could have been a bit more up front about that. While you’ve lost Jesus, you still have Aaron and Tara (Alanna Masterson), and now Magna (Nadia Hilker) and Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), so there’s still representation on the show. But it’s a shame. He was such a badass character.”
Payne says he thought Jesus’ character as a whole was underused in the series.
“I know a lot of people are going to be bummed about it,” Payne says. “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.
He says he had been waiting a long time for Jesus to participate more on the show but it never happened.
“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,” Payne says. “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.”