The Walking Dead is one of the longest running television programs of the modern era. Moreover, the production dominated the ratings for years as one of the most-watched shows. While it may not be the powerhouse it once was, it still has legions of fans that are eager for more zombie action.
One of the main reasons the AMC series has been so successful is its willingness to kill off members of its eclectic cast of characters. There’s often a feeling within the show that every character is at risk, and that really helped raise the stakes and led to some very interesting storylines.
However, not every character death has gone down well and been accepted by audiences. In particular, Tom Payne’s Jesus, a character who survived the complete run of the comic, is one of the more divisive deaths among fans. Many felt he met his demise too early and was never truly given the chance to live up to his origins.
During a recent appearance on the Talk Dead to Me podcast, Payne agreed that his time on The Walking Dead was somewhat lacklustre, stating that:
That’s the longest I’d ever been on a show, and … I felt like I’d done everything that I was gonna do, really. And in the background, I had been working really hard on the martial arts, and the fitness, and all that stuff. And what kept me going with that, and with the show, was ‘This is cool, because I’ve got all this cool stuff coming up, hopefully, if it follows the comic books.’ When none of that happens, then you just get a bit despondent and you’re like, ‘Well, I don’t understand where this character fits.’
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His frustration with the role is certainly fair. During his run on the project, Payne’s Jesus often took a backseat to the more established characters, such as Rick and Daryl, whereas in the source material, Jesus was far more central. And while the actor might lament his exit somewhat, it’s clear he doesn’t hold any ill will towards the show or its creators, and is actually quite impressed by the current story developments, saying:
I have to say, I haven’t been watching intently, but I’ve been following what’s been happening in the show with Alpha and everything, and I think that they’ve got that much more concise with what’s happened with that storyline. I think they’re doing a great job with that.
Even though Payne has nothing but praise for the current season and is even a little “sad” that his character isn’t getting to interact more with the Whisperers, he seems content with his departure, reiterating afterwards that “it was time for me to go.”
But what do you think? Should Jesus have been given more screen time on The Walking Dead, or was his character wasted? Sound off in the comments below!