Paul “Jesus” Rovia was one of a small handful of gay characters on The Walking Dead, but there’s been a lot of disappointment from fans that he was never shown to be in a relationship prior to his tragic death at the hands of a Whisperer in the season 9 midseason finale. Star Tom Payne has now revealed, however, that Jesus could’ve been given a boyfriend in that year’s premiere episode, if only one particular deleted scene wasn’t cut.
Payne unveiled this news while speaking on the Talk Dead To Me podcast. As he and co-star Ross Marquand have said before, the British actor mentioned that he would’ve liked to have explored Jesus and Aaron having got together during the six-year time jump. Even though that wasn’t made official, there was a deleted scene from the season 9 premiere that would’ve confirmed Jesus had a partner – though Payne stopped short of saying who it would’ve been.
“Because we had that six-year time jump, I was always like, ‘I think [Aaron and Jesus] had a dalliance in those six years, and they just became friends afterwards.’ Which is nice,” Payne said. “There was an iteration of the first episode of Season 9 [where] I had a boyfriend in the first script, at Hilltop.”
It’s unclear, then, who exactly Jesus’ mystery lover could’ve been, as Payne doesn’t give us anything to go on. Were they someone we’d met before? They likely weren’t a particularly important character, like Aaron, otherwise the idea would’ve cropped up again, but they may have been some supporting character we’re familiar with. Alternatively, maybe the reason Payne doesn’t mention a name is because it would’ve off-handedly referenced that he has a boyfriend, without saying who.
This could’ve been it, as it’s similar to how his sexuality was first made clear in the show. In season 7, Jesus opened up to Maggie about how he found it hard to get close to people – “neighbors, friends, boyfriends…” This news will make fans annoyed yet again that the show treated Jesus the way it did, especially as the comics character had a long-term relationship with Aaron, with the pair even surviving through the end of the series.
The Walking Dead will return to AMC later this year for its delayed season 10 finale.