The Walking Dead Star Admits The Show’s Version Of Jesus Was A Letdown

Tom Payne The Walking Dead

Tom Payne served on The Walking Dead for longer than most, starring as Paul “Jesus” Rovia on the post-apocalyptic drama from seasons 6-9, but the actor still thinks his character was a “letdown” to the fans. As he’s admitted before, the British performer elected to leave the series after he’d grown tired of Jesus always drawing the short straw. And in a new interview with Skybound’s Talk Dead To Me podcast, Payne has now elaborated on how he feels his role didn’t live up to the potential.

Payne recalled that he worked hard on his martial arts training, as per Jesus’ skillset, even though he ultimately never got to show it off much on screen. Given how the character is more prominent in the comic books, the star kept hoping that he would get more of a chance to shine, but ultimately decided that he didn’t know what Jesus’ place in the series was.

“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,” Payne said. “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.'”

He went on to say how he knows comic book fans were thrilled to see Jesus on TV, especially at first, but he believes many were let down by how he was handled on screen. As Jesus survived all the way through the end in the comics, Payne found his reduced role in the TV universe “really bizarre.”

“I would go to the conventions, and I had such a massive fan response from the beginning because everyone loved the character from the comic books, and then they loved seeing him on the show,” Payne continued. “So everyone was really excited, and I think a lot of people were a bit kind of let down.”

According to Payne, fans who weren’t familiar with the source material would also have expected more from the character due to what they’d heard from comic readers.

“So then when nothing really happened with that character, those people were like, ‘Why was everyone telling us this character was so cool?'” he said. “So there was a lot of build up, and I think sometimes that’s unhelpful. I think maybe it was unhelpful for me to read the comics, because the show is a bit of a remix. But yeah, there were definitely some cool moments that I didn’t get.”

Jesus first appeared when he attempted to steal supplies from Rick and Daryl, but eventually became a firm ally and leader of the community. He was killed by a Whisperer in the season 9 midseason finale, but Payne last appeared later that season in a flashback.

Tell us, though, were you let down by Jesus on The Walking Dead? Sound off in the comments below.