With The Walking Dead Season 6, Jesus took the wheel… and started driving off with that stolen vehicle. While the TV version of Rick and Daryl Dixon are probably not quite sure what to make of Tom Payne’s character, Paul Rovia, fans of the graphic novels should be expecting Paul to become a regular for The Walking Dead Season 7. At the same time, there does seem to be a couple notable changes from the TV version of The Walking Dead.
[Warning: This article contains multiple spoilers.]
Showrunner Scott Gimple did warn audiences ahead of time that changes should be expected. The first big change is in how Jesus was introduced to Rick’s group from Alexandria.
“I want people to experience the story,” Gimple told Entertainment Weekly. “But I think to viewers of the show, it’s very much in the spirit of how he was introduced in the comic. But, you know, little remixes here and there that hopefully will provide a little bit of surprise for comics readers. But it’ll be very familiar to them as well.”
The biggest obvious change is the name. Jesus’ real name in the graphic novels was Paul Monroe, not Paul Rovia. In the past, some pivotal comics characters even had their sex or race changed, so this is not as big a deal, but it does seem odd for them to mess with the last name. The one aspect to Paul’s name they did not mess with his nickname of Jesus Christ, a name given to Paul by the Hilltop Colony survivors due to his physical appearance.
The introduction was also notably different. In the graphic novels, when Jesus first ran into the main characters, he unexpectedly ran into Michonne and Abraham Ford and was forced to fight. The comics version of Paul Monroe is known for being a great tactician in addition to his hand-to-hand combat skills. As such, the comics Jesus wins (Hallelujah!) their fight easily.
In the TV version of Jesus’ introduction to The Walking Dead Season 6, there are some martial arts capabilities displayed, but both Rick and Daryl managed to overpower Jesus. This was a tad bit unexpected for TWD comics fans, but Gimple did specifically say to expect “little remixes here and there.” Still, it is believed by some fans that the portrayal simply showed how Jesus was messing them and not revealing his true strength.
This interpretation of the TV character is probably correct based upon the description by British actor Tom Payne.
“What I like about him is his control. He is physically and mentally capable, but is careful not to reveal his strengths too quickly,” Payne explained. “He has the measure of people pretty quickly upon meeting them and is always thinking about the best way to handle any situation he finds himself in. I’m very much looking foward to exploring the character further with the audience. It’s an exciting road ahead.”
In the original story, Jesus instructed Michonne to arrange a meeting with Rick, but in this particular case Jesus ran into them while they were having their naked “Richonne” moment (WWED: what would Ezekiel do?). This introduction was quite a bit different, although it should be expected that Paul Rovia will end up taking Rick and company to the Hilltop Colony in the upcoming The Walking Dead episodes.
— James Crawford (@JMCrawfordNJ) February 22, 2016
To answer the question posed by the headline, Paul Rovia is a good guy despite coming off as a troublemaker from the get-go. Jesus eventually becomes one of Rick’s trusted allies. Over the long term, Jesus plays a role in the upcoming war with Negan and The Saviors, although those events probably will not occur until The Walking Dead Season 7.
It is possible that Robert Kirkman could surprise everyone by feeding Jesus to the walkers as a sacrificial lamb, but based upon how Kirkman has described Paul “Monroe” Rovia in the past this seems unlikely.
“Jesus is just such a fun character to write in the comics. At this point in the life of the the series, my thought is the apocalypse has been going on for so long, the people you encounter in your day-to-day life have to be extermely skilled. And they’ve been surviving for a reason, whether they were at a place like Alexandria that’s very safe, or they’re a great leader of their group and somewhat sadistic but in control of their group like Negan, or someone who’s an absolute, complete badass like Jesus. – He’s smart, quick, very athletic. He’s kinda been surviving on his feet. He’s going to be bringing a lot to the show. There’s some cool stuff coming with him.”
What do you think about the TV version of Jesus in The Walking Dead Season 6?
— IamMikeElNino (@mikaelsmby) February 22, 2016
[Image via Image Comics/The Walking Dead Comics]