‘The Walking Dead’ Spoilers: Tom Payne Debuts Fan Favorite Jesus — What’s Behind The Name Change And Uproar Over Gay Character?

Jesus has made his way to the small screen on The Walking Dead and he may be the most similar to his comic book version than any other character to arrive on the AMC series. Tom Payne plays the newest TWD character and already has become a fan favorite. There are just a few details that have people fired up and one small change that probably won’t make a difference. Payne has already discussed the name change and he even touched on whether or not Jesus would still be gay on The Walking Dead.

With the arrival of Jesus in the back half of The Walking Dead season 6, many are ready for the comic book fan favorite to make the leap over to the AMC series. Jesus made his debut last Sunday on “The Next World” when he ran into Rick and Daryl. Although Jesus came in as a threat, it’s becoming more obvious that he’ll line up more with the comic book version of his character and prove to be very helpful to Rick. In the comics, Jesus becomes one of Rick’s most trusted advisors and a right-hand man. Right now it looks like he’s pretty cunning and was even able to mostly outwit Rick and Daryl on their attempted supply run.

Tom Payne plays Jesus on TWD and recently opened up about his character. According to Payne, Jesus will play very close to the comic book role, although some variations in the AMC series make a total copycat impossible. What we do know is that Jesus will be an enemy to Negan and that he is very important in the Hilltop Colony. In the comics, Jesus is recruiting help to take out Negan and we expect he’ll do the same with Rick, Daryl, and the rest of the group on The Walking Dead.

There was a slight change to Tom Payne’s character as opposed to the TWD comics. Jesus’ real name in the comic books was Paul Monroe. In the series, he is Paul Rovio, a slight variation that probably won’t even come up again. It seems that The Walking Dead will continue to call him Jesus and it’s pretty obvious that it has to do with his looks and pretty much nothing else. As far as the name change, that was simply a way to keep Jesus separate from Deanna, whose last name also was Monroe. According to Payne in a recent E! News interview, “I think that’s to not confuse people who watch the show with Deanna and that whole thing.”

Payne also talked about whether or not Jesus would be gay in the AMC series like he is in the comic books. There has been an uproar over gay Jesus and it looks like The Walking Dead may be keeping that storyline. When Tom Payne was asked about whether or not Jesus would be gay, he doesn’t seem to want to spill all the details. “We haven’t gotten to that aspect of the character yet, but I think people will be happy,” he teased. “The show is not afraid to stick to what keeps it real and keeps it going.”

The Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick has also chimed in on the gay Jesus character from The Walking Dead. Last year, Hardwick told his audience, “Coming back in the next half of our season, we are going to be introducing a very prominent gay character from the comics.” It certainly wouldn’t be the first gay character to hit TWD but Jesus possibly might be the most prominent and the most controversial. When Hardwick was asked on social media about the upcoming gay Jesus, he responded, “In my opinion there should be more awesome gay people in fiction because there are plenty of awesome gay people in real life. I want Jesus to be a character where his sexuality is as unimportant as Rick or other heterosexual characters.”

Paul “Jesus” Rovio is one of the most popular new characters to hit the small screen on The Walking Dead. So far, Tom Payne’s addition to the show has been a breath of fresh air and his first episode even served as a feel-good episode with the most humor fans have seen in quite some time. If the AMC series stays this aligned with the comic books for any amount of time, TWD fans can settle in and get used to seeing quite a bit of Jesus on their screen.

[Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images]