AMC's The Walking Dead has claimed yet another victim in its midseason finale. This time it was the beanie-wearing, bearded Paul "Jesus" Rovia (Tom Payne). Although the character is gone from current TV show continuity, Payne hinted that Jesus may appear again in a flashback.
Now in its ninth season, Jesus first showed up in the Season 6 episode “The Next World,” bumping into Rick (Andrew Lincoln) while on a supply run. At first morally grey and mildly antagonistic toward Rick and his group, he later joins them in their attack on the villainous Saviors in “Not Tomorrow Yet.” He became a series regular by Season 7. From then on, he remained allied with the main protagonists while adhering to his own agenda and moral code, at times butting heads with Rick over his leadership style and various decisions. He is also one of the show's few gay characters.
Titled “Evolution,” the ninth episode of the season shows Jesus in a graveyard, where he is fatally stabbed by a Whisperer. The mysterious enemy whispers: “You are where you do not belong,” as they kill off the fan-favorite character. Whisperers are a cult of live humans who wear the skin of the dead. A new antagonist for the show, their appearance makes sense, as they are the primary villains from the comics after Negan and the Saviors are dealt with.
Per the TV Guide article, Payne alluded to parts of Jesus's backstory that viewers still don't know anything about. This most recent season of The Walking Dead featured a six-year time lapse after Rick's apparent death. It appears that Jesus will likely show up again in flashbacks during this lapse. CBR has previously reported on showrunner Angela Kang's assurances that the time lapse will be accounted for in future episodes.
"There are those six years we don't know anything about," said Payne. "So there might be some flashbacks to that period... He could pop up at any time."
Although he won't be able to join his allies in fighting the Whisperers in the TV series, six years is a long time. As long as actor Tom Payne is on board, it seems likely that this is far from the last viewers will see of the character. Jesus is still alive in the comics and video game universes. Payne's participation also seems likely, as the actor confirmed he will keep the character's iconic long hair.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET/PT on AMC. Now officially on its winter hiatus, it will return with all-new episodes on Feb. 10, 2019.