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‘The Walking Dead’ Tom Payne’s Character, Jesus, was Shockingly Killed after He Refused to Say a Line

Published on April 13th, 2023 | Updated on April 13th, 2023 | By FanFest

After 11 glorious seasons, ‘The Walking Dead‘ bade farewell to its devoted fans last year. While there was an impressive line-up of actors on the show, one particular actor had a fall-out with the scriptwriters and his character met their expiration date in the subsequent season.

Tom Payne, renowned for his portrayal of Jesus, noted that he encountered one line in the script which was at odds with both his character and Jesus’ demeanor throughout the season. Consequently, he opted to omit it completely from his performance.


The scene that cost Payne his job

At the end of Season 8, our characters had determined to preserve Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) life – although Jesus agreed with Maggie (Lauren Cohan)’s authority over Hilltop, he didn’t feel as strongly about her and Daryl’s (Norman Reedus) vengeance.

Yet, at some point in time, they unite to murder Negan despite defying their close friends Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira).

“We need our strength, the ability to defend ourselves better. We have to have that,” Maggie tells Jesus in her darkened office at Hilltop, to which he says, “We will.”

When Maggie says they’re going to bide their time and show Rick he was wrong, Daryl steps out of the shadows to side with Maggie’s move against Rick. “Yeah,” says Daryl. “We will.”

During a recent panel appearance, Payne said he pushed back against saying the line agreeing with the vengeful Maggie’s plot to murder Negan.

“I had spent the whole season being kind of anti-killing Negan and anti-fighting people,” Payne explained.  So instead of saying the line in his script, Payne just said nothing at all.  And, Payne completely refused to say the line that would have endorsed Negan’s death, going against the show’s writer’s instructions.

Jesus’ death would come only a few episodes later after Payne wouldn’t follow through with the line he was supposed to say on the show.  Coincidence?

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