When British actor Tom Payne was cast as Paul ‘Jesus’ Rovia in US zombie drama The Walking Dead last year, fans were excited to see a much-loved gay character from the original comics brought to life on the small screen.
But since Jesus’s on-screen debut in February this year, the bad-ass zombie fighter’s sexuality has been left rather ambiguous – until now. And for fans who have been shipping Jesus and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), it’s bad news.
Speaking to the Huffington Post, Payne revealed that the TV iteration of Jesus is indeed gay – it just hasn’t been properly addressed yet.
Admitting it “would be amazing,” to see Jesus’s sexuality explored properly on screen, the 33-year-old actor said of the character: “He’s a badass and he happens to be gay.”
He continued: “I think that’s one of the strongest things about Robert [Kirkman] and how he writes the comic books. Why wouldn’t he be [gay]? And I see no reason why that would be different in the show.”
Series creator Robert Kirkman had previously told a Reddit Q&A this Jesus’s sexuality would be explored on the TV series, explaining that it was important to embrace diversity in television programming.
“In my opinion there should be more awesome gay people in fiction because there are plenty of awesome gay people in real life,” he said.
“I want Jesus to be a character where his sexuality is as unimportant as Rick or other heterosexual characters.
“So we won’t focus on it constantly, and it won’t be the focus of any big storylines for him… but he’ll make it with a dude every now and then… before going out and drop kicking zombies. He’s one of my current favourite characters.”
The Walking Dead continues this Sunday at 9/8c on AMC in the US, and in the UK on the following day at 9pm on FOX.