The Walking Dead actor Tom Payne has slammed the idea of adapting his character's romance with Aaron from the comics.
Since being introduced back in season 6, Payne has played the long-haired Jesus, aka Paul Rovia, a fan-favorite of the comics and resident of the Hilltop. While he hasn't had quite as much to do as his comic book counterpart, Jesus' role is sure to be integral to the second half of season 8 as the communities band together against the Saviors. However, while the trajectory of the comics points to romance being in the cards for Jesus, Payne isn't so keen to follow suit.
For those who don't know, Jesus eventually hooks up with Aaron (played by Ross Marquand on the show) on the page, and adapting that over would give the hit show another major same-sex relationship. That being said, while speaking to Metro, Payne said he would rather new showrunner Angela Kang play it a little differently:
“I think it would be interesting because first of all his boyfriend just died. so we both find it quite funny when people approach us about that. It’s literally just happened, his boyfriend just died. I also think it might be quite lazy if that happened. It would be fun actually if we did kind of riff on it and had a funny conversation about it, like ‘you know how everyone wants us too…’ and just put it in the show. I think that would be quite funny.”
While The Walking Dead's TV show is known to differ wildly from the Robert Kirkman comics that it's based on, there's no real reason why Jesus and Aaron couldn't also hook up onscreen. However, the 35-year-old continued with his thoughts about bringing them together just for the sake of it:
“Not everyone on the show has a romantic relationship. Why should that be a romantic relationship? There aren’t that many. Michonne and Rick and that’s about it right now. So why should that happen just because?”
Payne may find the idea lazy, but adding a featured, long-lasting gay relationship would still be a bold and arguably overdue step for the show to take. AMC's flagship drama has become known for its LGBT relationships (or lack thereof), which has become a sticking point for some over the previous eight seasons. Aaron previously shared a romance with his partner Eric, but the pair shared minimal screen time together before Eric was killed off near the start of season 8. Also, Tara and Dr. Denise Cloyd had a blossoming romance before the latter took a sudden arrow to the head. The Walking Dead has previously been called out on the "bury your gays" trope, and a Jesus and Aaron romance could help change that.
The subject of Jesus' sexuality has been brought up before, with Payne inferring that his character is gay like in the comics, but The Walking Dead has yet to throw an official coming out party - not that it necessarily needs to. In season 7 he had a frank conversation with Lauren Cohan's Maggie about preferring the company of men, but the whole series has been too caught up in surviving Negan's onslaught to really delve much deeper into Jesus' love life. Either way, while Payne may not be on board for a Jesus/Aaron romance, the "Jaron" shippers will continue to fly their flags and see what the future holds for the potential lovebirds.
The Walking Dead continues with “Dead Or Alive Or” March 11th on AMC.