‘The Walking Dead’s Tom Payne Hints at Jesus’ Return

The Walking Dead star Tom Payne has again hinted his Jesus will reappear in the back half of Season Nine despite being killed off in the mid-season finale, saying “there’s a lot of time” left unexplored by that six-year time skip.

“There’s a six-year time jump, in which a lot of stuff happened and there’s those mysterious marks on Michonne and Daryl,” Payne said during Walker Stalker Con New Jersey.

“All of these things which could be explained, and Jesus may have a hand in some of that.”

The actor added Jesus is dead “as far as this spot from the timeline in the show,” while co-star Ross Marquand, who plays Aaron, joked the survivors are “going to dig a real quick hole, put some gravestones over him, and in three days he’s going to come back.”

Payne previously alluded to his involvement in the remaining half of Season Nine, telling Good Day LA in November, “you maybe might see what happened with Jesus in those six years.”

Showrunner Angela Kang has since confirmed the back eight will explore some of the events of that multi-year time jump that followed the apparent “death” of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln).

The Walking Dead will divulge secrets surrounding the mystery of the matching X markings on Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) as well as the event that caused a strife between Michonne’s Alexandria and the Hilltop, formerly overseen by a since-exited Maggie (Lauren Cohan).

“We’ll definitely be telling the story of what happened there, and what’s kind of exciting about a six-year jump is that there is the opportunity to go back and tell some of those stories. So we’ll see some of what has happened,” Kang previously told EW.

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“But it’s a deep, emotional story for Michonne, and for Daryl too. So I’m excited for people to experience that. It’s something that certainly has had an effect on Michonne in a deep and particular way. So that’s something that we wanna tell people what that’s about at some point.”

Jesus is expected to be involved as he was Maggie’s right-hand man, serving as interim Hilltop leader in her absence. In the wake of his death, Tara (Alanna Masterson) will be installed as new leader, having already overseen day-to-day operations while Jesus preferred roaming outside, away from his mundane duties at the farming colony.