The Walking Dead's Tom Payne volunteered to be carried around as a dead body in the Mid-Season Nine premiere's production.
Spoilers for The Walking Dead Episode 9x09 follow. Major spoilers!
In the Mid-Season Nine finale of The Walking Dead, the Whisperers claimed their first victim in the form of Payne's Paul "Jesus" Rovia character. While Jesus was dead before the final episode of 2018 came to an end, Payne was game to return for 2019's first episode to be carried around and tossed on the back of a horse while he posed as a corpse.
"Tom was great. We could have just done a dummy or something," The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang told Insider. "He was like, 'I'll do it if you want me to. If you want me to be the body in the episode I will be there.'"
Being a corpse wasn't the only thing Payne volunteered for. When Season Nine began production, he also volunteered to leave the show. However, he doesn't seem to have any ill will towards the production team. "We could have forced him to but he really just volunteered, which was really lovely of him," Kang said.
The death of Jesus is set to make an impact on The Walking Dead which will be felt in the coming episodes. It's not all bad, though. Michonne's choice to bring his body back to the Hilltop community which Jesus had been leading is one which might help the communities come together again.
"For me, the positive payoff of it all is that moment when they do bring his body in through the gates of the Hilltop and you see Tara just laying her hands on his body and just the grief that they all have," Kang said. "I think seeing Jesus there really helped everybody's performances. It is such a momentous moment for the Hilltop and that just reverberates through the rest of the season. It's something that affects people very deeply. It changes the leadership structure at the Hilltop. It causes characters to change their minds even in the other communities."0comments
Still, fans of The Walking Dead might not have seen the last of Jesus among the living characters as flashback episodes might just bring him back into the fold before Season Nine comes to an end.
The Walking Dead returns for the back half of its ninth season on February 10, 2019 at 9 pm ET. Fear the Walking Dead will return for its fifth season in 2019. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter and watch ComicBook.com's After The Dead each Sunday night following new episodes.