Former Walking Dead star Tom Payne is officially moving on: the actor revealed on Thursday he’s cut his hair.
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“New beginnings,” Payne captioned an Instagram post showing freshly cut long locks.
“Jesus is truly dead, RIP,” reads one comment mourning the loss of the fan-favorite martial artist and former right-hand man to Hilltop leader Maggie (Lauren Cohan).
Jesus was killed off in November’s mid-season finale, ‘Evolution,’ as the first victim of new enemy group the Whisperers. The character briefly resurfaced weeks ago in ‘Bounty,’ during a flashback set sometime during the unseen six years that followed the disappearance of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln).
The fresh look is likely tied to Payne’s new lead role on Fox’s upcoming Prodigal Son, where he replaced former Iron Fist star Finn Jones just days ago. Payne will play Malcolm Bright, a criminal psychologist born to a criminal father and a narcissistic mother (Scandal’s Bellamy Young).
In October, Payne said at New York Comic Con his long-haired Jesus look would only “come off with a fight” when declaring his hopes to return to movies.
“Honestly, like, I’m [on] Walking Dead right now and I kind of have to with the long hair and the beard, but I’d love to get back into film,” Payne said.
“I love the completed arc. Like episodic television is great and especially Walking Dead is amazing, but it’s nice to be on a project where you know your beginning, middle, and end, so I’m looking forward to maybe doing some more stuff like that.”
In January, Payne seemingly expressed interest in Warner Bros.’ James Gunn-led Suicide Squad revamp on Twitter. His tweet sparked speculation he may be the next Walking Dead star to join a superhero universe, following the additions of Danai Gurira, Ross Marquand, and Jon Bernthal to Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Payne previously told ComicBook.com he would only change up the Jesus look if something “really cool” came along.
“I’m gonna keep the hair for the time being because that’s actually two-and-a-half years of growth and there aren’t that many male actors with long hair, so that might give me an advantage in some way,” Payne said in November.
“But I can change the beard because that’s only a few months. But I do think that the hair might help me with other jobs. Having said that, I’ll shave everything off if some really cool thing comes along, you know.”
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.
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