Tom Payne's Jesus could rise from the dead — as a walker.
"No, but that might still happen," the Walking Dead star answered at San Jose Fan Fest when asked if he wants his freshly killed-off Jesus to reanimate as a walker.
"So you'll see, maybe in the next episode, how happy I am or not. And you'll be like, 'but Tom said he didn't want to do that!' We'll see. No one stabbed me in the head yet."
Jesus' corpse can be spotted in the trailer for the back half of the season, slumped downwards on horseback as he's returned to Hilltop for burial, but his hidden face makes it impossible to determine if he was able to reanimate before Aaron (Ross Marquand), Daryl (Norman Reedus) or Michonne (Danai Gurira) could put him down.
The group was last seen rescuing Eugene (Josh McDermitt) with help from newcomers Magna (Nadia Hilker) and Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) in a fog-ridden graveyard where Jesus was stabbed and killed by a blade-wielding survivor disguised as a walker.
The killer was discovered to belong to new enemy group the Whisperers, who disguise themselves as the dead and who were perilously closing in on the group in a nail-biting mid-season finale cliffhanger.
Payne has since suggested Jesus will reappear in the remaining half of Season Nine when The Walking Dead explores the drama that split Alexandria and Hilltop during a six-year time jump, but Jesus is confirmed to be KIA in the current timeline.
Following his death-isode, Payne admitted to THR he was left in a state of "constant" frustration with the series because there was "lots of unrealized potential" in bringing Jesus from comic book page to screen.
"When we finally showed off this year what he was able to do, that was great. I have no wish to go back to being frustrated by a character," Payne said.
"It's really just part of being on an ongoing series. You're constantly hoping the next episode you get, something will happen for you. You're on the edge of your seat all the time, pressing your hands together and hoping that something cool will turn up. You can only do that for so long. I'm looking forward to doing something now that has a beginning, middle and end, so I can see the character in front of me. I spent a long time hoping my character was going to have more to do."
Though Payne hoped to avoid being reanimated as a zombie on The Walking Dead, he recently opined it would be "kind of funny" to play a zombie in the now in-the-works Zombieland sequel.
"Because it'd just be an interesting kind of crossover thing. Maybe," Payne said. "I'd love to turn up in a little Easter egg in something."
The Walking Dead Season Nine resumes Sunday, February 10 on AMC.