‘The Walking Dead’ Star Tom Payne Surprises Fans at NYCC with Secret Season 9 Premiere Viewing Party

The Walking Dead star and Kraken Rum spokesman Tom Payne surprised fans for a post-New York Comic Con party Sunday at rooftop restaurant VERSA, bringing with him the anticipated Season Nine premiere.

“It was great to spend some time with fans and the Kraken watching the Season Nine premiere of The Walking Dead under the shadow of the Empire State Building. It’s a wild ride being on the show and now with the Kraken campaign I get a chance to connect with more fans,” Payne said during the Kraken Rum Heroes and Villains Happy Hour.

“There’s a lot to come this season — I can’t reveal too much. The million dollar NDA I signed might be the only thing scarier than my battle with the Kraken.”

Tom Payne Kraken

Payne debuted his Kraken sponsorship in an appropriately pirate-themed ad in August, which saw the sea-soaked star do battle with the tentacled creature.

In Season Nine, the pacifistic martial artist and right-hand man to Hilltop leader Maggie (Lauren Cohan) continues to dutifully serve the community as it has become the most well-off faction in the survivors’ newly established network, linking Hilltop with Alexandria, the Kingdom, Oceanside, and the Sanctuary.

An 18-months-later time jump and a new stewardship under longtime writer-producer Angela Kang has refreshed The Walking Dead, now exploring the politics and drama of post-war life following the defeat and jailing of overthrown dictator Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).

“I think anyone taking over will always bring some kind of a new hand to the show and a different vibe. The time jump that we have on the show, and just the end of the war, lends itself to a completely different dynamic anyway,” Payne told ComicBook.com during the Season Nine premiere in Los Angeles.

Jesus, who performed a high-flying ninja kick when dispatching a walker in the Season Nine premiere, will break out more kung fu this season as Payne teased his favorite ass-kicking action scene is on the way.

“I actually shot a fight sequence this year which is my favorite that I’ve done on the show, and one of my favorite episodes and fight sequences, but I can’t tell you which one,” Payne said with a playful sigh and eyeroll.


“But I’m very excited for everyone to see it because it’s definitely like, ‘Hell yeah, that’s Jesus kicking some ass, and that’s what we wanted to see!’ And that’s coming up, so I’m excited about that.”

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.