On Sunday's midseason finale episode of The Walking Dead, Jesus met his maker after taking down a whole bunch of walkers and being backstabbed by a Whisperer, the latest enemy facing the survivors. In the comics, Jesus encounters the Whisperers multiple times and lives to tell the tale, even defeating the deadliest member of the community in a two-on-one do-or-die brawl.
But the actor behind Jesus, Tom Payne, is happy to be done with the show, after years of frustration with his character, which shied away from the comics' fearless fighter nature of Jesus.
"I know people will be disappointed and shocked," he tells THR with a smile in his voice, "but I'm happy."
Payne was well-versed in the comics so he was let down with the direction his character took.
They were aware I wouldn't be unhappy if they got rid of me. I expressed unhappiness last season. I was very frustrated with what the character had been doing. He arrived in a very cool way, and then he floundered at the Hilltop. During the war with the Saviors, the only person he had a fight with was a man who was on his side [in Lennie James' Morgan]. In the comics, he has this massive fight with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). He catches a grenade, and throws it back [at his enemies]. He's the most capable member of the entire group! And he wasn't used at all [on the show]. In the background, I was training every single week. I was ready and raring to go. You can't help but feel a little bit despondent when you're not released to do some cool stuff. It was mutual and they knew I would be OK with it. It's an amazing show and I was so honored to be a part of it, but at the same time, being the same character without anything fun to do is a bit frustrating.
Payne is only the latest actor to exit the show this season, with Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan both taking their leaves after being with the show since the first season and second season, respectively.