In an effort to keep the spoiler-phobes appeased, we’ll keep the particulars of the latest casting addition to
for a little further on down the post. The least we can say is that AMC has added Tom Payne to the upcoming season in a recurring role with a contractual option to return for Season 7 … which doesn’t necessarily mean his character will make it that far. OK, this is your chance to turn away. No Spoiler-Sanctuary. Spoiler-Wolves Not Far.
As THR reports, AMC has picked Payne to play Paul Monroe, aka Jesus. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) & Co. come across Jesus in the comics not too long after the events that took place in Alexandria at the end of the show’s season five finale. If they plan on sticking close to the comic book arcs, it would make sense that we see Jesus sooner than later. (And for those of you wondering how to pronounce his name, yeah it’s Jesus like the Messiah, not like the
line, “Hey, Zeus!”) His character, who makes his home in a fortified neighborhood called Hilltop Colony, is described as follows: “a rare logical man and skilled adviser with a strong sense of morals and values who is well-adapted to the new world.” Without giving away just what side of things Jesus is on, I’ll tell you that he’s essential to the bigger plot points going forward, especially those that lead to the comics’ biggest bad yet. More spoilers follow.
Of course, I’m talking about Negan, the brutal leader of the Saviors. Showrunner Scott M. Gimple had the following to say about that storyline to THR:
“There’s a particular story in that arc that I’m very excited for. But because we know where we’re going, we have some opportunities to play around with it and put some things in that will lead up to [Negan and Alexandria] in different ways yet fulfill the story Robert [Kirkman] told to the Nth degree by utilizing some slightly different approaches. Lineups and timelines and the whole 9 yards.”
In other words, we’ve got our Jesus, and now it’ll only be a matter of time before Negan – and whoever is picked to play him – will be announced in earnest. Also in a chat with THR earlier this year, Lincoln talked about the arrival of the villain and set the stage for the show’s sixth season:
“There are astonishingly brilliant and thrilling characters that I am convinced we would be idiots not to meet in our journey; I would be very surprised if we don’t see Negan on the horizon in the not-too-distant future. What struck me, that I’ve always been excited about, is we’re coming into the sixth season of this show … and it’s the medieval part of
comic, where you realize that there are these isolated communities that don’t really know other ones exist. But they’re all building and forming themselves with their own image. And then there’s a clash of those communities. That, to me, is really interesting and when it gets really exciting with all the action. It turns into this insane, near-apocalyptic landscape that we’ve never seen before. That is almost a reimagining and a restart for society and humanity. And
That’s far more than Rick Grimes ever gets to say during an episode, but Lincoln sums up the State of the Disbanded Union rather well here. The Medieval description of their community is spot on, and Negan is a villain fitting for that era, one that’s often portrayed as bloody and ruthless with only the most rudimentary of rules in place. We’ll see how this all plays out when
returns Sunday, October 11th in a 90-minute premiere on AMC.
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