Besides ending with a shocking cliffhanger, season 6 of the The Walking Dead was also notable for another major milestone: the introduction of a new character named Jesus (played by British actor Tom Payne). The character is set to play an important role in the seventh season, after being promoted to a series regular, according to The Hollywood Reporter. So what do we know about him? Here are six things to know about The Walking Dead‘s Jesus.
1. He’s earned his nickname
In the comics, Jesus’s real name is Paul Monroe. But there’s certainly a reasoning for his nickname. Besides his physical resemblance to the traditional depiction of Jesus, the character has a strong sense of morals and puts utmost value on fairness and equality. In the comics, he is constantly sticking up for others and putting his own life in danger in order to ensure the safety of others.
2. He introduces Rick to Hilltop Colony
Jesus is a resident of Hilltop Colony, a location that has yet to be seen on the series and is about 20 miles from the Safe Zone. He approaches Rick in order to recruit help shielding his community from the Saviors, the villainous group led by Negan. Though Rick is initially hesitant to trust Jesus, he eventually decides to head to Hilltop Colony to see for himself.
3. He prefers hand-to-hand combat to weaponry
As showcased in his debut episode, Jesus can more than hold his own in a fight. While he occasionally carries a knife, he mostly prefers to use his own body as a means to survive. His physical abilities will continue to be highlighted throughout the season.
4. He’s gay in the original comics
In the comics, the character of Jesus is openly gay and in a relationship with one of the members of his group. This was also recently revealed on the TV series, when Jesus (Tom Payne) mentioned to Maggie (Lauren Cohan) that he has difficulty getting close to anyone — including boyfriends. “I want Jesus to be a character where his sexuality is as unimportant as Rick or other heterosexual characters. So we won’t focus on it constantly and it won’t be the focus of any big storylines for him… but he’ll make it with a dude every now and then… before going out and drop kicking zombies,” he once explained of the character in a Reddit Q&A.
5. He’ll play a crucial role in the war against Negan
Though Rick is initially hesitant about trusting Jesus, the two eventually end up teaming up and leading their biggest war yet against Negan and the Saviors. As Rick’s right-hand man, Jesus plays a major role in the storyline moving forward. In the comics, he also strikes up a close friendship with Maggie, who eventually moves and becomes an unofficial leader of Hilltop Colony.
6. He’s (almost) always in control
“What I like about him is his control. He is physically and mentally capable, but is careful not to reveal his strengths too quickly,” Payne told Entertainment Weekly of the character. “He has the measure of people pretty quickly upon meeting them and is always thinking about the best way to handle any situation he finds himself in. I’m very much looking forward to exploring the character further with the audience. It’s an exciting road ahead.”
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