The end of the middle season on Sunday offered a gruesome ending that was very different from its original material.
[ThisstorycontainspoilersfortheseasonoftheninthepisodeofAMC[ThisstorycontainsspoilersforseasonnineepisodeeightofAMC's[EstahistoriacontienespoilersparalatemporadanueveepisodioochodeAMC[ThisstorycontainsspoilersforseasonnineepisodeeightofAMC’sThe Walking Dead, "Evolution" and the Living Dead comics on which the series is based]
How does the death of Jesus (Tom Payne) in the Living Dead end of season nine differ from his death in the Living Dead Comics by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard? In a word: mostly. In more words: mostly, because Jesus does not die in the zombie comic of Kirkman and Adlard; at least, he is not dead yet.
Talking with The Hollywood Reporter, the showrunner Angela Kang explained the need to surprise the spectators with the arrival of the Whisperers, the new group of villains that stands out for mixing with the walkers wearing suits of human flesh. As a result, the death of Jesus was born, a turn that could not have come before for Payne; in your own conversation with THRThe actor was an open book about his frustrations with the description of Jesus' television series, a favorite zombie killer of comics fans.
Despite the hidden scenes of all this, the death of Jesus in the television series actually comes equipped with a compelling story of origin of the comics. As with the AMC adaptation, the first stories of Kirkman and Adlard involving the Whisperers also involved a group of survivors who were looking for their friend in a nearby barn …
… except in the comics, the group is not formed by Jesus, Aaron (Ross Marquand) and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), the last of which does not even exist in the Living Dead source material Eugene (Josh McDermitt) is not in this story either, actually. In fact, the group of survivors who meet the Whispers for the first time do not appear in the television series.
The most notable of these characters is Dante, an eventual love interest for Maggie (Lauren Cohan), who has not yet appeared in the show. He is the only survivor of the first battle against the Whisperer, defeated and finally retained.
Not long after the battle of Dante, the first great Living Dead the character to face the Whisperer manifests itself in the form of Jesus, forced to confront these soft and soft men and women without help. One of the first things that he heard from the Whispers in the comics is also the last thing that Jesus heard on the TV show: "You are where you do not belong".
From there, Jesus proceeds to mutilate and kill innumerable whisperers, using his natural gifts as a swordsman and as a martial artist in equal measure. It is one of the many examples of Jesus' strengths as a combatant, something that Payne greatly regretted losing in the television series. (In that sense, Payne said THR"Deep down, I trained every week, I was ready and eager to leave, you can not help but feel a little dejected when you're not released to do some interesting things."
The initial battle of Jesus against the Whisperer is an explosive victory, and ends quite unexpectedly: with the arrest of an enemy combatant, a young woman named Lydia. The television series has already chosen Cassady McClincy as Lydia, a person who should play a monumental role in Whisperer's arc to move forward, if she sticks to the comic book script. In the department of pure speculation, it is worth wondering if Lydia's arrival will not come as soon as it will be released in the middle of the season, as Kang annoyed the group by making "a surprising discovery" while escaping from their current situation with the Whisperers; finding a child hidden among the ranges of the Whispers would certainly qualify.
From there, Jesus continues to play an important role in the war against the Whisperer, and on an even more personal note, he continues to seek love. The comics present a romantic relationship between Jesus and Aaron, which was insinuated in the last two episodes of The Walking Dead. For his part, Payne openly admitted his lack of interest in such an arc of history: "I liked that they had a friendship, but I felt that an additional relationship was not necessarily necessary."
With the death of Jesus, one more relationship will never happen on the program, nor is this epic struggle between Jesus, Aaron and a key member of the Whispers:
How the television series plans to handle Jesus' greatest sequence of action in Living Dead It remains to be seen the history of comics, without Jesus around to push it forward. For now, fans will have plenty of time to reflect on the future of the show without Jesus in tow, since season nine will not return until February 2019.
Follow THR.com/WalkingDead to get more coverage.