The Walking Dead is set to receive its third major gay character when the series’ highly anticipated sixth season premieres next month.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, British actor Tom Payne will step into the role of Paul Monroe, a man nicknamed “Jesus” for his “strong sense of morals and values.” He also just so happens to be gay.
“Things are about to get crazy,” Payne wrote on Twitter before posting a photo of himself alongside his comic book equivalent:
Jesus’ sexuality will no doubt be established when the new season premieres, but it likely won’t ever be a major or shocking plot point, as The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman prefers.
In a Q&A on Reddit last year, Kirkman explained why there’s a need for gay characters like Jesus in fiction, but not necessarily a need for sensationalizing their sex lives.
“In my opinion there should be more awesome gay people in fiction because there are plenty of awesome gay people in real life,” wrote Kirkman. “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’s one of my current favorite characters.”
Kirkman has always supported the idea of adding LGBT characters to The Walking Dead. Two notable LGBT characters who appeared in the series ahead of Jesus include Tara Chambler (Alanna Masterson) and Aaron (Ross Marquand), one half of the now-infamous male duo who made bigots cry by locking lips in show’s first same-sex kiss last year.
Kirkman was rumored to be playing with Daryl’s (Norman Reedus) sexuality sometime last year, and fans threw huge support behind the idea of adding a major LGBT character.
Reedus was even on board, telling Kirkman that he would “rock” a gay storyline if given the chance.
Could it be possible that Jesus will be a part of Daryl’s possible gay storyline? Will they be the two making out before going out and drop kicking zombies?
The Walking Dead returns to AMC Sunday, October 11.