Warning: There are spoilers ahead for season nine, episode eight of “The Walking Dead,” “Evolution.”
It’s a bummer for fans who were hoping to see Jesus, who’s still alive in the comic, in a relationship with Aaron. So INSIDER was surprised to learn there was a scene that could have showed Jesus with a boyfriend on the AMC show earlier this season. It just wouldn’t have been Aaron.
“There was a bit in the premiere episode where I spoke about a boyfriend actually at the Hilltop and I had a scene with a boyfriend at the Hilltop,” Payne told INSIDER.
“But as is the way of the show, things get cut and storylines get swapped around and other things take precedence and the whole thing got cut out,” he continued. “I think it’s kind of sad because I’ve done a lot of work now with the LGBT+ community, and I know how much it matters to have representation on TV and I think it’s kind of sad when any of that gets cut out.”
It would have been a nice full-circle moment to see.
Back on season seven, episode 14, Jesus opens up to Maggie telling her he always found it difficult to open up and get close to anyone whether it be friends, neighbours, or boyfriends.
Maggie tells him he “should try it some time, even if it doesn’t last.” I guess Jesus took her advice, but fans would never have known.
Instead, many fans watching Sunday’s episode probably left the show wondering if Jesus and Aaron were supposed to be a couple. It wasn’t clear if that’s what the show was hinting at and it’s something Payne is very aware will most likely affect the fandom.
“I know,” Payne said of the uncertainty between the Aaron and Jesus dynamic. “Honestly, that’s the one part of the story that I feel is slightly unfair on the audience. Because we have the season premiere this year, but that’s like seven years ago at this point. And then, yeah, we had these two episodes now. I mean, they put in what they could. I think that was a nice little nod toward the comics and their potential relationship.”
“I actually did another interview before this where the interviewer asked me if I thought – because everyone always asks me if they’re going to get together – and he said, ‘Well, maybe they did mess around a bit in the six years.’ And, I was like, ‘Oh, I see. Yeah. Maybe they did.’ I wouldn’t say that’s an absolute no,” Payne said of a Jesus/Aaron relationship. “But I don’t think they had ever been a couple or anything. I think they just understand each other at this point. And they said that. They were having that discussion about being explorers and that’s really what Jesus missed being stuck at the Hilltop and everything. But then he gets what he wants. He gets killed.”
While Payne thinks there’s room for fans to think Aaron and Jesus could have gotten together in the six years that passed on the show, showrunner Angela Kang has a more simplistic view on the Aaron and Jesus dynamic.
They’re just two really good friends.
“We really didn’t feel that we had built up that relationship to that point in our show,” Kang told INSIDER when asked whether or not fans are supposed to interpret Aaron and Jesus as a couple. “What really excited us was the idea that Jesus and Aaron had built a real friendship with each other. Not all the relationships on the show are necessarily romantic. Some of our deepest relationships are completely platonic ones.”
With everyone coupling up lately it’s tough to spot a relationship that’s strictly platonic between members of the opposite sex, but a prime example that comes to mind is Siddiq and Michonne.
“Would that have developed into something more?” Kang added about whether or not Aaron and Jesus would have ever have become a couple on the show. “Maybe or maybe not. But they’re two people who certainly shared a philosophy about the world and that really got a lot of strength and enjoyed spending time with each other despite the fact that Alexandria had kind of a hard line rule about the way that they should interact with other people or not.”
“It’s certainly something that starts to affect Aaron’s outlook on life after this event happens,” she added, looking forward at what’s to come on the show with Jesus’ departure. “We really felt that it was interesting to show a great, great friendship between these two because we hadn’t really seen them interact too much in the show up to this point.”
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