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The Walking Dead's Tom Payne Thinks An Aaron And Jesus Romance Would Have Been 'Lazy'

"The Walking Dead" hit a home run by introducing Aaron (Ross Marquand) and Jesus (Tom Payne). While the show had explored diverse sexuality with Tara (Alanna Masterson) and her growing romance with Denise (Merritt Wever) before the latter's horrible death, representation of people from all walks of life didn't feel like a primary concern for the series.

It would have been easy to say that "The Walking Dead" was about the zombie apocalypse and how people survived it and everything else was background noise, but in reality, it was about the people surviving more than the virus. Yes, the walkers were a threat, and people lived with the knowledge that they were all infected, but the series always focused on the people, not only on how they survived but also on how they made the most of their lives in such a horrible state of the world. That's what made it stand out from most other zombie media.

The introduction of Aaron and Jesus showed that "The Walking Dead" continued to be willing to address all walks of life. And since Aaron and Jesus are a canonical couple in the comics, many fans eagerly waited to see if they would get together on the series. Unfortunately, Payne dismissed the idea. Not only did he tell Metro that it would seem out of place due to Aaron's boyfriend having just died in Season 8, but he also said he thinks such a development would be lazy.

Tom Payne preferred to focus on their friendship

During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published the night of the Season 9 midseason finale, in which his character dies, Tom Payne was asked if he'd reconsidered his stance on Jesus and Aaron developing a romantic relationship. "I liked that they had a friendship, but I felt like a further relationship wasn't necessarily required," Payne replied. "I thought it would have been a bit lazy: 'Here are two gay characters. They should get together!'"

While Payne made a decent point about the sole two gay characters automatically starting a romantic relationship being lazy if not done well, the argument could be made that Jesus and Aaron did have chemistry. "But someone else asked me about the six-year time jump [that followed Lincoln's departure], and I was like, 'Maybe they did hook up once or twice in those six years!' Maybe that contributed to their [friendship], but as you do, you just become friends afterward. I could see that happening," Payne continued. "But a long-term [relationship]? I'm not sure about that. They have a lot in common, and they did connect in a few different ways. It was nice to have them chatting; their sensibilities were similar. They were quite natural friends."

In arguing that the pair remain friends, Payne did sort of make an argument for why they could have ended up together as well. While he did make a fair point that the two openly gay characters immediately ending up together feels half-hearted, there's also something to be said for two people finding love in a horrible situation.