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The Walking Dead Line Tom Payne Refused To Say Out Loud

AMC's "The Walking Dead" is wrapping up its final season after being on the air for over 10 years. Throughout the show, a lot of tragedy and heartbreak has happened, and plenty of characters have come and gone. With the number of characters that have been introduced and then killed off, you'd expect the cast members to be living in near-constant fear of that one specific phone call letting them know that their character is next. However, this constant cloud of "what-ifs" doesn't stop the actors from giving their best work to the show, and when they feel strongly about something, they make sure to try their hardest to do it ... or in some cases, not do it. 

For example, actor Tom Payne played Paul "Jesus" Rovia on "The Walking Dead" from Season 6 up until his character's death in Season 9. He had a tremendous amount of character growth in that timeframe, and Payne chose to stay consistent with his character's morals. This led to a change in the script during a Season 8 episode of the show, at Payne's request.

Tom Payne wanted Jesus to remain anti-killing Negan

In the Season 8 finale episode of "The Walking Dead," the dark side of Maggie (Lauren Cohan) has come out, and she's ready to take down her adversaries. In this case, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). The scene in question shows an ominous and firm-speaking Maggie telling Jesus that Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) were wrong to spare Negan's life, and she plans to slowly work toward killing him.

Tom Payne told a panel at Fandemic Tour Atlanta that his character was initially meant to agree with Maggie and respond to her calls to kill Negan with "Yes, we will." However, after playing Jesus for quite some time, Payne thought that this statement went against the character's morals. "I had spent the whole season being kind of anti-killing Negan and anti-fighting people," Payne said, explaining why agreeing to kill Negan just didn't feel right.

Ultimately, Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) enters the conversation from the shadows of the room and says the line, and Payne was able to hold his portrayal — of a slightly less corrupt survivor on "The Walking Dead" — to a consistent standard.