“The Walking Dead” is continuing to add new faces to its cast for Season 6. The latest casting news is that “Luck” actor Tom Payne is joining Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the rest of the gang, playing a “key comic-book character.”
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news Wednesday that Payne, 32, is joining Season 6 of the AMC series in a recurring role. His character, Paul Monroe, who also goes by the handle Jesus, could potentially move into the seventh season.
But who is Paul Monroe, aka Jesus? When Paul is introduced in Issue 91 of Robert Kirkman’s “Walking Dead” graphic novels, he is a resident of the Hilltop Colony, a community of survivors similar to those in the Alexandria Safe-Zone. His appearance -- long hair and beard -- led to his being called Jesus.
Jesus’ storyline intersects with that of the comic-book villain Negan, whose appearance has been awaited by fans of AMC’s television show. In the comic books, Negan, who has not been announced as one of the characters joining Season 6, leads a group of survivors called The Saviors. The group terrorizes other local communities, requesting that they share food and supplies in return for protection. When they begin to demand items from the Hilltop Colony, Jesus seeks out other groups of survivors in an attempt to cut off Negan and The Saviors. That’s when Jesus finds the Alexandria Safe-Zone, which is about 20 miles away from the Hilltop Colony.
Like other newcomers, Rick doesn’t immediately trust Jesus, so he detains him inside the community. Eventually, Rick decides to take a look at the Hilltop Colony himself, and Jesus proves to be an ally and a friend.
Paul Monroe/Jesus isn’t the only newcomer this season. “Straight Outta Compton” star Corey Hawkins has been cast as the comic-book character Heath. Xander Berkeley of “24” and “Nikita” has also been cast in Season 6. Although details about Berkeley’s character have yet to be revealed, Entertainment Weekly noted he will not appear until the second half of the season. Kenric Green, the husband of Sasha actress Sonequa Martin-Green, is also joining the series. He’s been cast as the comic-book character Scott.
“The Walking Dead” Season 6 premieres on AMC Sunday, Oct. 11, at 8 p.m. EDT.