**This post contains spoilers if you are not caught up on the most recent episode of Season 6. There are comic book references, but no major plot points are given.**
Fans of The Walking Dead are always cautious when new characters make their debut and, based on past events, they have reason to be. So often when a new character pops up, they turn out to be villainous maniacs who make the threat of walkers seem like an afterthought. So when Paul "Jesus" Rovia made his first appearance in the episode "The Next World," many fans were skeptical about his intentions. The character has been taken directly from Robert Kirkman's comic series, so let's learn about this mysterious newcomer.
The Comic Book Character
In the comics, he is known as Paul Monroe but since Monroe is the surname of Deanna's family in Alexandria, the writers changed his last name to Rovia to avoid confusion. Viewers will not have to worry about his real name considering everyone calls him Jesus, based on his appearance and attitude. Jesus resides in the Hilltop Colony where he assists as a recruiter on the lookout for new survivors. He is caught by members of Rick's group when he was found spying on Alexandria, leading to an interrogation. But after proving to Rick that he and his people are not the threat, they quickly become allies. The main concern at this point of the comic becomes new villain Negan and his crazed loyal group of followers known as the Saviors.
Personality-wise, Jesus is a serious man who believes in justice. He looks after his people and will do whatever he can to keep them safe. Jesus is very logical, which ultimately allowed him to climb the ranks within the group. His martial arts experience and survival skills make him someone you would want on your side. The character was only introduced in Issue #91 and instantly became a fan favorite with growing development and a larger importance in the comics.
The TV Show Character
Having only recently been introduced in the TV show, much is still unknown about the new character. Fans saw him run into Rick and Daryl while they were out searching for supplies; he was easily recognizable with the long hair and beard. Approaching with caution, they let him go, only to find out he stole their keys to the truck carrying a load of supplies. The encounter led to a hilarious cat-and-mouse chase revealing Jesus's skills as a witty escape artist.
Rick and Daryl eventually catch him and take him back to Alexandria, even though there is a lot of mistrust of new people. There is much to learn about Jesus and his Hilltop Colony, but all signs point to him being an important ally against the imminent threat of Negan. His cleverness and ability to size people up will give him a huge advantage playing off people's strengths and weaknesses. Many are predicting he will become a new fan favorite with the same intensity the rest of the group brings and it certainly seems he will be entertaining to watch.
Who Is Tom Payne?
I believe it is always important to get to know the people who play our favorite characters. Payne, who plays Jesus, is an English actor best known for projects including The Physician, Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day and Luck. One of his first roles on Wuthering Heights was actually with future co-star Andrew Lincoln. It only took a week for Payne to audition and get the gig on one of the biggest shows of our time. He admitted he was nervous for the debut of his character, but he has been receiving positive praise. He shares the same love and respect for the show as the fans do, which seems to be common thread among the actors on the show.