Spoilers for Season 9 of The Walking Dead will be found below
In the final minutes of the midseason finale of The Walking Dead, fans of the series were delivered a heartbreaking blow when Jesus became the first victim of a new set of villains on the series, The Whisperers. Jesus’ death was all the more heartbreaking for fans of the comics, who had hoped that Jesus and Aaron would follow a storyline in the comics in which the two would later become a romantic couple. The Whisperers, however, put the kibosh on their potential courtship by killing Jesus. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t see a Jesus and Aaron romantic coupling in the back half of the season.
Why? Here’s what we know: During the six-year time gap, Jesus and Aaron spent quite a bit of time together, sneaking out from their respective camps in order to hang out. In fact, according to Tom Payne — who plays Jesus — it’s probable that the two hooked up during those years. “Yeah, maybe they have like messed around a bit in those six years. Yeah probably,” Payne told Cinemablend.
“You know, you get bored. But I’ve always said that I thought it’d be a bit lazy if they got put together, being the only gay guys on the show now. I think that would just be a bit too rote to do that. But yeah, maybe they messed around a bit.”
In other words, while we won’t be able to see Jesus and Aaron romantically connect in the future — because Jesus is dead — we may still see how their relationship evolved into something romantic during that six-year time gap. That’s because, as showrunner Angela Kang told the Hollywood Reporter, we may still see some of what transpired during that time gap through flashbacks.
The show tends to live pretty radically in the present except for the selected moments of flashbacks. For the most part, it’s a story that continues rocketing forward. But there are opportunities to sometimes go back into it.
Kang also emphasized after the midseason finale that the show would explore some of what happened during that time gap, especially as it pertains to the X-scars on Michonne and Daryl’s backs. From Comicbook.com:
“It’s definitely something that is a big part now of the backstory of Alexandria and the people there,” Kang said. “It’s something that looms large in their minds and has obviously had an effect on them. Because six years is a long time, so stuff had to have happened. So they’ve all been through a lot, some more than others.”
While flashbacks become a factor, fans can expect to see characters who have died in the present timeline make returns.
In other words, some of what transpired during those years may be filled in, and in addition to the backstory on the X-scars, we may ultimately learn more about the time that Aaron and Jesus spent together away from Alexandria and The Hilltop, respectively. In some ways, however, know that the two might have been romantic retroactively makes Jesus’ death all the more heartbreaking.
We’ll find out for sure when The Walking Dead returns in February.