'The 100' Showrunner Responds to Lexa Controversy: "I Knew It Would Be Emotional"

Alycia Debnam-Carey The 100 - H 2016
The CW

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from episode 307 of The 100, "Thirteen."]

The death of beloved character Commander Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) remains a sensitive subject for many viewers of The CW's The 100 more than two weeks after the death occurred — and that includes showrunner Jason Rothenberg.

In an interview with TV Insider, Rothenberg broke his silence and spoke at length about the decision to kill Lexa, a twist that's yielded a vocal response from fans and members of the LGBT community alike. Even knowing just how popular Lexa was among The 100 fan base, Rothenberg said he was surprised at the reaction to her death at the hands of Titus (Neil Sandilands), her right-hand man.

"Lexa was a meaningful character to our fans, especially LGBTQ fans, and I knew it would be emotional," he said. "What was unexpected was the level of outrage that it's generated from some people, but I do think I have come to understand that."

Indeed, numerous The 100 fans took to social media to air their opinions about Lexa's death, reaching out directly to people associated with the show, including Rothenberg and Javier Grillo-Marxuach, the writer of the episode. Rothenberg observed "real emotional trauma" in the responses, conceding that "as a straight white male, I obviously didn't anticipate how deeply it would affect certain people."

Despite the outcry, Rothenberg stands by the decision to kill Lexa, describing the twist as "the landing point that everything was being geared toward" for the show's current season. However, he does have regrets about the buildup toward the death of the character.

"Because we didn't anticipate this sort of level of pain over this fictional death, we were doing what we always do on Twitter, which was celebrating work that we're proud of," he said, speaking about hyping the episode in advance. "In hindsight, knowing what I know now and sort of realizing the things that I've realized, we should have done less of that. We should have done less buildup knowing where this was going to end up and knowing how this was going to affect people."

"I stand behind the story," he added, "I just don't think I would have gone out of my way to say, 'This is the best episode we've ever done!' Nobody really anticipated that this would happen, so now that we've seen it, the idea for me as the showrunner going forward is to learn lessons from it, you know?"

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Rothenberg's comments come just days before he and fellow crew and cast members of The 100 take the stage at WonderCon, the highest-profile appearance for the show since Lexa was killed off. Just as important, the comments come before new episodes of season three resume, with the promise of further bloodshed.

"More characters that we love are going to die this season, and it's going to happen soon," he warned. "I think that people need to be prepared for that."

The next episode of The 100 airs on March 31.