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Lexa’s controversial death on The 100 is sticking.
Executive producer Jason Rothenberg revealed Friday at San Diego Comic-Con that Alycia Debnam-Carey — who portrayed the character and who also is a series regular on AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead — won’t be returning for season four of the CW drama.
“Lexa is not coming back to the show,” Rothenberg said during the series’ panel. “She won’t be in season four. But the Flame is an important thing. It’s a political artifact.”
The 100 was surrounded by controversy last season when the showrunner chose to kill off the popular lesbian character moments after she had just slept with Clarke (Eliza Taylor).
Although Debnam-Carey had to be written out of the show due to her commitments on Fear the Walking Dead, many criticized Rothenberg for killing her off the way he did, perpetuating the “Bury Your Gays” trope, the decades-old trend of LGBT characters getting killed off TV shows, often in the name of propping up and/or advancing a heterosexual leading character’s storyline. The trope has always been a part of pop culture history, but this past TV season saw The 100, along with Jane the Virgin, The Walking Dead, The Magicians, The Vampire Diaries and many other shows, kill off lesbian and bisexual characters, sparking viewers to bring the issue to mainstream media.
It also didn’t help that fans of The 100, especially those who were rooting for “Clexa,” aka the relationship between Clarke and Lexa, felt that leading up to the controversial episode, Rothenberg encouraged and engaged them on social media, leading them to have false hope for more positive LGBTQ representation on TV.
After fan outrage continued to grow, Rothenberg penned an apology letter that outlined three reasons why Lexa died: “practical (an actress was leaving the show), creative (it’s a story about reincarnation) and thematic (it’s a show about survival).” But he also added that he now regrets the manner in which the character was written off the show.
“Despite my reasons, I still write and produce television for the real world where negative and hurtful tropes exist,” Rothenberg wrote. “And I am very sorry for not recognizing this as fully as I should have. Knowing everything I know now, Lexa’s death would have played out differently. The thinking behind having the ultimate tragedy follow the ultimate joy was to heighten the drama and underscore the universal fragility of life. But the end result became something else entirely? —? the perpetuation of the disturbing ‘Bury Your Gays’ trope. Our aggressive promotion of the episode, and of this relationship, only fueled a feeling of betrayal.”
,” says writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach.”]
But despite the fan outrage in the months after the onscreen death, the only comment made during Friday’s panel was a slightly passive-aggressive remark during the audience Q&A when a fan dressed as Lexa said, “I’ve got my Grounder bodyguard to protect me from stray bullets.” Rothenberg, along with the cast, laughed, as she moved on to ask the cast which character they’d like to play other than their own.
However, the audience did cheer when Taylor later revealed a cute story about the day when she and Debnam-Carey shot their passionate love scene.
“We could not stop laughing,” Taylor said as the entire ballroom started clapping. “It was so funny. I have some hilarious selfies from that day actually and with Alycia’s permission, I will post one soon.”
The show’s fourth Comic-Con panel began with a sizzle reel (watch, below) that focused a lot on Clarke and Lexa, but ended with what looked like a nuclear blast rolling through Polis, completely decimating the city. The shot was a result of what Clarke learned in the season three finale, that the world’s nuclear power plants are melting down and the Earth will be destroyed in less than six months’ time.
“That’s the monster in the water, for sure,” Rothenberg said. “If that were to happen, it would probably lead to the end of the season. That’s ways down the line. The Earth strikes back. It is an unbeatable foe, actually. It becomes quickly about not stopping it because that’s not possible, but it becomes more about how to survive and if they even deserve to survive. It’s a lot like season one but on a much bigger scale. The Earth is the Ark.”
Other highlights from the panel:
• Fan-favorite Grounder characters Roan (Zach McGowan) and Indra (Adina Porter) are both alive heading into season four. “Roan played by Zach McGowan is actually joining the cast as a series regular,” Rothenberg announced. “And one of the first things we’ll see is Octavia [Marie Avgeropolous] finding her way to Indra. So happy midpoints for both of those characters. And Luna played by Nadia Hilker will be back as well.”
• It turns out that Kane was supposed to be Octavia’s father at the beginning of the series, but that was changed as the story developed. “It was supposed to happen, but it is no longer true,” Rothenberg said.
• “Kane is fairly pragmatic,” Henry Ian Cusick said about how Kane will deal with his actions from when he was chipped. “He sees what needs to be done and hopefully he won’t delve too much into the PTSD. As a good leader, I would hope he’d put others before him and try to lead people out or away.”
• “Next season you’re going to see Octavia take a really dark turn,” Avgeropoulos said of how she will deal with losing Lincoln. “It’s possible to go darker, we always surprise you and do just that. Octavia is going to do what she does best, which is killing people.”
• The end of the season three finale was supposed to be a lot darker, but the original ending was cut and reshot despite the actor, Devon Bostick, “killing it” in the footage. “Jasper leaves that room and goes and blows his brains out,” Rothenberg revealed. “But that was too dark. I don’t think anybody will ever see that scene. It was just a horrible way to leave a really dark season. And there’s more in the tank for Jasper. That’s just the truth. It was something in my gut I just didn’t feel right about, so we cut it and changed the ending.”
• Richard Harmon, who plays Murphy, originally auditioned for Bellamy (Bob Morley). “That tape exists,” Rothenberg said.
The 100 returns for season four in midseason on The CW.
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