Spoilers for The 100 to follow.
The 100 has been embroiled in some major controversy over the past couple of months following the decision to kill off Heda Lexa almost immediately after a love scene between her and Clarke in the much-debated episode “Thirteen.” Although the actress who played Lexa, Alicia Debnam-Carey, was contractually obligated to return to Fear the Walking Dead and therefore had to be either written off or replaced on The 100, many fans saw Lexa’s death as The 100 capitalizing on perceived inclusivity while simultaneously insulting marginalized fans.
Showrunner Jason Rothernberg has since apologized for Lexa’s death, but controversy surrounding the show hasn’t dissipated, especially since fan-favorite character Lincoln, played by Ricky Whittle, was killed in last week’s episode “Stealing Fire.”
Lincoln’s death wasn’t unexpected, considering Whittle was cast earlier this year as the lead in Starz’s American Gods adaptation and therefore would have needed to leave The 100 soon somehow. In a lengthy interview with AfterBuzz TV, the actor revealed that the decision to leave the show was his, and shared that he had a less than ideal experience on the final season (transcription via Collider and TVLine):
At the beginning of the season, [Lincoln] had a whole storyline that was cut, that was just non-existent. [Showrunner Jason Rothenberg] abused his position to make my job untenable. What he did was disgusting and he should be ashamed. … He was professionally bullying me, cutting out all the storyline I was supposed to be doing, cutting lines, cutting everything out, trying to make my character and myself as insignificant as possible.
Whittle also criticized other developments on the series, saying Lexa was “too incredible a character to be caught by a stray bullet,” and arguing that Pike should never have been turned into a villain. But despite his criticisms, he doesn’t want fans to abandon the show yet:
You still have to remember we have a bisexual lead [in Eliza Taylor’s Clarke], we have Bryan and Miller, we have various black characters who are in power, we have powerful women. Literally, the show has everything, so stay with it. Stay with my family. Stay with my friends.
I definitely recommend listening to as much of the hour-plus interview as you can; even though Whittle has some unflattering things to say about how the show is run, in the context of the overall interview, he does so in the most measured, professional way possible. The actor repeatedly reiterates that he doesn’t want to ‘get even’ with anyone on The 100 in any way, and that, despite the furor caused by this season, he thinks the series and its fandom are helping to make TV far more progressive. If anything, seeing how passionate Whittle is here, and the amount of respect he has for fans, just makes me even more excited to see him as Shadow in American Gods.
After the interview began gaining more traction yesterday, Rothenberg released a statement saying: “Ricky Whittle is a talented actor; I appreciate his work on The 100 and wish him all the best moving forward on American Gods.”
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