Warning: This article contains major spoilers for The 100 season 3.
The 100had a rough season 3. The critically-acclaimed cult wave that The CW show had beenriding going into season 3 broke when the post-apocalyptic drama killed off fan favorite characters Lincoln (Ricky Whittle) and Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) in particularly brutal, arguably insensitive ways.
For the first time since the events in question and the resulting fandom backlash, The CW president Mark Pedowitz spoke about the network’s involvement in the decisions at the TCA summer press tour. The main gist? The CW supports the creative control of its showrunners. However, Pedowitz seems hopeful that The 100showrunner Jason Rothenberg has learned some social media lessons to be implemented moving forward…
On Lincoln’s death & Ricky Whittle’s comments…
Earlier this year, Whittle (who will be starring in the Starz adaptation of American Gods next) gave an interview with AfterBuzz TV that criticized the way his The 100 exit was handled by showrunner Jason Rothenberg, claiming that he was bullied off of the show. Whittle said:
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.
When asked about the claims at the TCA presentation, Pedowitz was unsurprisingly diplomatic , saying (as reported by Zap2it):
We had conversations for a long time about Ricky’s character, Lincoln, who was a great character. Jason felt for a long period of time that he had written that character into a box; we felt differently. There was a long discussion about that. At some point we found that Jason had a great way for Ricky’s character to be written out so [Marie Avgeropoulos’] character could go forward in some way, shape or form.
As for Whittle’s specific comments, Pedowitz said:
Ricky’s comments were about number of lines, stuff like that — he’s an actor, number of lines. Ricky was a great performer for us, but it is the showrunner’s right to make whatever how many lines an actor gets in a particular episode.
On Lexa’s death…
The other big, controversial moment in The 100season 3 came in the killing off of fan favorite LGBT character Lexa (played by Fear the Walking Dead‘s Alycia Debnam-Carey). Fans felt betrayed by the way they perceived The 100creative staff had queer-baited the LGBT segment of the fandom, assuring them that Lexa’s character would be given a respectful storyline, only to fall face-first into the Bury Your Gays trope.
Pedowitz echoed his earlier sentiment, reaffirming that The CW gives a lot of creative leeway to their showrunners, saying:
We’re believers in letting showrunners tell their stories, I’m a believer in letting the creators tell their stories. If we start limiting certain things, then we’re going to start limiting the ability to be creative … I’m one of the people that encouraged Jason to go to a very dark show. For me, he knows how to tell a story.
Speaking specifically about the way in which Debnam-Carey’s character was written out, Pedowitz said:
She was not available, she’s a series regular on Fear the Walking Dead. She is a great actress, Jason had a way to do something to pivot it to the second half of the season and her death allowed him to pivot that way, so we supported it.
On learning from the social media backlash…
As for whether the fandom backlash would affect the social media and overall treatment of fans moving forward, Pedowitz seemed hopeful that the network and Rothenberg would learn from this experience, saying:
What Jason has done, Jason has done to himself. I think he got a great learning curve with what social media can do, whether you’re being adored or hated at any given time … I think there was much more of a social media reaction and how Jason handled the social media reaction.
That is an understatement — but a surprisingly fandom-friendly one. Pedowitz doesn’t seem willing to come out and take a side in this debate, but he definitely isn’t totally ignoring where the fans are coming from either.