It’s been a long time since a single character death has sparked this much controversy, but the loss of Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) on The 100 is the topic that doesn’t seem to want to die.
LGBTQ fans of the show caused an uproar when such a strong, lesbian character was killed off in a truly trope-y way, and the debate raged on for weeks, eventually culminating in an apology letter from show runner Jason Rothenberg.
The controversy raised awareness in the writing community about dangerous LGBTQ tropes, and the fans ended up raising over $130k for The Trevor Project in her honor. After Lexa returned to the show to (sadly) die again in a blaze of heroic glory during the Season 3 finale episode, it seemed the topic had finally been put to rest, much like the fan-favorite character.
However, Lexa fans are still campaigning to get their beloved Heda back on the show.
In a six-page open letter to anyone who will listen, Lexa fans have pulled together an extensive and passionate list of reasons Lexa’s character should return from the land of the dead, including (but not limited to) her impact on the LGBTQ community. The full letter can be seen in the gallery below.
“Lexa has made some of us feel, perhaps for the first time, that being as we are, that’s right, it’s okay, it’s normal in a sense, and that should not be hidden. Lexa made us feel less alone,” the letter states.
It’s true that Lexa was something of a unicorn when it comes to queer representation on TV – a powerful, dynamic and nuanced character, whose sexuality was only one very interesting component in her much larger picture. It’s only natural that fans would latch onto her and her cause.
However, if fan campaigns and outraged letters reigned supreme in the land of TV, then Firefly would never have been canceled, Delena would return to The Vampire Diaries, and Neal (Michael Raymond-James) would find himself back in Storybrooke on Once Upon a Time. Sometimes what fans want is not what show runners or networks have in mind for the future of their series, and trying to force a writer’s hand is almost never a good idea.
Lexa’s return, while it would satisfy fans’ immediate need to see their favorite character and the progress she represents again, would not necessarily be in the show’s best interest in the long run. Death on The 100 bears a heavy meaning, and the minute they start bringing characters back to life is the minute death loses its impact.
Should Lexa have been killed off in the first place? Maybe not — though we imagine Debnam-Carey may have dropped dead from exhaustion trying to film two shows at once if she’d stayed, plus there’s the added wrinkle of whether she contractually could have continued appearing on both shows. But even if she could, should Lexa magically return to life in Season 4?
The fight for LGBTQ representation on TV is a valid one, and it’s a cause that everyone can and should rally behind. However, rather than focusing so intensely on this one character, it might pay more to look forward to new opportunities rather than back on this one misstep.
The fan community can and should have a voice about important topics like this one, and creators and writers should listen. Unfortunately, that is all we can ask them to do. Listen and reflect.
When it comes to the story The 100 has left to tell, we trust Jason Rothenberg and his team will continue to honor Lexa while telling compelling stories about characters of all races, sexualities and backgrounds still struggling to survive on the ground.
The 100 returns to The CW in spring 2017.