The best-kept secret surrounding The CW’s post-apocalyptic drama “The 100” was let out at Comic-Con, when showrunner Jason Rothenberg confirmed Alycia Debnam-Carey, who played fan-favorite character Lexa on the show’s second season, would be returning for Season 3. The actress’ return had been in question because filming on the third season of the Eliza Taylor-led drama is happening at the same time as “Fear the Walking Dead,” on which Debnam-Carey is one of the leads.
The actress, caught in the middle, said she had known for a while that she would return, and it was just a matter of working out her schedule. She goes back to “The 100” set in a few weeks, but kept tight-lipped on many details beyond that. “I can say Lexa shows up early,” Debnam-Carey told TheWrap at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour Friday. “So you’re not going to have to wait desperately to see her.” The actress did indulge in speculating about which cast members she might enjoy working with more, since the bulk of her time had been spent working with Taylor during the previous season.
“Anyone would be great to work with, they’re all so brilliant. I think it would be interesting if Bellamy [played by Bob Morley] had more to do with Lexa,” she said. “That would be an interesting dynamic because obviously, you know, he’s got some feels for Clarke, we can all see that. And obviously Lexa does. So [to see them fight over Clarke], I think that would be kinda cool to see, why not? I’m sure fans would love that one, the love triangle. Or maybe they’d hate it. It would be very ferocious!” Debnam-Carey also thinks if tables had been turned and Clarke had been the one to betray Lexa, the Grounder commander would ultimately forgive her one-time ally and love interest.
“She’d probably forgive, but she wouldn’t forget,” she said. “I think she’d see it as, that’s a pragmatic leader. It’s what you have to do. She wouldn’t see it as a black and white, ‘I forgive you’ or not. She would be more like, ‘You had to do that for your people, I would do the same thing for mine.’ I think the two of them are more similar than maybe they want to admit. If Clarke was put in that position, it would be interesting to see: Would she have done the same thing?”
IGN: Suffice to say, the audience was extremely enthusiastic hearing you’d be returning to The 100 during the Comic-Con panel. Have you been given any hints at all by Jason [Rothenberg] or anyone from the show about what to expect when she comes back?
Alycia Debnam-Carey: No, no! I’ve only just read the first… the second episode. They keep it so under wraps. I barely even know when I’m flying up to start filming. Obviously things are not looking too great for Lexa on Clarke’s side. She’s a little angry. But Lexa loves Clarke, that’s pretty clear.
IGN: What do you think about Lexa’s choice? It’s been a debated topic!
Debnam-Carey: She’s very pragmatic. That’s what Lexa is. She’s a pragmatist. I don’t think she’s cold-hearted. It’s just she’s realistic and she’s been taught to be that way. It’s a very harsh world she comes from and she’s had to grow up with a lot of — that culture is so gritty and violent and raw and so she just has to go along with that. But I think she feels greatly but it’s like to do the best job you can to protect people, you shut off or you try to make it so people can’t see your feelings.
IGN: That being the case though, and I know right now we’re in speculation mode, but do you think when she sees Clarke again she’ll try to convince her and hope that she can see her perspective on this?
Debnam-Carey: I think that Clarke can see Lexa’s position, in a way. If Clarke was in Lexa’s position, I don’t know that she… She might do the same thing. Yes, she’s an optimist. She’s always trying to find the best solution, but… There’s a great article MTV did about how The 100 is so [much darker] than Game of Thrones or something and I loved it because there were some really great points. Clarke, she’s done some difficult things and made some hard choices. When you survive, you sink or swim. You just have to make that choice. Who comes first? You have to make a choice at the end of the day. That’s also what’s interesting about [Fear the Walking Dead] is what people do to survive. Who you can save and who you’re willing to save.
IGN: I know Jason has said that he never likes to give the characters a good choice. It’s always two terrible choices.
Debnam-Carey: A bad and a worse choice.
IGN: When I spoke to you last, it was right before that penultimate episode, the last one in Season 2 you were in. What has it been like since then as far as seeing even more of the fan reaction to your character and the investment in the potential for Clarke and Lexa, even after how things left off?
Debnam-Carey: I mean, it was wonderful. It’s a very humbling experience to have people relate so quickly and so earnestly to something that you invest so much time and energy into. I was lucky. I had such an incredible character to work with and a brilliant costume and makeup and this very iconic look — which I think has a lot to do with it too! She’s a very iconic character and that goes a lot with collaboration with the people on board. It’s wonderful that the work’s been recognized by fans and I know I’m the worst with social media and people kind of get a little angry at that.
IGN: [Laughs] How dare you not tweet all the time?
Debnam-Carey: I know!I just don’t know how to deal with it! [Laughs] It’s so overwhelming but I have noticed people are very passionate, which is always… It’s surreal, but it’s lovely.
IGN: We don’t know how many episodes you’re going to be on this season, but what would you hope to see from her return?
Debnam-Carey: I always hope Lexa keeps ruffling feathers. It’s what she does best, really. [Laughs] But a really big… There will be a big moment for her, that’s for sure.
IGN: This past year, a lot has happened for you career-wise and both of your big TV roles are in genre series. Were you a fan of genre type material or has it been funny for you to have this career path?
Debnam-Carey: No. It’s so weird that I kind of stumbled upon this genre. I didn’t even realize this was my thing! Apparently it is. Post-apocalypse dramas are what I do best, apparently! [Laughs] I didn’t know that. When this role [Fear] came to me too, I was like, I don’t know… Zombies, I don’t know if that’s really my thing. I just did something that was very apocalypse-like as well. I was thinking “Should I really be doing a similar thing?” But this show is so much greater than just a genre. It’s very nuanced and layered and these characters are so textured and that’s what makes it so great to be a part of. But no, I always thought I’d be doing rom-coms or something. But no, I’m like…
IGN: “World’s ending!”
Debnam-Carey: Only worlds ending!
IGN: Doing both these shows, what do you think the appeal is of this type of story? Is it the what if of “How would I react in that situation?”
Debnam-Carey: Well, I think it’s like apocalypse is so relevant right now. Everything you see is about global warming or the environment, the destruction of humanity, what the internet is doing to us, what is it doing to our brains? This amalgamation of… A climax to what? What’s going to happen? Do we kill ourselves or the world will kill us? There’s an obsession with it at the moment because it is quite relevant. We have an obvious choice to make of do we nurture our world or not nurture it and take care of it. So because it’s relevant I think that’s why we’re so interested in shows like this at the moment, whether it’s The 100 or Fear The Walking Dead. If you look at the 50s, it was all about space exploration and the journey and the excitement. That was what was important. So it’s interesting… Does life imitate art or art imitate life?