The 100 has without a doubt become the best show on The CW. Go ahead and quote me– it’s the truth. I binge-watched the first season on Netflix and can’t get enough ever since. For all you newbies out there, The 100 is set 97 years after a nuclear war annihilates the Earth (way to go humanity), and one hundred delinquents (they’re not all bad) aboard a now failing space station (aka The Ark) must return to Earth (against their will) to test the planets sustainability. These kids have a rocky start and encounter unimaginable obstacles with one mission: to survive. Their older counterparts (parents and authority figures) soon join them on the ground, but by then a lot of sh*t has happened. I’m constantly blown away by the shows strong male leads and even stronger female leads as they navigate unknown terrains and SPOILER ALERT other people on Earth.
Ricky Whittle, who plays the intimidating yet stoic Lincoln on the post apocalyptic drama was kind enough to talk with me about the show before the giant two-part season finale. Whittle’s character has gone through a tremendous amount of turmoil since the very first episode– between turning his back on his clan (dubbed the Grounders), falling in love with a member of the “Sky People” (forbidden, dude!) and becoming addicted to a drug like serum given to him by those pesky Mountain Men (death to the Mountain Men!). But despite all odds, Lincoln’s character has to be one of the most developed, and well-liked on the show.
Whittle and I talked at length, about the cast pulling pranks on each other, #Linctavia and he even reveals that he just recently learned what the word “ship” meant in the wonderful world of fandoms… so let’s have at it.
MCKENZIE MORRELL: Tell us about your character, Lincoln, on The 100?
RICKY WHITTLE: First off; he’s a member of the Grounders, he’s part of the warrior section of a native village that the Arkers found on Earth and came across by Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos). Through Lincoln we’ve learned that not all Grounders were fierce warriors and savages looking to kill off the hundred that landed. Through Lincoln we’re able to find out that some people wanted peace. There is a whole village and a whole mass of people who were affected by their landing in various ways that our story-writers were able to express. But, he’s a good guy, he’s a good guy! He looks all rugged and scary with his tattoos and his blood everywhere. His body is literally a road map of previous wars and battles throughout his lifetime so far. But he’s a good guy; I guess he’s a warrior with a heart. He fell very much in love with Octavia and they kind of became the Romeo and Juliet storyline for the show, it’s basically that idea that if two people can come together from two different clans, then why couldn’t the rest of them.
MM: That’s for sure. Now, Lincoln’s moral compass has been tested to the brink over the course of the show. Can we expect to see more struggles ahead for him and maybe that need for the Reaper red serum?
RW: Yeah. I had a talk on set with Jason Rothenberg when we brought up the whole drug addiction issue, and we wanted to make it as real as possible. You know, drugs are a real problem and we wanted to kind of stay true to it and, not necessarily educate, but just bring it back around and make people aware this is a problem in our society and it’s something that won’t just go away- it’s something that needs help. People in real life- they need help, they need support systems. Lincoln is no different. If he’s left to his own devices, he’s very much going to spiral down and he’s got to fight against it. If someone with such a strong moral compass and pure-minded Lincoln, and the strength that he possesses, if it can bring him down, then what hope is there for someone who is slightly weaker minded? So, that’s something that’s going to stay with him throughout this season, for sure. It’s definitely going to rear its head again. Again, staying true to the issue. But, he does seem to have people around him that care about him and especially Octavia. Bellamy (Bob Morley) has shown that he values Lincoln and believes in the good in him, as does Clarke (Eliza Taylor), and now that he’s been introduced to the rest of the Arkers, I think he’s become a valuable member of the team. As long as that support system stays around him, he’s gonna be okay, but he’s definitely not out of the woods when it comes to the red drug.
MM: We’re never out of the woods on this show (laughs). Lincoln and Octavia have come a long way since season one. How has the response been from the fans regarding this relationship?
RW: The fans have been fantastic. Literally, not until I became a part of this show and the show really took off, have I seen such passionate fans. Sci-Fi fans are incredibly intelligent and so passionate, and they know more about your character’s storyline than you do. They come up with some fantastic stories and comments on Twitter. It really is a joy to hear their views and see their artwork and stuff. I think Linctavia has kind of taken off as part of that and the amount of pictures and drawings and memes and all these sort of things that our fans create. They edit these videos where I think, that’s a professional career they should be doing! You know, some of the edits are fantastic. So, as an actor, you want to be different when you’re in a show. You want your character to matter, whether it be good or bad.
MM: How is it working alongside Marie Avgeropoulos?
RW: I love working with Marie, she’s a very talented girl and obviously she’s very beautiful, and it’s just about creating that chemistry and that connection. For the fans to latch on to that and to really push for it, and to request more screen time and more storylines involving the two, it’s really an honor, and why we do it, really. It’s for that kind of reaction from the fans, and that hunger from the fans, to see you on screen. So, hopefully we can keep doing what we’re doing and inspire them to want more of us.
MM: There’s no doubt that the fans are going to keep wanting more of you guys. What do you think draws Lincoln to Octavia, and the other Grounders, as well? She’s kind of slowly becoming one of them in a sense, which, in that world doesn’t seem to ever happen.
RW: The thing with Octavia and Lincoln, I mean, especially Lincoln… First of all, he saw the strength that was in Octavia in the first place. That’s why he was kind of drawn to her. Obviously, she’s beautiful, but it’s not just that with Lincoln. He sees the strength that we’re now seeing in Octavia. When she first landed, she was very much the prom queen, very sheltered, neglected, and hidden under the floorboards. So, she was kind of like the little brat who just wanted to bend all the rules. But Lincoln saw past that, and he saw this strength and courage that she has, and that she kind of betrays throughout the season where she’s gone against her own people, as Lincoln has his.
MM: So that rebellious trait has bonded them?
RW: That’s why they’ve kind of been drawn towards each other. They’re open to other worlds and to other cultures, and we’ve kind of seen Octavia and Lincoln on both ends of the spectrum, kind of moving more towards the middle. Lincoln has kind of taken to the Ark in a way, he’s accepted most of their ways and realized that he can learn from them, with all their technology and their less barbaric ways. Then, Octavia has also learned about the Grounders through Lincoln, and how passionate those people are and it kind of develops a middle-ground that Octavia and Lincoln seem to be set in. It’s been great seeing that journey for Octavia happen, where she’s become strong and the rest of the Grounders are starting to see it, as well. They’re starting to follow her into battles now, even Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) kind of accepts her. To the point where her own people, even her big brother- last season he was very protective and always looking out for her, now he realizes that she’s her own person; she’s strong enough to look after herself. She’s taken that training from Lincoln and the other Grounders, and she’s more than capable of looking out for herself now, and she’s definitely seen as an equal by Clarke and by the other Grounders.
MM: Definitely. Now, what has been the most challenging scene for you, as an actor, to shoot so far? Would you say that the torture scene has ranked high on that list?
RW: Lincoln’s definitely been through the mill. He’s been through a lot physically, whether it be torture, or whatever, and obviously, physically all those scenes are very taxing. For a lot of the cast, we like to go full out and give a hundred percent. Our fantastic crew and the props department really do chain us up when we’re tied up and things, so I still possess scars on my ankles and my wrists from all those torture scenes. I’ve still got a scar across my stomach from where, Lindsey Morgan who plays Raven, was electrocuting me in episode seven of season one.
MM: No way! (laughs)
RW: It was an accident, but you know, I still wear the scars. Physically, these scenes are very demanding. When Lincoln died and was seizing, of course, on the show it’s only a few seconds, but when we’re filming it, it’s a full-on day of convulsions and really putting your body through it, and that’s very, very taxing and tough to do. So, yeah, I’d definitely say that they were the most demanding of scenes. Obviously, physically, is the drug stuff. I guess in episode six and seven, I wanted to play it a certain way and unfortunately wasn’t able to, so it was more of a mind thing; Lincoln was gone. The producers and writers didn’t want any sign of Lincoln to be there, so to me emotionally, that was very taxing to just be vacant and kind of, this grotesque monster who is just an absolute savage. I would definitely say to date, those episodes where Lincoln’s being tortured are possibly the toughest, and episode seven in season two where he was just suffering from the withdrawal symptoms, and dying and convulsing- that was definitely my toughest couple of days filming.
MM: Sounds exhausting! So now, do you share any personality traits with Lincoln? Are there any similarities, or major differences?
RW: (laughs) We look the same except he’s got a silly mohawk. I’m jealous of his tattoos- he’s very cool. I don’t know… I guess we’ve both got that moral compass. In real life, I’ve always said I live my life like my mom and dad are watching, in fear of doing wrong. I’d like to think I’ve got more of a sense of humor than Lincoln. (laughs) There have been moments in the episodes where I’ve tried to add the humor, and in the script we’ve had some comedic moments, but for some reason they always get cut so… I’ve tried to add humor to Lincoln, but for some reason they never make the final draft. I don’t think the writers want him to be smiling too much just yet. But I try to add just a little bit more humor when he’s with Octavia. We’ll see. He’s got some little comments that come out here and there, but I’m definitely funnier.