As badass as The 100's Raven Reyes is, Season 4 has left fans wondering how long she can keep it up. Equal parts genius and sass with a little bit of love laying dormant underneath, actress Lindsey Morgan's portrayal of the storied character has inspired fans across the globe. Recently, though, Raven's health has declined so steeply it's hard to imagine her future.
The hit CW series' writers have crafted a fascinating group of characters, each struggling with the surprisingly real truths of life, love, and survival in a post-apocalyptic world. They've melded societal conflict complete with factions, power struggles, and murder with AI horror, unexpected danger courtesy of a dying planet, and the ever-present threat of human extinction. Raven especially, however, has been hit with punch after punch since she landed on Earth, from the loss of the closest person to her, Finn (Thomas McDonell), to a debilitating injury that's left her in constant pain.
Zimbio spoke with Morgan on Tuesday, April 25, about Raven's uncertain future, the profound experience of portraying a disabled character on television, and who she'd love to see her with if Raven makes it through after all.
Zimbio: Raven has been through SO much in The 100. Does her emotional journey ever way heavily on you as an actress? It's a lot.
LM: Oh yeah. Playing Raven opened me to a lot of dark emotions and head spaces. It's tough to go home and have nightmares, or always be stressed out. She's always in a constant state of life or death. I remember in Season 3 I was going through my own personal issues and Raven's storyline was just so emotionally dark, so I got into therapy. I talk about the show, I talk about Raven, and I talk about life. It's funny, when you cry or when you put your body through trauma, even if it's fake, your body believes you're going through something dangerous, that you're fighting for your life. It's that adrenaline rush or fight-or-flight. So my therapist was like, 'I think you have a touch of PTSD,' just from putting yourself in this high-stress simulation. When I act, or when I cry, I'll manipulate my breath and my body. Raven has traumatic experiences and that has a place in my own body and psyche. I watch iZombie when I get home, I always watch something funny. Anything happy. Cat videos. I leave the work at work. I used to take it home with me, but I have to leave it. It's so dark.
Zimbio: Are you doing okay now?
LM: Oh yeah, I'm good. It's an evolution, too. I think a lot of Heath Ledger, when he played The Joker in The Dark Knight. As an actor, you have to explore that darkness. There's a part of you that doesn't want to and there's a part of you that wants to. There's a part of me that wants to know the depths of my darkness and anger and rage. I think that's beautiful because I think it's human. I know now that as a mature performer, I have to come back to reality and that everything's good and my life is not threatened. I have a wonderful life. You can get lost in the role. That may sound very weird, but...
Zimbio: No, not at all.
LM: [Heath Ledger] is one of my biggest inspirations. He was my first celebrity crush, too.
Zimbio: Same, same. But Raven has been completely on her own since Finn passed in Season 2. Do you think there's a romantic future for her on the show?
LM: You know, I have been trying to bribe the writers with dinners...tequila...because I feel that Raven is a little rootless. She doesn't have family, no mother or father, and she's without Finn, who was her best friend and her first love. Then she lost Wick (Steve Talley), and then she lost Sinclair (Alessandro Juliani), who was her mentor. So now she really only has Abby (Paige Turco) that feels like family. Of course she has her friends, but as far as a deeper connection, she's pretty much a lone warrior.
I think that's hard for Raven, but I also think that's her arc. She's always having to re-learn and remind herself to open up and trust people, to let people help her. To know that it doesn't make her weak if she needs saving. It makes her stronger if she's able to open herself up and be vulnerable to her friends. So I would love her to find love, I want her to have some happiness. She deserves it. She has such great qualities, she's very lovable. So I would hope she can find somebody who can understand her. She's lonely because she doesn't feel understood.
Zimbio: Speaking of people who understand her, Luna seems to relate to Raven in a special way. Do you ship it?
LM: Oh yeah. Definitely. I think Luna is an amazing character. She can understand Raven in that she can pacify her, she can help Raven when she feels like she's losing her mind. That's something very special about their relationship. I also just love [actress Nadia Hilker], she's so talented and her spirit is so free. There's something about working with her...she makes you want to work at your best. She makes you feel like it's okay for you to try things, to be weird or to do something unexpected.
She's gonna be there with you, you know? She's great. I'm literally in her bedroom right now, she's letting me stay in her home while she's in Germany. She's a great person. I love her so much.
Zimbio: How funny! Although, Raven hasn't been in the best of health lately. Do you think she'll be around long enough to have a future like this one?
LM: Let's just say that when we were filming these episodes, I literally had, like, seven different crew members pull me aside to tell me how much they're gonna miss me and hug me goodbye while we were on set. Yeah, this storyline is kind of...there's no way out. Either she dies or she's a vegetable. We're at a fork in the road. Not to say there's not a chance for something to happen, but right now what it's looking like is Raven has two options that both aren't that great.
Zimbio: As a viewer I'm still hoping some magic is gonna come out of the woodwork and help her out.
LM: Waaatch, see if there's any magic!
Zimbio: If that does happen and there is some magic that saves Raven, what would you like to see her accomplish?
LM: If Raven survives, I'd like her to find love. She deserves that, she's waited for it for a long time. It would be nice if she had some kind of stability. I used to want her to be a leader, but I think she really got a taste of it this season and realized how difficult it is and maybe that's not necessarily her forte. Maybe she's much more equipped to do the intel. That's what she enjoys doing, the tinkering and the building.
Zimbio: Yeah, she's this utter genius who's literally fighting against the clock to save humanity, all while under a lot of pain. Her strength is really inspiring.
LM: I feel very fortunate to be able to portray a character that's living with a disability. Sure, she experiences obstacles and challenges because of it, but she's ultimately created a stronger character in herself. There's a newfound strength in her that she's never known before. So I think that's very profound. I'm grateful as an actor to get to play a character with this circumstance because that's something I don't have in my own life, and it's shown me a newfound gratitude for my health and my body. For waking up each day not being in pain. It's also showed me a magnitude of empathy for people who have disabilities and live with them and go about their life. I have respect for people who can live their life in so much pain day-to-day and can still kick ass like Raven. It takes true strength. I've been doing conventions lately, and I've had the opportunity to meet so many beautiful people who tell me their story, and how Raven has inspired them because of the disability they go through and how they wake up each day and think of Raven persevering. I have to tell them, 'Thank you for your strength,' and let them know Raven's not the one getting out there every morning and doing the work. They're doing the work. They're the inspiration for me. I just never fathomed I would grow so much as a person from getting to play a character that has a disability. I'm very grateful for it, and I'm grateful that Raven can be an inspiration for that group of people.
Zimbio: That's amazing, truly. We've also been seeing a lot of hype about the Season 4 finale lately, it sounds like a real doozy. I've heard it's going to be very different. How do you think it'll make fans feel?
LM: It'll make them feel like they can't wait until the next season. It just changes the entire show.
Zimbio: Can't wait! Can you tell me about the other projects you have going on right now?
LM: Ohh, that. I can't say anything. I did a quick thing on one film in the end of February, on my birthday, actually. But I can't talk about that one. And then I'm about to start another one in June, but I also can't say that one yet. I can't announce anything. I know what you're alluding to, and that's especially secretive, and that has barely even started yet. I haven't even seen the script yet. There's been interest applied, so...Internet, keep Interneting and tweeting because people are listening.
Zimbio: Anything you'd like to say to The 100 fans?
LM: Thank you and keep watching. It's gonna be amazing, and it's probably one of my favorite things I've ever done.