The 100 season 5 sees Raven Reyes six years older and wiser, but no closer to getting her friends home until a ‘beacon of hope’ arrives in the form of Eligius. See what Lindsey Morgan can tease about the journey ahead!
The first episode of The 100 season 5, titled “Eden,” aired last night — what did you think?!
While mostly focused on Clarke Griffin and the arrival of Eligius, the episode also gave us our first look at the seven characters in space — affectionately known as ‘SpaceKru’ — and their relationships to each other.
Raven Reyes is revealed to be struggling with how to get her friends back to the ground, but that’s not all she spends her time doing. We see her sparring with Echo (aww), trading good-spirited insults with Murphy (awww), and working with her new assistant Emori (awwwwwwww!).
To celebrate the start of season 5, we caught up with Lindsey Morgan to talk about Raven’s season 5 journey and look back on how far she’s already come. Enjoy!
Hypable: So, season 5 is almost here! Are you excited for people to see it? And are you excited to see it?
Yes, I am so excited to see it! I obviously loved reading the scripts, and the story was amazing. But, you know, when you’re shooting it, you’re shooting out of order and you’re not there every day, so you don’t see everything. So I’m excited to see it all come together. It’s always so awesome to see what they end up creating. I can’t wait.
What do you think the time jump has done for the show? Do you think it feels different this year?
Well, I really like the time jump, because it kind of allows for a fresh start. It’s almost like a new show, you know? Everyone’s different, everyone’s gone through so much transformation, and we’re basically all playing different characters. Some of us more than others, obviously. But it’s really awesome.
And just the ability to play with history and time… it just feels like a fresh start, a fresh new show, and with fresh characters and dynamics. So yes, I loved it, I thought it was a brilliant idea.
In terms of Raven, I’m really curious… because I love Raven, so much of the fandom loves Raven, which is awesome–
Which is awesome, yeah!
Fandom is really protective of Raven. Which I get! But I’m always extra curious how people are gonna react to her story.
It’s really interesting. I think they’ll like her story this season. I think the fans have been waiting a long time for Raven to be… happy? I’m not saying her story is all rainbows and roses obviously, but there is kind of a light at the end of the tunnel for her.
I obviously don’t want to give away too much, but there is something Raven really gains this season, which was really nice. It wasn’t so much loss. It was a really nice feeling to have and to play, and to have for her. So I hope people will like that, that they’ll enjoy it.
Do you think that Raven in season 5 is significantly different from the Raven we know?
I don’t think Raven has changed as drastically as some of the other characters. But I think the time she’s spent with the SpaceKru, feeling like part of a family — something that Raven’s never had and always wanted — it’s made her more careful. It’s made her value life, and value love, and value friendship and family and community more than ever. It’s precious for her, life is precious for her.
Which also means it’s not easy for her to pull the trigger, basically. She sees every life as valuable. And like everyone else, she’s had to do things to survive, but over the six years I think she’s questioned a lot of her decisions and feels that, who is she to play God, basically. So it’s really given her an appreciation for life. And a value for safety, and safety for her people, and for love… of each other, of her family and her friends. And she doesn’t want to ever lose that again.
Just thinking of her story so far and how she’s been in a position to question other people’s leadership decisions, it would definitely be interesting to see Raven herself in that position of having to decide whether to ‘pull the trigger,’ as it were.
Yeah. But also, the thing is that yes, Raven hasn’t necessarily pulled the trigger, but she has made the bomb. So that’s a different kind of guilt, that’s a responsibility she still feels.
Just based on the season 5 premiere alone, we get the sense that Raven’s main driving force over the past six years has been getting her friends home, and it seems like her inability to do that has really colored her experience in space.
Yes. Completely. It’s a constant struggle. Every day she wakes up, and they’re still in space (laughs). They’re not on Earth. It’s a constant reminder of her inability. And for Raven, that’s huge — her inability to solve a problem and to save her friends is heartbreaking for her.
And it’s also the knowledge that they wouldn’t be here, they wouldn’t be in space at all, if she hadn’t decided to spacewalk-suicide herself. If she had decided to go to the bunker, like what was originally planned, then they wouldn’t be here, and Clarke probably wouldn’t be dead. So there’s a lot of guilt that’s on her, and it weighs heavy on her.
Throughout the show, Raven has really been moving straight from one huge problem to the next, and so much has hinged on her ability to solve those problems that have always kind of demanded her complete attention. I feel like it’s been a really long time since we’ve checked in with what she wants… like, in a perfect world, what does her life look like? Is she in space, is she on the ground, who is she with, what is she doing, when she’s not working towards some life or death thing?
Well, yeah. That’s really interesting. That’s one interesting thing about this show, is that up until now they’ve really never had any time to breathe. There was always some huge decision that demanded all their attention and all of their focus in that moment… and I think it’s one of the nice things about the time jump and being in space: that it has given Raven some time to not necessarily be in a life-threatening situation. But obviously she’s still working on a huge problem.
As far as what she wants, you know, I think right now she wants safety. She wants family, and she wants her family to be safe. And she’s realized through everything she’s been through that the people in your life are the most important things about life. And to just have that happiness, and not be threatened with death every five seconds (laughs).
Speaking of that family aspect, I do want to ask specifically about some those SpaceKru dynamics, which are honestly all just so amazing, and Raven has so many great ones… it really seems like she has these deep connections to everyone up there.
Yes! I agree.
I’m really curious to hear which ones are your favorites. Mine is Raven and Emori, that was a fantastic surprise!
Yeah, I love Raven and Emori! That was something Raven hadn’t really gotten to play — having a best friend like that, like a second or an assistant. That was really cool for her. I love that we got to play that.
I love Luisa [d’Oliveira], I think she’s a brilliant actress. And it’s kind of funny that, for the most part, a lot of us are weirdly similar to our characters — except for maybe Luisa. She’s the kindest, sweetest person in the world. So the fact that she can pull that off, she’s an amazing actress.
And I also really love Raven and Murphy. They have really been through so much together in such an unlikely way that’s tied them together. So they become friends in space, and they become family, and that means a lot to Raven.
Murphy and Raven was the second dynamic I wanted to bring up on my prioritized list. Their scenes together in season 4 were definitely some of my favorites. What kind of place does he occupy in her mind now, or in that family they have built? What does he mean to her?
Raven is grateful for her relationship with Murphy. They’re family now. I mean, he’s obviously caused her a lot of pain and caused her a lot of anger and hate, but you know… there was a point when she was willing to give him up for Finn’s life, to kill him, and now she’s able to actually forgive him. They’ve come full circle, truly.
I don’t think Murphy will ever forgive himself for what he did, because he realized how awful it was, and can’t believe he could have done that to her. But she’s forgiven him. And being able to forgive someone for hurting you that way, I think, is an evolution of a person. I think he’ll always hold it against himself, and hate himself for it, but in Raven’s mind he is forgiven.
Of course her life can be frustrating because of what happened, but I don’t think she’d be Raven without it. And I think she sees that now, too, and that it’s not a weakness for her to forgive him — and then to find a friendship, to find a trust, to find a love. I would say it’s like a brother-sister kind of dynamic. She loves him and respects him, and she doesn’t hold it against him anymore.
I also wanted to make sure I ask you about Raven and Echo, because that was another unexpected delight of the first episode.
Yes! That one’s super fun. Raven and Echo also became really good friends in space, and Raven really respects Echo, she thinks she’s a total badass. Echo taught her to fight, and I think Raven also taught Echo about technology.
Having Grounders in space was always kind of a fun treat. Because they’re like kids, they don’t know anything about technology. So that was pretty cool for Raven, who is so science and technology savvy, to have to teach someone who’s never seen a computer before (laughs). It was kind of wild.
But yeah, you’re gonna see a lot of Raven and Echo interactions this year. Echo really becomes a core member of the team. You’ll see why. And because of that, Raven sees her as a sister. And Echo also has so many skills for survival, and for strategy, and for war, and for fighting. These are vital skills. So they work together a lot. They become a team. You’ll see. Recho all the way!
That all sounds amazing.
We also live together now. So Recho is real (laughs).
Do you wanna talk a little bit about that incredible training scene that you and Tasya [Teles] got to do in the first episode? How did that all come together?
Well, I told Jason, ‘I wanna fight.’ I’ve always been very active, and I wanted a new workout last year, so I’ve been learning how to Muay Thai fight. So I told Jason that I wanted Raven to fight, somewhere, somehow. It’s been hard to do realistically, because of the disability and the leg brace, so I love how we collaborated and he brought something that I requested into the story.
And it made sense: Echo has been training Raven to defend herself in any scenario, just in case, and also just to pass the time. We had a lot of fun working on it and doing it, and that was one of my favorite days on set. I actually really enjoy doing my stunts and doing fight sequences. I hope to do more. It’s something I’ve always really enjoyed.
Based on just that first episode, it seems like the SpaceKru pairings are very set, and Raven is really the only one who is not in one of those pairings. Is that what we’re just meant to assume, that she’s been single for six years…?
You know, what’s funny is that I asked the same question. I’m like, what happened!? Going solo for six years, that’s so sad (laughs). And there isn’t necessarily a definite answer to it. Until Jason defines it, I think it’s up to anyone’s interpretation.
We laugh about space orgies or Raven and Echo getting together, but as far as I know, I don’t know, basically. I’ve made choices for myself, but that’s really a Jason question, about what he defined. So I don’t think anyone knows. Or you can pick. You can interpret what you want to have happened.
Right. Which is kind of one of the points of the time jump, I guess, that we do get to fill in some of those blanks ourselves.
How will we see Raven be affected by her leg in season 5? How has that time in space impacted her physically?
Well, because of that time in space… I mean, there’s gravity on board, but she’s obviously been spacewalking and been in zero G for a lot of that time. So I think that actually has taken a lot of pressure off her leg, and has allowed it to heal more than it ever has on Earth.
So you’ll see her with a leg that’s better than ever, but it’s not healed by any means. She still needs her brace, and she probably always will, but she’s in a better sort with it than she ever has been. That’s a new development too, and a joy for her.
The significance of playing Raven – this person in STEM, this woman of color, a woman living with a disability – is such a huge thing, and I imagine it can feel like a big responsibility. How do you approach that?
I’m so grateful to play Raven. She’s such a dynamic character, that isn’t held hostage by any stereotype. She isn’t put into a box because she’s a woman of color, and she isn’t a cliché because she has a disability. Raven is a genius, a prodigy, a badass. She surpasses all stereotypes, and there’s not a lot of roles out there that are like that — for men or women. So it’s a true honor. And I think she’s fucking fantastic.
I always say that I’m lucky to play Raven because I get to play at the height of my intelligence. But sometimes that can be challenging: to play someone that’s significantly smarter than you, and whose brain works like 20 times faster than everyone else’s. And she’s not just driven by logic, but equally by her heart, and with her morals, in terms of what’s right and what’s wrong. So that’s a battle within her: the fight between her head and her heart.
And some scenes are more difficult than others — Raven is incredibly complex. Everything about her, her experiences and her mental state, is constantly changing, and is very intricate to play. So it’s never easy, but it’s always very fulfilling. I’ll get home from work and be like, ‘Ahhh, I acted today!’ You know what I mean? I don’t just come to set and say some lines and go home. So I’m very grateful, and very proud of my performance as Raven over the years.
Before we wrap up, I want to jump back to season 4 for a second and ask you about Raven’s journey there. When I was writing my reviews, I described what she went through as kind of a love story with herself. I thought it was such an interesting arc, because you don’t often get that with female characters.
Oh yeah. Shit was crazy in season 3. It was nuts. I think season 3 was the darkest, for Raven. You saw her deal with the depression that her disability brought her, and the loss of Finn, and Wick, and just all of that. No one could reach her. And that was ultimately why she chipped herself. Because that was basically a mental suicide: she erased her brain so she didn’t have to feel pain.
And then in season 4, she ultimately was done numbing herself. Even erasing ALIE was part of that. ALIE in her brain was awesome, because it made her smarter than ever, but to be completely free of any kind of hindrances or substances and just be pure Raven again…
So she found gratitude in herself, and she found confidence in herself, and she found, like you said, love for herself. For her exact self. Every imperfection: her leg, her brain, her broken heart. She found gratitude for everything she’s been through, and she found strength in it. By the end of the season, she finally valued herself. And though she feels guilt for what she did, or caused to happen to her friends, it was her evolution to becoming who she is now. Season 4 was a great season for Raven.
Absolutely. And I imagine that the wonderful thing is that now, if she were to eventually find another love interest, she’d be fully ready to embrace that because she’s in a good place with herself.
Yeah! It’s a funny thing that, as I’ve been playing Raven in my 20s, a lot of the things she went through are things I went through. It was weird how art would mimic real life, from doubting yourself or feeling pain to finding strength in the beauty in your scars, and finding the confidence and a gratitude and appreciation for everything you’ve been through because it’s created the person you are today, and that’s beautiful. And so unique. It’s been such an amazing journey for me, personally.
Finally I want to ask you about Summertime, your new movie that’s also premiering this month, at Tribeca! Why should The 100 fans check out this movie?
Summertime, and my role in it, is something I’ve never done before. So if you guys are fans of Raven, and basically want to see me play not-Raven, it might be kind of cool (laughs). Transformation is something I’m interested in as an actor, so I love this role because it’s something I’ve never done before, and I felt like I got to transform into someone completely different from me, and from Raven, and all my other roles.
I’m very excited for it. I haven’t seen it yet, so I’m just like, ‘please be good’ (laughs)! But it was such a cool and creative project for me to do, as a performer and as an artist. So if you’re interested in that, go see it for that reason. But also see it because it’s such a beautiful script, and it’s very nostalgic and very heartwarming and heartfelt about the time period it’s set in.
It’s based on [director/writer/actor] Ed Burns’ summer between graduating from high school and going into college, and if you’re at that age… we all remember that end of an era and the beginning of a new chapter of adulthood and our life, and coming of age, and falling in love or falling out of love, and so I think it’s a universal story that everyone can resonate with.
And everyone can just feel warm about it. Especially now, in this tumultuous world of ours, it’s sometimes just nice to go back to a feeling of home and a feeling of love and life and people and connection. So basically, if you want to feel warm and fuzzy, and if you enjoy that summer vibe, you gotta see it. I’m very excited to see it. I loved the script when I read it, it was one of the best scripts I read that year. So I was very happy to be a part of it.