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The Grounders

The story concept featured here for a LEXASPINOFF was born out of grief and a sense of injustice. One of the most remarkable television characters in recent memory, an inspiration and a hero to many, had been taken from us because she was a minor character, played by a guest star who producers failed to secure long-term (due to no fault of her own). A character that excited not just viewers, but critics and fellow cast members alike. A character that became the hope of a vulnerable minority community. And yet, she was killed off in what could not have been a more gruesome scenario: death by trope, because she dared to fight for positive change, because she dared to love.

The responsible writers claimed ignorance (a lie), to have underestimated her importance (a lie), to have had no other choice (a lie). How could they have ignored their responsibility as creators? How could they not take the resulting backlash and critique, both from fans and respected journalists, seriously? How could they refuse to make any visible attempts to right a wrong, to honor their own creation? We are talking about Lexa, of course. And while this story is about more than Lexa, it started with her. The Grounders, its current working title, was born out of the desire to tell Lexa’s story, honestly and free of tropes, with an ending (definitely not the one given to her on The 100) deserving and in character. As with everything else, Lexa does not exist in a vacuum. So her story will also be the story of her people, a story many have found more appealing than the hopeless ventures the delinquents are sent on season after season.

The story concept is non-linear, setting the main story line in Lexa’s present and her survival of the gunshot wound revealed at the beginning. The choice is as much creative as it is meant to allow for greater flexibility for production in view of talent requirements. Utilizing flashback scenes and episodes further allows for more creative freedom in perspective and pace, without abandoning the tone and voice of the overarching unifier, the greatest Commander of them all, Lexa. With her knowledge of the previous commanders, along with as of yet unrevealed sources, we will get to look back at how humanity survived the nuclear apocalypse and how the Grounder culture came to be. And we will finally learn about Lexa’s past and all those character connected to her we have come to love, but we given so little of in return.

There are many ways to tell Lexa's story, of course. But why would we want to just look at her past in a prequel of The 100, when we can actually rewrite some of the story that was meant to only serve that show's protagonists and experience a different kind of apocalyptic world that strives to find the light beyond the despair? The 100 kills off Grounders to suit their needs, and we do not think that it should determine the fate of those characters in a LEXASPINOFF in which they are the protagonists. Lexa's death in particular makes little sense for that character or her story - not to mention the Bury Your Gays trope that was employed to kill her off, which continued use in storytelling we actively oppose.

With the story concept of The Grounders, we envision this world based on The 100 but from the Grounders' point of view. We are not interested in retelling the story of the delinquents but focus on the story not told instead. It will mostly adhere to the Grounders backstory introduced in seasons 1-2 but diverge from the retcon the producers undertook in season 3. It will take similar liberties with any events pertaining the Grounders and their world, either because the Grounder storyline was utilized to progress the Sky People’s agenda without being true to their story and their character, or because we found gaps in the plot and inconsistencies or events that push far beyond the boundaries of what should and can be made believable considering the essential universal laws that still apply to this planet.

The 100 is an American post-apocalyptic science fiction drama television series set 97 years years after an all-out nuclear event decimated life on Earth. Loosely based on the first book in a series of the same name by Kass Morgan, the television series was developed by Jason Rothenberg with Alloy Entertainment and Warner Bros Television. 100 delinquents, give or take, are sent down to the surface and clash with those having survived on Earth: the Grounders. Needless to say, for the sake of telling the story from the delinquents’ perspective, and later all of those having lived on a space station all of their lives, the Grounders are painted as savages, meant to be mere pawns and plot devices.

What the producers perhaps did not expect was the positive viewer response to the Grounders, who embraced these minor characters often more so than those they were meant to be rooting for. The favorable feedback became overwhelming with the introduction of the Commander, the leader of the Grounders, Lexa. Viewers and critics chimed in and praised the show, particularly when it revealed Lexa to be an LGBT character, along with confirming that their lead character, Clarke of the Sky People, was the first openly bisexual female lead on American network television. However, triumph turned into tragedy soon after, and anyone with a vested interest in scripted US television or LGBT representation would have heard about The 100 mess, or how Lexa Deserved Better after March 3, 2016.

Lexa’s fate was shared by other beloved or promising Grounder characters - Anya, Lincoln, Nia, Ontari, Roan and Luna, just to name a few. The Grounders aims to turn their world upside down and counteract a forced plot in which ‘shocking’ and ‘cool’ is valued more than good, honest storytelling, that will excite based on the merit of the story and its characters, and in which these incredible characters are killed off for the sole sake of propping up invaders portrayed as heroes, falling prey to cliches and negative stereotypes. With The Grounders, we hope to be able to do Lexa and her people justice. We hope to tell the story all those The 100 fans, who have bought into the Grounder mystery and have been disappointed by their treatment on that show, will enjoy. To tell the story that will give the majority of Lexa fans, those who dream of a spinoff to see their hero alive again, no more reason to doubt that love is not weakness. A tall order indeed, but somebody has to do it.

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