‘The 100’: Marie Avgeropoulos on the Conclusion of Octavia’s Story

     June 17, 2020

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Over the course of the run of The CW series The 100, currently in its seventh and final season, Octavia Blake (Marie Avgeropoulos) has taken such a journey on her path to becoming the warrior and fighter that she is now. Her trajectory has always been surprising, sometimes shocking, and constantly evolving, and everything that she’s been through has shaped her into this woman who now finds herself in a whole new world.

During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actress Marie Avgeropoulos talked about how hard it was to end the series without really getting to say goodbye, with the production shut-down due to COVID, how often she was surprised by Octavia’s journey, that she grew at the same time as her character, how much the physicality of the role has empowered her, why she never wanted to know what her character would do next, whether she’s satisfied with the conclusion to Octavia’s story, and what she hopes to take home from the set.

the-100-season-7-posterCollider: While you’ve been stuck at home, have you developed a routine for yourself?

MARIE AVGEROPOULOS: Yeah, I’m trying to make sure I stick to somewhat of a routine, five days a week. I bought a Peloton, so now I’m on the Peloton, biking to nowhere. I’m gonna make sure that I don’t gain that 20 extra COVID pounds, to the best of my ability. I’m trying to go outside, and gardening helps. It’s awesome that the weather has warmed up ‘cause that’s definitely boosting everyone’s morale, as it’s gotten a little brighter. I’m up in Canada, so when COVID first started, there was still snow on the ground. I’m really thankful that I can go outside without a parka on.

After spending six seasons on a TV series, what was it like to go into the seventh season, knowing that you’re shooting the last season and that you’re saying goodbye to a character in a world that you’ve lived in for so long?

AVGEROPOULOS: It was difficult for me because we didn’t really get to say goodbye to one another, or compartmentalize the fact that we all spent seven years of our lives creating this wonderful story of The 100, and we didn’t get to have a wrap party or celebrate or really say goodbye to one another. That was the hardest thing for me. But I’m really thankful that we finished the show.

Did you guys form a group chat, so that you could say goodbye, after everything shut down, due to COVID?

AVGEROPOULOS: No. It was just like, “Okay, that’s a wrap. That’s it. That’s a forever wrap. And it’s also a forever wrap on your normal life.” It felt really ironically serendipitous to be filming a fake apocalypse show for seven years, and then walking into a real life apocalypse. And although I played Octavia Blake for so long, I still didn’t quite feel prepared, as I’m sure many don’t right now. It’s interesting to have to watch a story unfold on screen, and then all of us are experiencing it together. Especially in these times, I’m so thankful for FaceTime and video calls and checking in on my friends. I always try to check in on my friends that I know are doing this solo in their houses, and maybe even don’t have pets. It’s nice to check in on everyone and just make sure that everyone is hanging in there and making each other laugh.

When you shoot the final season of a show like this, does it feel different during the shoot? Did you try to do anything to document that it was the last season, or did you just try to play each scene, as you shot it?

AVGEROPOULOS: I try to take everything one day at a time, especially with how the writers would always surprise me, as an actress. The storyline, every week, was always completely different, one episode to the next. We never knew what was coming down the pipe, so that really made it enjoyable and ever-changing. That allowed me to be completely creative, with creating Octavia Blake, over these years, and making her as dynamic as possible. I like to shock the viewers, but the writers were also shocking me, every week, too.

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Image via The CW

What kind of scene was the last scene that you shot, for the season?

AVGEROPOULOS: Without giving anything away, I can’t even tell you who was with me because then I’d be telling you who’s alive and who’s not. The thing that was exciting to me was the fact that it warmed my heart, knowing that the show filmed one hundred episodes. I’m really proud of that achievement, and I’m so thankful that the fans have hung in there to join us on this epic journey that’s really taken me from my 20s into my 30s now. I’m really thankful for that. And it totally came full circle for me, with the way that I, as myself, would want to wrap up Octavia’s story. I think the fans are gonna love it.

What do you remember about your first day on this show?

AVGEROPOULOS: I remember my audition, which seems like a thousand years ago, or I guess I could say a hundred years ago. When I auditioned for Octavia Blake, I literally jumped up on the chair in the audition room, which was just marked by an X on the floor. That was a really long time ago. The truth is that Octavia grew up at the same time as I did because it was such a long run, playing her. I don’t really watch the show a ton, to be honest, ‘cause I don’t wanna give myself a complex there. I go there, I do my best, I put myself into the character, and I walk away. That’s it. For me, that’s how I feel like I can create the best art form. But she has changed so much, over the years. I’m so thankful and grateful to (showrunner) Jason Rothenberg, and all of the writers and crew that have supported the process of helping me allow her to change so much, over the years. They realized that I had athletic abilities, and they started writing to that and turned her into a warrior. They turned her into a leader that didn’t really know how to lead, but was faced with all of these difficult decisions. I’m really proud of the journey that Octavia and I have been on together.

The character and you, as a result, have become something of a bad-ass, by being on this show. Has the physicality and the stunts that you’ve gotten to do been something that has felt very empowering for you?  

AVGEROPOULOS: Yeah. I’ve always felt empowered, playing any sports. I grew up as a tomboy, and it’s no coincidence that Octavia became the same thing. I grew up playing basketball and volleyball. I have two Harley Davidson motorcycles. I love to ride horses. I play the drums. I love to snowboard a lot. It’s really cool, anytime I can use my athleticism in playing dramatic characters, at the same time. I find it rewarding.

Could you ever have pictured Octavia adding midwife to her list of skills, and that she would actually deliver a baby?

AVGEROPOULOS: No, but I would describe Octavia, this season, as nurturing and elevated and self-actualized. It’s gonna be another different layer and version of Octavia Blake, for the final season.

What did you enjoy about getting to dig into the life that Octavia and Diyoza were living with Hope? What was it like to work with the different actresses who were playing Hope?

AVGEROPOULOS: It was my first time working with children a lot, and it was really amazing. They were all so incredibly talented and sweet. I don’t even think they realize how good they are at what they do, ‘cause they’re kids. It was really interesting to work with an infant child. I had to ask the child’s real mom how to hold it correctly. It made me nervous, to be honest, because I, myself, haven’t had to do that yet.

Were you given an overview for what the season arc would be, or what Octavia’s journey in this last season would be, when the season started, or did you have to discover that, as each script came to you?

AVGEROPOULOS: I had to discover that, one step at a time, one day at a time, for myself. Also, I never ask. I never wanted to know what the future would hold for Octavia because I like to discover it, one page of the script at a time.

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Image via The CW

What was your reaction to learning where she would end up and how her journey would conclude? Was it surprising to you? Did you feel like it was a satisfying conclusion?

AVGEROPOULOS: Yes, I am incredibly satisfied with the way Octavia’s journey unfolded and is going to come to a close. It’s a storyline, for her character specifically, that people have not seen coming yet, and I’m excited to continually shock them.

Are there storylines that you wish you had gotten to spend more time exploring, or characters that you wish you’d gotten to see her interact with, but just never were able to because the story ended up going a different way?

AVGEROPOULOS: Working with an ensemble cast, as big as The 100 cast had grown and become, it was difficult to work with absolutely everyone. Who knows if I’m gonna live or die, but in one hundred episodes of The 100, I’ve always had the opportunity to keep it fresh, working with different actors and ultimately learning from each other. That was wonderful for me. I don’t I ever had a one-on-one scene with Richard Harmon. I don’t wanna sound ungrateful, but I wish I could have spent more time with absolutely everyone, but it’s virtually impossible when a cast is that big. But it also spices it up and keeps it ever-changing.

Did you have a favorite episode to shoot, this season?

AVGEROPOULOS: Yes. I was lucky enough to do a stunt that I had never done before. Octavia is a warrior and a fighter, physically and emotionally. She doesn’t give up. But this season, I got to learn a new skill, on set, that did scare me a little, but it was really fun.

Did you get to take anything home from the set that you feel represented the character for you?

AVGEROPOULOS: I did ask for Octavia’s sword. I have not received it yet, but that’s what I want.

The 100 airs on Wednesday nights on The CW.

Television