Lexa left her legacy in Las Vegas as the uproarious, wonderful ClexaCon
"It’s the fanbase’s connection and adoration of the character that inspires the passion driving the force of keeping Lexa’s Legacy alive"
Nicola Choi reflects on how The 100’s dearly departed Lexa left her mark
There are certain phrases you will simply associate with television and media alike just because. Who actually was the first to say, “Television isn’t in a vacuum”? Whoever they are, they coined the entertainment industry’s equivalent to Albert Einstein’s E = mc2 equation.
So, why not throw another one into the mix? And that phrase is “Lexa’s Legacy” - something coined after Alycia Debnam-Carey’s poorly executed exit from the show, and the movement it spurred henceforth. For the second year running now, ClexaCon has reigned supreme over Las Vegas for several nights, bringing into the mix everyone’s favourite television ships, as well as an emotional trip down memory lane.
It’s very easy to point out some facts that every ClexaCon-goer would likely wish weren’t true. The titular ship, Clarke (Eliza Taylor) and Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) from The 100, have not been present at either con. In fact, there haven’t been any guests from The 100, which was the catalyst for all of this. But then again... does it really matter?
For the safety of residents of Las Vegas, it’s probably best Taylor and Debnam-Carey have not shown their faces at the same panel yet. There’s only a certain capacity of shrieking a hall can surely hold, and I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see ClexaCon carry on hitting the headlines in a positive, life-changing way rather than reports of overexcited Grounder cosplayers dropping like flies when they see their Commander walk past.
I jest, I jest. Of course the goal would be to have Debnam-Carey in particular speak about the situation that unfolded in regards to her exit. It’s already been reported extensively that execs higher up within the show and network knew of Lexa’s demise and Debnam-Carey’s non-conflicting schedule, and purposefully manipulated and misled queer audiences in their safe space.
There seems to be no denying the underhand tactics utilised by senior staff in order to save the teen show from itself and its poor ratings. And yet, wonderfully, where network executives and/or showrunners robbed the LGBTQ community of their safe space (e.g. lesbian/bi women’s forums) they inadvertently spawned a bigger one for a bigger cause. We daresay it’s a much queerer safe space too.
I wonder how many people out there still say derisively: “It’s just television. Get over it.”
I wonder how many of those people realise the collective pain, tears and heartbreak experienced when this particular character died. I wonder how many people did indeed contact The Trevor Project. I wonder how many lives The Trevor Project has since saved. And, awfully, how many lives The Trevor Project couldn’t get to in time. I wonder if such hurtful generalisation is tolerated anymore.
Let me ask: how come characters like Han Solo or Harry Potter are allowed to remain storytelling icons and inspirations, but not the lesbian commander who fell victim to the BYG trope?
Ms Mo Ryan wrote at Variety of the “100 mess”:
“When things go south, don’t pretend nothing happened.”
Events like ClexaCon have taken that statement and run away with it. When you step back and see the seismic impact Lexa’s death had on fanbases, paired with the hundreds of thousands of dollars raised for charity, how can you say anymore that it’s just a television show? If it had been just that, The 100 would’ve been long forgotten. It’s the fanbase’s connection and adoration of the character that inspires the passion driving the force of keeping Lexa’s Legacy alive.
Most beautifully, Lexa’s Legacy may sound exclusive but it really isn’t. On the contrary. If Lexa was a beacon - a catalyst, that kickstarted it all - then inclusivity is what propels this movement forward. Fans from different areas of the world, different generations and different fandoms have now recognised ClexaCon as a safe place to be yourself: loud, proud and queer.
Think of it this way. Instead of dividing the clans on the show and perpetuating war, Commander Lexa formed a coalition; she wanted unity over fighting. If Lexa’s Legacy can be compared to anything on the show, surely it can be that: the coalition. It isn’t exclusionary of other clans (or fans).
The Commander welcomes new folk, the Sky People (new fans) and treats them as her own. From the heartwarming stories of acceptance and people meeting soulmates at these events, it’s safe to say that Lexa may be gone from our screens. But legacies live on within our hearts, and let us hope ClexaCon will be one of many to instigate the inclusionary nature of fandom, by bringing us all together as one clan.
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