Lincoln was killed off on The 100 after actor Ricky Whittle left due to a reduced role and toxic environment with show creator Jason Rothenberg.
After being a regular character on The 100, Lincoln was killed off in season 3 because actor Ricky Whittle refused to continue working with showrunner Jason Rothenberg. Coming shortly after the even more controversial and high-profile death of Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey), Lincoln’s death cemented The 100 season 3 as being one of the more controversial and least-liked by fans of The 100.
Lincoln had been on the show since the first season, being the first of the Grounders that the main cast interacted with. He got into a relationship with Octavia Blake in the first season (Marie Avgeropoulos), taking Lincoln from a minor side character to an important part of the cast starting with season 2 – or, at least, that’s what was supposed to happen until personal conflicts got in the way.
Ricky Whittle left The 100 because he found it impossible to work with showrunner Jason Rothenberg. In an interview, Whittle said that “Rothenberg abused his position to make my job untenable”, and that he “chose to belittle me and neglect my character and myself. I often had questions and emails were ignored and things like that” (via AfterBuzz TV). Whittle never goes into the specifics of his disagreements with Rothenberg, but it’s clear that there was a fundamental issue between the two of them that led to Lincoln’s storyline being trimmed down, ultimately leading to him walking away from the show in season 3.
Despite having issues with Rothenberg, Whittle seemed to have no real problem with anyone else on the show. He even encouraged fans to keep watching after he had left, to support the rest of the cast and crew. The issue was just with Rothenberg, to the point that other writers on the show indicated that they were aware of Rothenberg’s bullying of Whittle and cutting down Lincoln’s role.
Lincoln’s part in The 100 being cut down led to Whittle leaving to play Shadow Moon in Starz’s American Gods series. After seeing how much Lincoln’s role was reduced, CW president Mark Pedowitz and Warner Television Group president Peter Roth gave Whittle permission to audition for American Gods, a role that he ultimately won. Notably, he didn’t leave because of getting the American Gods role. Instead, he got the role after deciding that he was leaving The 100.
Whittle had even tried to leave the show during the second season but never specified exactly what happened that kept him on board through season 3. It may not have been officially planned for Lincoln to die in The 100 season 3, but as often happens with TV shows, real life can end up writing the plot.
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The 100 Complete Series