‘The 100’ Star Zach McGowan on Roan’s Odds of Survival

“He’s definitely a presence throughout the season,” new addition to CW post-apocalyptic drama tells TheWrap of what’s to come for his character

While “The 100” may be known as a show where anyone can – and someone probably will – die at any moment, new Grounder Roan may be sticking around for a while.

This, despite the fact that he’s about to enter into a big gladiator-style head-to-head battle with the Grounder commander Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) in the newest episode.

“I did a number of episodes, so he’s definitely a presence throughout the season,” teased star Zach McGowan, who joined the show in Season 3.

Three episodes in, Roan has gone from merciless bounty hunter to complicated prince of the Ice Nation and sometimes ally to Clarke (Eliza Taylor).

Below, McGowan talks about how Starz’s “Black Sails,” where he plays Captain Charles Vane, helped prepare him for the role of Roan, what it was like filming the big sword-fight scene, and when we might learn more about his mysterious character.

Was there anything from “Black Sails” that you took to help you play Roan?
I think with every part you do, you become a better actor. I’ve learned from my experiences on that. I definitely got to sharpen my stunts here and on “Black Sails” so if anything I took a lot of that with me. And just the general stuff that I always take from roles. The [Roan] role came about specifically because [“The 100” showrunner Jason Rothenberg] is a fan of my work on “Black Sails,” I met him and he was like “Hey, do you want to come do this?” I asked when does it start and he said, “In two days.” So I went alright, I’ll come up there and do it. So yeah, it was pretty cool.

Roan is still pretty mysterious, how well will we get to know him over the course of the season?
You get to find out a great deal about him throughout the season. I did a number of episodes, so he’s definitely a presence throughout the season. You’ll get to find out a lot of about him.

How much do you know about his history and how much did you have to fill in for your own process?
When you play a character there are choices you have to make about the past, the present, the future, etc. You have to make those choices on your own a lot. But also speaking to Jason, he helps guide me, as well as the other producers, writers, directors. I know a lot, but I always say, TV is just like real life. There’s a lot you know, and there’s a lot you don’t know, and that’s just the way it goes.

What was it like filming the Roan and Lexa fight scene?
It was pretty fun. Doing sword work is always pretty fun. Getting to work with Alycia on her first sequence like that was really cool. She was a super champ. We had a lot of fun doing it. Every time you do a big sword fight surrounded by a couple of hundred extras, it’s a fun day at work.

We’ve mostly seen you with Lexa, Clarke and Queen Nia (Brenda Strong). Have you gotten to work with any of the other cast members?
Yeah, I’ve kind of worked with everyone, at some point. And just by the nature of the show, you’re on set at the same time a lot, because you might be shooting at a similar location, etc. so yeah, I’ve gotten to work and hang out

[At the time of this interview] they’re filming the season finale right now. Are you filming today?
I’m not in Vancouver right now, but I was there very recently.

“The 100” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.

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