Luna was a character that had a reputation before she ever graced our screens.
She was a loyal friend to Lincoln, and she represented a form of peace that none of the other characters prepared themselves for at the time. She was an unattainable example of doing better on a show that always straddled that line.
But it wasn't until the audience got to see Nadia Hilker embody the role of Luna that her extraordinary presence on the show really started.
Luna was captivating because of how honest she was when it came to making hard choices, which other characters sometimes struggled with themselves. She had her morals, and she was always looking to exist in peace.
This was a strange concept when The 100 always put the other characters in difficult positions with no good choices. But Luna made it look easy; there was a way to just stop killing and to find happiness.
Nadia Hilker rose to that challenge, and she quickly became one of the most meaningful presences on our TV screen. It was truly an honor to see a character like Luna played by Nadia, who understood and believed in the strength and resilience behind each scene.
Nadia's impact on the show was so prevalent that even with Luna's exit, it felt like it was too soon to lose out on a character like that. The hope that she brought to the show was never forgotten, and neither was Nadia's contributions.
Taking some time out to answer our questions, Nadia Hilker shares her thoughts on the meaning that Luna managed to bring the show and what it was like to approach a character that was so anticipated.
Nadia also talks about the most meaningful part of her time on The 100, and how fans have played an important role in her life since.
What was it like being on a show like The 100?
Pretty much everything I’ve done as an actress has been in that apocalypse world or realities that are not our real realities, fantasy-type worlds, at least in the United States.
Luna was a character I loved from the very beginning. Just the costumes alone -- I remember for my first fitting, I saw a drawing, and I was blown away. When I did my final fitting, the costume was not a normal costume I was used to wearing.
I thought it was super exciting and fun and loved all the fight sequences and training in that department. I was super thrilled and excited.
While we formally met Luna during The 100 Season 3, the show began mentioning her as early as The 100 Season 1. How did you approach playing a character that had a legacy before ever physically appearing on the show?
That’s a similar thing for me, at the moment, being on The Walking Dead, because I’m portraying a comic character. All the fans knew Magna before and had very strong opinions.
I feel like the same slightly about Luna. I learned to stop trying to figure out what people want or what would be the right thing to do or not.
I spoke to Jason Rothenberg a lot about Luna, and he was able to tell me about her. I took it all in and then created my version of Luna.
But thank God I never tried to create a Luna that everybody would love, but someone I thought was my version of her.
Luna was very multilayered, and she represented an idea of peace that not many possessed on a show like The 100. What was it like for you to balance Luna’s calmer demeanor with the way she didn’t always go along with what everyone agreed with and had her own perspective?
What I loved about Luna was that she never forced anyone else to live her version of her right life. She never tried to convince anyone that her way of living life is the right version.
It was never about right or wrong, but she had a hard time if people didn’t respect her version of the life that she wanted to be living.
That’s pretty much what happened when we met Luna. Out with her people on the ocean, she found a way of living in the world peacefully.
They were working hard, her and her people, to build that.
But then people from outside came and tried to destroy it. They tried to convince her that she has to do certain things. I think the second people didn’t respect what she thought was right; they showed they were brutal.
They tried to force her to do things she didn’t want to do. And that’s when they crossed the line with Luna where she’s like, “I am peaceful, and I am for peace. I don’t want to kill, but don’t force me to kill you.”
That’s when we learned there’s another side of her when people didn’t respect her space and what she stood for.
Luna and Clarke shared a few memorable scenes as they tried to find common ground while dealing with their different perspectives. What was it like playing off Eliza in those scenes?
I love Eliza. Eliza and I became really good friends. I genuinely enjoyed it.
It’s always tricky because you get to spend time together, and you hang out as Nadia and Eliza, but then you’re on set, and you’re both these characters.
You have to use your fantasy and go back into character. Maybe we had dinner last night, and we were talking about boys, but right now, it’s Luna and Clarke and, this girl’s not respecting what I’m standing for.
It was fun, and Eliza a hundred percent became Clarke. Put her in her costume, and she’s back.
It’s just so organic for her, and I genuinely enjoyed playing opposite everyone on the show. It’s an amazing cast, and I miss them all so dearly. It was a lot of fun.
Fans quickly picked up on the energy and chemistry between Luna and Raven. The relationship wasn’t written romantically, but there was obvious subtext. How did you and Lindsey approach your scenes together?
It’s interesting because sometimes as an actor, you do something, but while you’re doing it, you don’t realize what the impact it’s going to have while it’s airing.
Frankly, while shooting, when Luna was holding Raven when she lost it for a minute, I didn’t even think that there might be eventually anything slightly romantic between those two. It was just love.
That goes back to who Luna is genuinely. Deep down, she just wants peace, and she wants everyone to have their peace within themselves, and that’s really everything in that moment. She tried just to help her, give her love, and hold her.
I can only speak for myself, but there was not one second where I said, “Oh, okay, they’re interesting.”
But then watching it, I saw something, too.
There was the scene where Luna is about to take-off, and Raven wants to stop her; that was something where I wished that Raven would have stepped on that boat with Luna and sailed away to find a peaceful place and start a new clan.
Was there anyone you wished you shared more scenes with that you didn’t get the chance to?
Tasya and Jess are dear friends of mine, and we’re always in contact, hanging out whenever we’re in the same place. Tasya and I weren’t in a scene, but we were on set on the same day.
So, I would say Jess and Tasya.
During season four, Luna went from working with many of the main characters to deciding that she was going to fight in the conclave against humanity. We missed her moving from the first point to the next. How did you fill in those like narrative blanks for yourself as you channeled this new side of Luna?
These people approached me on my island and forced me to do something I didn’t want to do. My love got killed. My little girl got killed. I lost so many people, and I feel like they triggered Luna.
For a second, she lost everything that she was standing for. All the hope she had these people killed in her.
Before she found that home she built, she had a hard time believing that people are good and that there is good in people.
Because of the conclave, the way she grew up, and all the things that she experienced in her childhood, it took her a long time to get to a place where she trusted people again.
But she found peace, and she finally was living that version of herself. Then these people come and take it all away from her.
That did something to her to where she went back to that place where she didn’t believe that humans are good.
So, Luna’s faith in humanity slowly dwindled during her time on The 100. But as we’re in the final season of the show, the characters are still trying to follow this advice of ‘doing better.’ After being on a show like The 100, do you personally think it’s possible for them to do better?
I think everything is possible, as long as the circumstances are right. I always say I’m definitely not a murderer. Nothing in my body is able to kill. But if you were to kill everyone I love, that would put me in a position. I think the circumstances make a killer or a hero.
But, I truly believe that with the right circumstances, everything is possible. You can turn from a monster into a loving angel.
That’s not the best example, but I really believe in circumstances.
Not only in the world of The 100, but in general, if you have nothing to lose, and if there’s nothing in your life that’s worth living, of course, it’s easier to kill someone.
Of course, it’s easier to be a bad person because there’s nothing to live for or to fight for.
There’s no hope. There is nothing there.
Let’s say someone like Luna had someone left that she loved; it would be worth fighting for and surviving. I truly believe. Otherwise, this would be the worst place in the world because then there wouldn’t be hope.
That’s true. And, Luna’s last episode was that Hunger-Games-styled conclave, which was very intense, heavy, and chaotic. What was it like for you to film that episode as the final journey for Luna?
It was sad but exciting. It was a crazy night. It was raining. Trump won that night.
So, it was a very sad, sad day and night. Zach and I were so cold and wet, and it was a night I will never forget in my life, probably because of the circumstances. The fighting scenes were so intense and then the acid rain.
But it was the perfect way to go.
I wish she, as a nightblood, wasn’t stabbed from behind by Octavia. I was vocal about how I personally, Nadia Hilker, felt about Luna’s exit. I wish that it wasn’t as easy for Luna to turn around.
We established this character that is about love and peace and, and I thought it was a little sad that she turned so quickly. She also mentioned killing her brother.
Everything we learned at that point about nightbloods was that they were the best fighters. And she was just stabbed in the back. I wish it would have been a little harder to get rid of Luna.
But, it was an epic night, and I will never forget it. It was a great way to leave the set of The 100.
The fans definitely, I think, agree with you on that sentiment about Luna.
I feel like if you establish a character like that, there is so much hope. I feel like it’s a responsibility you have because it’s not only about Luna, it’s about the thousands or millions of people out there that feel a connection to that character because they’ve walked a mile in her shoes.
I just didn’t love the message.
I definitely felt from the response from the fans that it meant so much to The 100 fanbase that a character like Luna is on the show.
Therefore, I wish that the message wouldn’t have been, ‘You killed two people and then go crazy and brag about how she would kill Lexa or her kill own brother in the conclave.’
That upset me a little bit.
You’re completely right. The 100 likes to go back and forth on hope on the show. But, Luna left behind an amazing memory. She was one of my favorite characters, and from beginning to end, I was on her side. Moving on, what was your favorite part or memory from The 100?
I was in Vancouver at the end of the year, shooting another show, and I hung out with all of [The 100 cast]. I know there are so many people from the show that are my friends.
They’re all going to be at my wedding, and I’m going to be connected to Sachin, Jess, and all of these people for the rest of my life because they became my family.
That’s something I am so beyond grateful for.
I love Jason for introducing me to these people. And also the locations, the amazing crew, and a lot of laughter. But if I had to pick one thing, then it’s the cast.
What did you learn from your time on the show?
I learned how to fight. I think my toughest choreography has been on that show. It was the first time I got intensive, serious weapons training, and learned choreography.
The bummer was my biggest fight scene was against Zach. I’ll never in my life again, see anyone better in anything, when it has to do with fighting than Zach is.
So, I felt so bad, the opposite of him, because I had a stunt double while he did all of his stunts and choreography by himself.
He made me feel worse about myself than I should have felt because I think I did a pretty good job. But he’s amazing.
You did come out on top at the end! You did kill him.
Exactly. Thank you. That’s true. Write that in the article. But, the fighting is something I’m very grateful for.
To pivot, what was it like to transition from The 100, which has a very strong fan base and is well-known in certain circles, to The Walking Dead, which also is very well known in pop culture.
I think that the biggest difference is that for me, as an actress, on The Walking Dead, I’m one of the younger characters.
With The 100, we’re all the same age and would go out, have dinner, and talk about boys and girls, and The Walking Dead is more grown-up. They have kids, not all of them, but some of them. They’re married, and they have kids, and it’s work.
Not that we’re not friends, and I love all my coworkers on The Walking Dead, but it’s more: we all come to work, we show up, we work, and then we all go home.
But it’s not that I don’t like it. I like that too. The Walking Dead, in terms of filming, is more difficult, but only because of the humidity where we shoot in Atlanta during the summer.
Right now I’m in Germany because of Covid-19, but we would be filming right now, and it’s very hot. When you’re out there in your combat boots and jeans all day long, and you get bit all the time by some animals.
There is a dead deer that’s not too far away that’s been sitting in the sun, dead, for days and the smell -- just the demons are more intense.
Since your time on The 100, you’ve done a few The 100-related conventions. What has it been like connecting with fans in person after your time on the show?
I know this sounds intense, but The 100 fans healed me.
What I mean by that is, I got bullied in school, and I never talked about it. I never opened up about it. Maybe because I was embarrassed, or maybe because I felt like nobody believes me because now I’m an actress.
And why did anyone bully her? I definitely connected, and I told the fans this too.
Still, to this day, when I enter a train, and there is a group of school kids entering the train, whispering and laughing, I instantly think they’re laughing or they’re talking about me, or saying mean things about me.
I would sometimes even exit the train, even though it wasn’t my stop because I felt so uncomfortable because it triggered me. Nadia, from 15 years ago, takes over.
The 100 fans, because there are so many fans of the show, can be outsiders of society, or they don’t feel accepted. They all were talking about their experiences so bravely and openly. I got so inspired by this fanbase and by how strong, smart, and brave these young, beautiful human beings are.
Our fans are so brave for opening up about their fears and how they’re suffering, asking their questions about life, the show, and us.
So at those conventions, I open up, and I tell them what happened to me. I was so grateful to see that it was giving them hope.
Seeing them listening or hearing that that also happened to me and that I’m one of them, healed me.
I think there will always be a part of me that’s going to be insecure from my past. But, because of the fans, I feel comfortable talking about it openly now, and I’m so grateful for that.
So, going back to the question you asked before, the best thing that came out of The 100 is probably the fans.
The most beautiful thing to me about the show is that [the fans] were able to turn me talking about my biggest fears and insecurities into something positive. That was powerful for me.
What can you share about some of your current upcoming projects and things you’re working on during all of this?
I was supposed to go back to The Walking Dead at the end of April. That’s not happening right now, and I wasn’t able to make any other commitments.
I also did an episode for the Twilight Zone, which aired on June 25th. That is another show about mystery, and it’s not reality, in a way.
For The 100 fans still looking for some more nostalgia, TV Fanatic will continue a new, ongoing, The 100 interview series, "Looking Back on The 100," that centers on monumental cast members and characters from the show that left their mark.
We recently spoke with Eli Goree about his time on the show during The 100 Season 1 and the legacy he left behind. Then we also spoke with Michael Beach and the journey he had when it came to The 100.
We then had the chance to take a walk down memory lane with the iconic Christopher Larkin, as he talked about his time playing Monty Green. And we got to hear Aaron Ginsburg's insight on his most iconic episodes and his writing journey on The 100. We also spoke with Leah Gibson about #GinaWasReal and her experience on the show.
Keep checking TV Fanatic for more upcoming interviews with surprise cast members from seasons past.
Share all your thoughts with us in the comments section! Stick around TV Fanatic for more features, slideshows, episode previews, interviews, and reviews of the upcoming season, and watch The 100 online if you need to catch up on the adventure.
Yana Grebenyuk is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.