The 100 came with a few surprises when it decided to introduce a universe of new planets, and Levitt was definitely one of them.
Levitt was a character that came out nowhere, but along the way, he had perfect timing and the compassion that Bardo was desperately lacking. He was there for Octavia when she needed a person in her corner, and just like that, he became the outside man on call.
From the moment he watched Octavia's memories and learned that there was another way to live, Levitt was trying to find the middle-ground between his life's mission and experiences he never had before.
Jason Diaz took on the challenge of exploring Levitt, building a character from mannerisms and unspoken motivations.
To have a storyline set in a place like Bardo, there needs to be a promise of something better. Levitt took that title on in stride, offering kindness to every new character that crossed his path.
And even if he had to take a beating from Echo and a shot from his own people along the way, all of it still got him to his original goal. Transcendence.
That is probably why it was so surprising to see Levitt make the choice to come back at the end of The 100 Season 7 Episode 16, but it defines the character yet again.
Levitt arrived, offering hope to our favorite characters, and he left with the promise of a peaceful, happy ending. For a show that finds itself drawn to darkness and death, going on this short and sweet experience with Levitt was worth the wait.
Taking some time out to answer our questions, Jason Diaz shares his thoughts on Levitt's world-changing when he met Octavia, what it meant to be on the final season of The 100, and what he learned from his time on the show.
Jason also touched on the possibilities of exploring Levitt and Bellamy's connection(s) through Bardo.
What was it like being on a show like The 100?
It was a great honor for me to be a part of this show, especially coming in for their final season. Being trusted with being a part of wrapping everything up was special. They had built such a great world through six seasons, and getting the opportunity to come in at the end was a true pleasure.
What was the most challenging part of playing Levitt or being on the Bardo set?
I think the most challenging part about playing Levitt was his a lot of his emotions and his reactions needed to be very small and very subtle because the character could never show the emotions he was feeling to his superiors.
I think trying to find a balance between being subtle and not doing anything at all was the biggest challenge.
In the beginning, Levitt felt like a character that was almost too good to be true. From day one, he was there for Octavia and popped up whenever she needed him. Some fans wondered at first if he was working both sides or he was tricking her. Did you know beforehand that Levitt was a good guy the whole time? Or were you also questioning his intentions as well?
I didn't actually have confirmation on whether or not Levitt would be good throughout the whole season. I suspected that he would. I think he was there to help in a small way to facilitate Octavia's storyline, and I thought he would be a good guy for Octavia the whole time.
But I did see that. It's shell shock to people who were like, “I've watched this show for too long, no way a character is good all the way to the end.”
Even though everyone in Bardo was there for all mankind, Levitt did start to show emotion for Octavia quite early. He was willing not just to do things for all mankind, but he was willing to do things for specific people. He had more compassion.
Do you have any thoughts about why you think Levitt was so different from everyone in Bardo towards the main characters?
I think for Levitt, seeing Octavia’s memory was the first time that Levitt saw another way to live.
It was the first time he saw people care about each other. It was the first time he saw people love each other in that way and be willing to make sacrifices for the people they loved.
Because being brought up on Bardo, there was none of that, right? Being brought up on Bardo, there is only the sole goal to transcend. Nobody really matters because the only thing that matters is everyone.
I think it's just seeing Octavia's life and seeing how exciting it is to have choice, to have love and to lose and to do all this stuff. I think that affected him in a way where he kind of envied not having that.
Most of Levitt that we saw was through his scenes with Octavia. How was it exploring his relationship with Octavia and working with Marie Avgeropoulos so heavily in the final season?
Working with Marie was awesome. Marie is such a talented actress and, she's a lot of fun in between takes. She's a very, very nice person. So getting along with Marie is very, very easy.
In terms of Levitt and Octavia, I think it was a hilarious relationship because it was almost a role reversal with Lincoln and Octavia.
At first, Lincoln was the one kind of showing Octavia how to be and molding her. And then, in the end, Octavia is the Lincoln-type character in that relationship where she's kind of guiding and helping Levitt grow.
I think that was a really interesting take as well. And having Levitt trying to desperately prove that he can make his own choices and stuff was a lot of fun as well.
There were so many locations this season, but time was also very different, where at some points in the season we would not visit a location for a while. How did you approach getting back into Levitt as an actor, even though so much time has passed between filming the episodes, but for him, it was maybe a day that had passed?
There was a lot of jumping back and forth. Not jumping back and forth in time, but a lot would happen, and then very little happened somewhere else.
The challenge was making sure you were paying attention to your specific timeline. I had to keep reminding myself of that, where it's been three episodes, but for Levitt it's been five minutes or one night. So, it was making sure that I wrote it down. Like this is immediately after this.
Levitt had a very pivotal moment in the finale. It was quite shocking and funny, but it was also very important when he went out into the middle of the battleground, and he was like, “Guys, let's just try to have some peace.” He obviously got shot for that. It didn't really end well for him.
What was like doing that whole Bardo sequence? It was very high impact, from the speech to the shooting to the transcending.
First of all, what we’ve learned is don't run onto a battlefield and throw your gun away. Okay? That's the first thing we learned. Because you get shot.
But, that entire sequence for me was really fun because Levitt never stopped believing in transcendence. He stopped believing in Cadogan, or Bill, yeah, but he never stopped believing in transcendence.
Levitt just learned through his experience with Octavia and with our heroes that there's another way to do it. Like we can't torture kids, we can't start wars and then expect to be accepted by a higher power, or whatever it is judging us.
So, to come out and be the person that is like, “Hey, both sides, there's a different way to achieve transcendence,” was cool. I feel like it was a fun pay-off to Levitt’s character arc throughout the season.
Then, to get shot and almost die was also really fun as an actor to play. I remember on the actual day, it was me and Tasya, who plays Echo.
We were both dying on the floor, and it was soaking wet because it had just rained in Vancouver. We were on the floor for hours, just freezing. So, that is one of my favorite memories of the season.
For most of the season Levitt didn't get to spend time with a lot of the other characters. If he had spent time with someone else, it would have been great to see him with Bellamy. They ended up sort of on the same track in their belief of transcendence. They were both not really feeling Bill, and if Bellamy hadn't died, it would have been interesting to see Octavia’s boyfriend and her brother come together because they do have quite a lot in common.
How do you think that would have looked? Do you believe Levitt and Bellamy would have maybe been able to have an interesting bond?
I think it is very interesting because, in the end, they did have so much in common where they both believed in transcendence. Bellamy's whole struggle was that he believed in transcendence, but he was having a hard time believing in the specific way that Cadogan was going about it.
That was the same thing with Levitt in the end.
I think it would have been really fun for me because Bellamy was one of my favorite characters coming into the show. It would've been really fun to see Levitt and Bellamy team up to try to stop that last war. And then perhaps getting Octavia's brother's approval on Octavia’s relationship would have been fun too.
It would have been really great!
You mentioned that Levitt spent his whole life preparing to hopefully one day transcend. He still believed in that until the very end, but in the last scene, he decided not to transcend so that he could spend the rest of his days with Clarke, but also obviously with Octavia.
What do you think about that since his whole belief system was based on transcendence, but he did still give that up?
I loved the fact that Levitt chose to come back at the end. I don't know if it was always the plan.
When we got the final script and Levitt came back, I was excited about that because, in the end, after being raised to do one thing and one thing only, he ends up getting that chance, and he turns it away. He turns it down so that he can live a life.
It’s with Octavia, of course, but it's also the first time he gets to live a life where he can make his own choices and love and feel hurt and feel all this stuff. For the first time, he doesn't have to live by a code. He can just be free.
I think that is also kind of the storyline for everyone that chose to come back. For the first time, they chose a life of peace. I think it was a great way to wrap it all up.
You mentioned that Bellamy was your favorite character before you got on the show. Fans really liked Levitt because he seemed like a fanboy as he watched Octavia's memories and was like, “Wow. I really loved season three of that.” So that was also you? Did you watch the show before you came on on it?
I did. I started watching The 100 live during season two, and then I had to go back and watch season one, but I've been watching since season two.
To be able to join the cast after all this time watching them and then be a part of the final season was really fun. And hilarious that I played a character that was a fan of The 100. It’s just funny how that worked out.
What was your favorite memory of The 100?
I've said this one before, but one of my favorite memories is episode nine, “The Flock.” We had that birth chamber scene.
It was me, Marie [Avgeropouolos], Tasya [Teles], Shelby [Flanery], Ivana [Miličević], and Neil McDonough was still there. None of us could keep a straight face looking at the terrifying baby they had in that water. We were like, “What is happening?”
There were literally ten takes in a row where we just all burst out laughing. I was pretty sure we were going to get fired that day, but we didn’t, so thank goodness. So, that’s one.
My second favorite memory on the show is filming that whole last war scene and being there with the entire cast. Not so much even in the filming; it was just feeling how excited everybody was to be there for the last few days was a memory that I'll always have for sure. It was a lot of fun.
Was there an added weight being in the last episode in the last season of The 100? What was that like going on not only an adventure with The 100 but their final adventure, making it to the end?
There's definitely pressure because you have such a passionate fan base with The 100, and you want to do your best to make sure that they love the final season, whether they like your character or don't like your character.
You want to make sure that the performance is good. Because some characters aren't supposed to be liked, some characters are villains. But you want to make sure that you give your best on this final season because it is the last season that the fans are gonna get.
Also, there's the bittersweet feeling of being a fan of the show, finally booking the show, and then it's the last season, and it's like, “Ah! Are you sure we can't get an eight?”
Maybe Levitt could appear on the prequel if it gets picked up.
Maybe I hope so. I think we should start that trending. Yes.
As a fan of the show, what was it like? Were you happy with how the season ended? Not as someone who was part of it, but as someone who watched the show and loved certain characters and those kinds of things.
I loved the fact that everyone chose to come back. I think in terms of story, it's beautiful that everybody showed up for Clarke in the end -- Clarke, who throughout the entire series, has been sacrificing everything for the people she loves.
Then, in the end, when everybody is given the option of eternal life, peace, no pain, and whatever, they say, “No, thank you. We're good. We're going to be with Clarke because she's earned that.” I think it was a beautiful way to wrap it up.
And then also the way that they paid off the fact that we did do better, with the whole thing that Monty started back in season five. “We need to do better. Not everything is through violence.” I thought it all wrapped up nicely.
What did you learn from your time on the show?
As an actor, I learned so much. Watching Marie, watching Tasya, watching Bob the few days that I got to work with Bob, I learned so much about being in that position and how they treated everybody on set with so much kindness. They were always prepared. There’s a lot of professionalism that comes with it.
And that's the kind of stuff that I learned, and that was reinforced on the show. I also learned that I could not speak the grounder language to save my life. Because I tried. I looked at the script, and I was like, “Nope, that would never happen.”
I don’t know how they do it. I wouldn't be able to. Was there anyone you wish shared more scenes with or someone you wish Levitt had spent more time with? Or someone that you, as an actor, wanted to interact with more?
For sure. It's a two-character answer. Bellamy would have been one and Murphy.
I think the two personalities would have been hilarious. Levitt, who was buttoned up and by the book, and then Murphy, who is such a free spirit, I think would have been hilarious.
The other one would have been Bellamy, which Levitt was technically in the room with, but never actually interacted with.
When were they in the same space?
Episode five, when Bellamy gets blown through the wormhole, they're in the same room. Also, Levitt was technically in the room when Bellamy returns and meets Clarke, Octavia, and the gang. There was a little section that was cut.
It was actually released in a script. You came in to tell Octavia about Bellamy and there was that moment with Echo where you step back. That would have been interesting though.
So, that little section was cut, but Levitt was in the room for that entire scene. So technically I was with Bellamy.
And technically he’s the first one to find out that he was alive with that investigative work during The 100 Season 7 Episode 11.
I was hoping that Levitt would go get Bellamy. I was like, “Oh, maybe this is the episode where Levitt and Bellamy get to interact.” But no, it didn't happen.
I wish it would have happened. It felt very much like towards the end that Levitt's scenes could've been Bellamy scenes. So, it felt like they very much could have been working on it together.
I feel like their paths were headed towards the same place. They were headed towards the same realization. Bellamy was coming from love first and then believing in transcendence. For Levitt, it was coming from transcendence and then believing in love. But they were meeting at the same point where it was a bit of both.
Going back to Levitt and Octavia. What do you think Levitt learned from his time with Octavia?
In general, I think Octavia showed him how to love and not just romantically, but how to love in general.
It’s okay to love and care about the people around you. To feel sadness when somebody dies and to feel beauty when somebody does something like that.
She taught him how to be human is what I ultimately think it is. He and everyone else on Bardo were very robotic in their beliefs. I think ultimately, Octavia taught Levitt what it meant to be human.
No pressure, Octavia.
You mentioned the Lincoln parallel, which I didn't even pick up on, but Levitt gave Octavia that Lincoln makeup in the finale, which is also a good way to bring it back full circle.
So this is my last question, and it’s more of a fun one. Both you and Eliza Taylor have shared some photos of you guys wearing different wigs. What was your favorite wig to try on during season seven?
You know what? I don't know why I didn't get a picture, but I tried on Indra’s wig. Adina’s head is much smaller than my head. So the way the wig fit was hilarious. For some reason, we didn't get a picture of that one.
And I am devastated because Eliza put out a recent photo of us, and now I have no return ammunition. I'm out of pictures.
For any The 100 fans looking for some nostalgia as the series concludes, TV Fanatic has a surprise interview series for you! "Looking Back On The 100" centers on monumental cast members and characters from the show that left their mark.
We spoke with Eli Goree about his time on the show, as well as Michael Beach about the journey he had, and we even took a walk down memory lane with Christopher Larkin and Aaron Ginsburg. We even checked in with Zach McGowan about that surprise return to the show.
We also spoke with Leah Gibson about #GinaWasReal and Nadia Hilker about creating the character of Luna.
Chai Hansen also looked back at the show with us when it came to his time on it as Ilian. And Charmaine DeGraté expanded on her writing journey with the show, as well as what it was like to write for Bellamy and Octavia Blake.
Lee Majdoub also shared about Nelson's connections and his final moments 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 final features, slideshows, and interviews of the last 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.