Season 5 of Power is set to premiere on July 1 on Starz, and while fans are excited, many are still mourning the death of Raina from the finale of Season 4.
She was gunned down by crooked cop Ray Ray, who was intending to kill her troubled twin, Tariq. He shot her after she told him that she was onto him and that he needed to stay away from her brother. It was very hard to say goodbye, especially since Raina was a good kid. Season 5 will involve Ghost, Tommy and — shocker — Kanan teaming up to avenge Raina’s death and take down mutual foe, Dre.
But before that happens, creator and showrunner Courtney Kemp has some explaining to do.
She recently took part in the The Hollywood Reporter‘s Showrunners Roundtable conversation, and was asked, straight up, about her decision to kill off a child character.
“The show is governed by the concept of the surprising and the inevitable,” she said. “So the dominoes have to fall a certain way. The character’s brother had committed a series of acts, for which, in their world, you get got. So then, his sister, being a white hat on our show, tries to save her brother from from his fate. And as a result of him making these choices, she’s the one who gets hurt. That is surprising because it’s not him, but it’s inevitable, because he made some terrible choices. So in terms of the storytelling, I always feel like the story leads you where it’s supposed to go. Sometimes you want to buck that. Sometimes you don’t want that. Sometimes you don’t want that character to die. And in the case of my show, characters die every season. Sometimes you don’t want that. I’ve had actors who I’ve loved and I was like [fake cries] as I typed their demise. In that case, I felt like there was no other choice.”
So how hard was it to tell the actress who played Raina, Donshea Hopkins, that she was going to have to say goodbye to her character and the show? According to Kemp, it wasn’t easy because Hopkins took it hard.
“I always talk to them about a week before the production draft goes out. Because when the production draft goes out, the department heads are going to know and department heads will talk. So you have to control that,” she said. “Also, I don’t want anyone else to know. And in this case, you have to talk to the actor and their mom. This was not the first actor I’d killed off the show by the way. This was like deep into Season 4, of a lot of people getting got on the show. So it was more, I think, for the child actor, she was frightened and confused. Then you bring the parent in to say, ‘Hey, it’s not the end of the world. There will be other jobs.’ That kind of thing.”
After the Season 4 finale, Hopkins talked about how she, as well as fans of the show, reacted to Raina’s fate.
“When Courtney [A. Kemp] told me I was like, ‘Really?’ I was like, ‘Me? Raina?'” she said. “People were hurt. People were messaging me like, ‘Bring Raina back!’ There’s even hashtags and petitions and people were making T-shirts and obituaries and funeral plans.”
That loss still sucks. But we’re looking forward to seeing how the aftermath of it all plays out come July 1.