|“||He is Russell Lightbourne, seventh of his line, savior of Sanctum. And you will bow before using his name.||”|
|— Simone describing him.|
Russell Lightbourne was a recurring character in the sixth and seventh seasons. He is portrayed by JR Bourne and Sean Maguire and debuts in "Red Sun Rising". He served as one of the two main antagonists of Season Six, alongside Josephine Lightbourne.
In the Season Seven premiere "From the Ashes", Russell is killed by Sheidheda who secretly takes over Russell's host body. The Dark Commander then poses as Russell for a time before the truth is eventually revealed.
Russell was born on Earth, and when he was a young boy on Earth, his first pet dog bit his face. However, his father still loved the dog and refused to put him down, claiming that the dog deserves a second chance. A few years later, the dog attacked Russell's infant sister for crawling near his bowl, and two days later, Russell's sister had died. At some point, when he was an adult, he married Simone Lightbourne and they had a daughter, Josephine.
The Lightbourne family were sent aboard Eligius III to travel to the habitable moon Alpha to form a colony. Russell knew Becca Franko who thought him to be a "pompous ass". Russell preferred Alpha over Becca's choice of Planet Beta, fearing that Beta was too far from the other planets relative to the black hole that the mission worlds were in proximity to. The Lightbourne family arrived on Alpha, which Josephine renamed Sanctum, in 2045 and were original members of Mission Team Alpha. Russell was the team leader. However, on Day 21 of the mission, Russell killed Simone, Josephine, and others during a Red Sun eclipse induced psychosis.
Russell spent the next 25 years trying to figure out how to use Mind Drives to bring his family back. In 2070, he assisted Gabriel Santiago in bringing his daughter back via an adult black blood host. After this successful experiment, Russell and Gabriel managed to bring back Simone and the others who were killed. Russell became fascinated with the Temporal Anomaly, building Sanctum in its image, but eventually gave up on trying to understand its purpose. At some point, he also built a farmhouse for Simone as his wife had grown up in one on Earth.
His family become three of the Primes and used various hosts for the next two centuries to be reborn after each death. Russell was the "seventh of his line", that is, on his sixth host before his death at the hands of Sheidheda.
Throughout the Series
He appears to be a stern and kind leader. He is a charismatic leader, a visionary and pioneer, who rules over a "peaceful society."
He is also an atheist, as wanted to prove there's no God, believing that "God is dead".
During his first life, he seemed like a nice person, he seems to be kind and hardworking. He cares about his family and for a new settlement. However the eclipse caused him to become psychotic and kill his family and friends. After the eclipse had passed, he seemed to be wracked with guilt, as he spent the next 25 years with Gabriel trying to bring Josephine back through the Mind Drives before using it on the others he killed.
Before creating Sanctum, he wanted to build a peaceful society. He refuses to trust Clarke's people nor believe they're innocent, because of their dark history of violence and killing, seeing it as a threat to his Utopian community.
Although he was willing to murder Clarke Griffin to get Josephine back, Russell expressed remorse for his actions. After discovering that Clarke survived, he wanted to bring her back and put Josephine into a new, willing host to make that wrong right. He also balked at the idea of executing the people from Earth as he still wanted a peaceful end to things, showing that he is not naturally as bloodthirsty as his wife seems to be.
After Simone is assassinated, Russell's personality changes completely and he loses all hesitation in his desire to get revenge, willing to burn people at the stake to get it as a form of justice. He begins acting more ruthless, though he is willing to give the people from Earth a chance to earn their freedom by helping to replicate Nightblood using bone marrow transfusions so he can save his wife rather than giving into his bloodlust completely.
He is also willing to kill his own people for opposing him and his Prime family, just like what he did to Tai when he burned him at the stake, and what he did to others when he thrown a Red Sun Toxin bomb at the citizens to kill non-believers.
Despite his actions, Russell is shown to be sympathetic to a degree to what the prisoners from Earth are going through. When Abby threatens to kill him for Josephine supposedly taking permanent control of Clarke's body, Russell understands what she is going through one parent to another, especially as he knows what it's like to do whatever it takes to get your child back. As a result, he understands her anger and that she means what she says. He is also sympathetic enough to not force Abby to continue extracting Madi's bone marrow when it would mean killing her to continue, instead offering to have his healers do it instead.
After losing everything, Russell falls into a depression and appears to become suicidal. Though still angry at Clarke for her actions and wanted to kill her without hesitation, he is too depressed and lost to do anything about it, wondering what to do when you have lost everything and even seeking Clarke's advice on the subject. The deaths of all of the other Primes also appears to have snapped Russell out of his mentality of a living divinity, contemptuously asking Jordan Green if he believes in Russell's divinity since he has been Adjusted, destroying Priya's Mind Drive and making it clear that he also seeks a permanent end. In turn, Jordan believes that Russell is just a man who lost his way instead of a god or a monster. Russell purposefully goaded Clarke into killing him using the memory of Abby, seeking to be set free. Despite this, it is implied that not only he wants Clarke to kill him, but he believes that his death will help him get revenge on Clarke by making his followers kill her to avenge him. However, Clarke knocked him unconscious instead, leading Sheidheda to kill Russell in his head.
His last host was tall, broad and skinny, with a beard and greying hair. He also had a tattoo on his right shoulder.
His original appearance was a white male with blonde hair and a mustache.
Simone is Russell's wife and agrees with him on many things. He takes her opinion into consideration when decision making and the pair are often seen leading their people side by side. Both are Primes with the Royal Blood who occupy hosts of their own. They have been together for over two centuries. Russell is utterly devastated by both of her deaths, particularly when Clarke floats her as he has no way of retrieving Simone for resurrection.
He seems to be very close to his daughter, Josephine. He cares deeply for her and often lets her get away with things. He respects her work, though he disagrees with some of her opinions. After learning of Josephine's death, Russell is immediately reduced to tears. Her death and Simone's shortly after he learns about it causes Russell to seek revenge upon Clarke for his losses.
|Red Sun Rising||Flashback|
|The Children of Gabriel||Appears|
|The Face Behind the Glass||Appears|
|The Gospel of Josephine||Appears|
|The Old Man and the Anomaly||Appears|
|What You Take With You||Mentioned|
|Ashes to Ashes||Appears|
|The Blood of Sanctum||Appears|
|From the Ashes||Appears|
|Welcome to Bardo||Mentioned|
|The Queen's Gambit||Mentioned|
|A Little Sacrifice||Mentioned|
|A Sort of Homecoming||Absent|
|The Dying of the Light||Absent|
|The Last War||Absent|
- Russell Lightbourne: "Do you remember when I told you why I became an astronomer?"
- Josephine Lightbourne: "You wanted to prove there's no God. Too bad Nietzsche beat you to it when he said "Gott ist tot." God is dead. Can I go now?"
- Russell Lightbourne: "What would you say if I told you that being here in this miraculous place, makes me question that?"
- Josephine Lightbourne: "I'd say.. not everything that miraculous is a miracle."
- -- in Red Sun Rising
- Russell Lightbourne: "I came to this world with a dream. From that dream, we created Sanctum and gave life to every single one of you. Simone and I have loved you as we loved your parents and their parents before them. You are our children, and for 200 years, we taught you not to fight, we taught you to forgive, but there are some things for which there can be no forgiveness."
- -- in Matryoshka
- Simone Lightbourne I (axed to death under the influence of the eclipse; later reborn via a Mind Drive)
- Josephine Lightbourne I (throat slit with an axe under the influence of the eclipse; later reborn via a Mind Drive)
- Unknown number of other Primes (shot them while under the influence of the eclipse; later reborn via Mind Drives)
- Brooke and others born in Sanctum (unwilling participants in Mind Drive experiments)
- Tai Sr. (burned at the stake for killing Simone)
- Jade (mind wiped to become Jasmine's new host)
- Sierra (mind wiped to become Miranda's new host)
- Bryson (mind wiped to become Caleb's new host)
- Abigail Griffin (mind wiped to become Simone's new host)
- Layla (indirectly through his use of the Red Sun toxin)
- Tory (indirectly through his use of the Red Sun toxin)
- Unknown number of Sanctumites (indirectly through his use of the Red Sun toxin)
- Priya Desai (Mind Drive smashed with his shackles)
Notes and Trivia
- His character was announced on September 21, 2018.
- He was the first person who turned psychotic on the new world due to the Red Sun eclipse.
- In "The Children of Gabriel", Russell VII mentions that he was bitten in the face by a dog when he was a child. Russell I had a scar on the side of his face which may have been from that dog attack.
- Russell Lightbourne is the fourth main character to debut after the first season. (Echo was the first, Roan was the second, Jordan Green was the third). However, he was killed off in his first episode as a main character.
- The exact number of people killed by Russell on and off-screen during the Red Sun Eclipse is never made clear. Aside from the ones killed on-screen in "Red Sun Rising," Priya and Ryker Desai are known to have fallen victim as well as confirmed by Ryker in "Memento Mori." However, at least some people are known to have survived such as Gabriel Santiago.
- His body was taken over by Sheidheda in "From the Ashes" after Sheidheda kills Russell in his Mindspace.
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