The journey of The 100 is coming to an end, but before we get to the end, we have a beginning, as the first of 16 final season episodes airs tonight (May 20) on The CW.
The 100 has been a very unique series on The CW lineup as it has been something completely different every year. Characters have grown and changed. Some have died. Societies have risen and fallen. And now, the characters face new challenges.
Tonight’s season premiere is called “From the Ashes” and it sees Clarke & co. working to rebuild Sanctum as a new threat rises in the woods. You can see a gallery of photos from the episode here. To promote the season opener, we have spoken with Executive Producer Jason Rothenberg — the man who brought The 100 to television in the first place and guided the show for what will be 100 episodes by series’ end.
With thanks to Jason as well as The 100 fans who have continually read our content about the series over the years, the interview can be found below.
KSITETV’s CRAIG BYRNE: What made Season 7 feel like a good time to close up the story?
JASON ROTHENBERG: I feel like seven years is a long time creatively to tell one story. I feel like we had really turned the page into Book Two and started to explore other planets, and obviously in Season 7 we go even wider and deeper across the universe.
And I wanted to wrap it up. I wanted to sort of make the point that we’ve been trying to make all along, and I’ve always said that a story’s ending is what the story meant. The moral of the story doesn’t come until the end, and I personally was ready to do that.
Getting to 100 episodes was a huge accomplishment and I’m definitely grateful the studio and network gave us the extra three episodes this year so that we can could get to that number. Unfortunately, our big 100th episode party which was going to be the this big bash in Vancouver got waylaid by COVID-19, but fortunately, everybody was safe a we got to finish the show. We had our own little celebration on the set at the end, though, which was lovely and emotional.
Every season seems to have a unique environment. What environments can we see in the season opener?
The season opener is exclusively Sanctum, I believe, but we do reveal that when Octavia was taken, something else came through, and that becomes the big ‘threat’ in the premiere. And we also, of course — as with all premieres – there’s a little bit of resetting the chessboard.
In this case, we have all tension of a society that was broken apart by our heroes’ involvement with them, and four of five different factions, potentially, at each other’s throats that now need to be knitted together by our heroes as the kind of cops on the beat. There’s no shortage of drama and conflict because of that. So we’re in Sanctum a lot. We’re in the woods a lot. We are in the anomaly eventually. And then we really widen the playing field after that.
How is Clarke coping with all that’s gone on?
Obviously, Clarke’s been through a lot. She’s lost a lot. Many people who she loved. She’s gotten good at compartmentalizing her grief, and kind of driving forward and doing what she has to do. As this season starts, despite that there’s been a bit of a window of time in which they could just grieve what’s happened, the loss of her mother in particular, she’s determined trying to be the ‘cop on the beat’ and make sure ‘they broke it, they bought it, and they’re gonna keep it from exploding.’ Eventually, we see that that takes a toll on her, and you an only bottle up grief for so long before it comes exploding out. It’s an interesting emotional journey for her on the premiere, that’s for sure.
I also have to add that Eliza Taylor, who was great from the beginning of the show, her performance this season is so nuanced and emotional and deep. I’m so excited for so many actors. I mean, obviously losing a series regular job when the series wraps up the way ours has is scary. It’s scary for me, and it’s a little bit scary for all of them, although they’re young, so maybe they’re not so scared yet. But I just can’t wait to see what what they do next. Eliza in particular.
Was it in the direction, or was it a choice of Eliza’s to play Clarke almost like Abby, especially when it came to protecting Madi in the season premiere?
That’s an interesting observation. Definitely a choice of Eliza’s if that’s what you were reading, because I don’t think I overtly put that in the script. I know that Ed Fraiman who is a wonderful director who directed the episode, I don’t think he gave her that direction either.
It is a little bit of a universal story, right? Where we are a certain way… we explore this in a much deeper way going forward. EJ and I had conversations when we talked about that in terms of her season arc was going to be. But it’s a universal story, where we have a relationship with our mother or father, and then we have children of our own, and we kind of see our parents in a different light. You know, karma comes around. We’ve all experienced that. So, if that’s in the performance, then that was a choice of hers, and a good one.
How long will we have to wait to find out more about what happens inside the anomaly?
Well, if you are bingeing it, you will have exactly 20 seconds between episodes to wait. If you’re watching it week to week on The CW, as I hope you do, then I would say you have seven days, because the next episode really picks off where the premiere leads off and takes us to the other side of this particular wormhole / anomaly, and we’ll really explore that planet. We go to multiple planets this season, some quite extensively; others are just like field trips episodically, but the next one that we spend time on, we spend a couple of episodes on a planet that we call [SPOILER DELETED].
What can you tell us about Hope?
Obviously she plays a big part in this season, and I feel like in the premiere, we don’t really get to feel who she is yet, for reasons that will become clear going forward.
I think she’s an unusual character in the sense that we really do… we know every detail of her life. We experience Hope’s life from the time she was an unborn child. I mean, her mom was pregnant for all of season five and six. We see her entire life.
When she shows up in 613 – in the finale last year – she was an adult. And days earlier, when Diyoza went into the anomaly, she was unborn, still. And so, those 20+ years have passed in days, and we definitely dive into all of that, and experience many of those years.
The one thing I want to add though is Shelby Flannery who plays Hope is a revelation. Such a talented actress. We had no idea how good she was going to be. This was her first job out of drama school. We knew how much story we had hanging on her, and she really delivered. No relation to Lola Flanery, by the way. Although Lola has one N in her last name and Shelby has two.
So final seasons of series often bring back some familiar faces will we see any in season seven? And are you about to tease who any of them may be?
No, I’m not going to tease who any of them may be, and “maybe” is the answer. We definitely are the kind of show that likes to remember its past, and there are definitely stories that I felt needed completing, and we complete some of those. One of those is the launching pad for what our prequel is, which turned out, I think to be a pretty special episode, which everybody will get to see as Episode 8 of the show, introducing some pretty great new actors. That’s a journey that I look forward to being able to take if the TV Gods will it.
With so many different locations and settings and “unfinished business” as you said, how good are the chances that we’ll see much of the main cast all back together in at least one scene by season’s end?
Well, those who are still among the living, yes. Chances are very good.
Beyond Hope, what other characters are you most excited for fans to meet in Season 7?
I am excited for the fans to meet the prequel characters, but I can’t talk much about them because that’s some spoiler stuff.
We also meet Nikki, one of the more colorful Eligius prisoners, played brilliantly by Alaina Huffman. And Hatch, played by Chad Rook, who is a very different flavor for the show, but wonderful.
Our guest cast series-long has always been pretty spectacular. From Michael Beach who played Pike to Raymond Barry in Season 2 as Dante, Ivana Milicevic… those guys really set the bar. Some great characters and some very wonderful actors.
Can you talk about J.R. Bourne being a part of the regular cast this season?
J.R. Bourne is back, and his performance is nuanced and multi-faceted, shall we say, certainly in the first episode, and I’m really excited for the fans to get to see what he does all season. He is incredible and is just such an amazing presence to have around.
How would you describe the final season of The 100?
I would say that the final season tells us what it’s all been about. The moral of the story is delivered by the end of the story that we get to tall. I’m very grateful that we get to go out on our own terms, because a lot of times you don’t get to do that in his business.
The 100 returns TONIGHT for the final season premiere at 8PM ET/PT on The CW. Take a look at some photos from the season premiere below!