It’s a whole new world for The 100 in the new season — literally.
The CW series, which consistently manages to reinvent itself with every season opener, takes its characters to a new planet that is different from anything we’ve seen on the show before. This new place — originally known to the characters as “Alpha,” though we’ll quickly learn another name — is otherworldly, for lack of a better world. And, like anything else on the series, not everything is as it seems.
In anticipation of the Season 6 opener of The 100, airing tonight (April 30) after The Flash, we spoke with Executive Producer and Showrunner Jason Rothenberg, the man with all of the secrets, about what we can expect. Some spoilers will be discussed, but none to a level that it would ruin your enjoyment of the show tonight. Photos from the season premiere “Sanctum” can be found at the bottom of this interview. Enjoy!
KSITETV’s CRAIG BYRNE: What can you reveal about the planet that is initially known as “Alpha?”
JASON ROTHENBERG: What I will say is, it’s a new world, literally, and it’s in many ways a new show. It’s different in every way that we could possibly make it different, and at the same time, the trick of it is still having it feel like the show that people have hopefully come to love, and obviously, it’s populated by characters that they have come to love.
I think one of the things that’s unavoidable and both intentional and cool to me is the idea that there are parallels to season one. It’s a group of young people — now, obviously, blood drenched and battle hardened, but a group of young people landing in a new world that they know nothing about, and have to figure out how to survive. That’s been the foundational story of the show, and it is so again. It’s just as I said, now they’re very different, having gone through what they’ve gone through, and it’s a world that is vastly different and holds its own secrets, and mysteries, and dangers, of threats, and beauties, as well. There’s lots of beautiful things about this new world but if you’re not careful, it’ll kill you.
With this being The 100, there is surely some death on the way. Is there anything you can tease about that to scare people who might be reading this?
You know it, because it is the show that we’ve all been watching all along. That means the stakes are real, and characters that we care about can die.
There’s no other way off this show. Monty and Harper had the closest thing to a happy departure that we’ve ever seen, and that’s because they experienced a full life together, and they did live a happy life together. But, you know, for the most part, death is sudden. It comes out of nowhere. It hopefully is unexpected, and that continues to be the case going forward, Book Two is no less brutal in that regard.
How do you usually break it to the actors when their character is going to be killed off?
There’s been so many, and some major and some have been minor characters, obviously, but usually I want to be the first person to tell them. There have been instances when actors have asked to leave the show and I, on some level, look at that as like a gift, because then I don’t have to have that hard conversation, and we get to create a story that has the emotional impact that we like for depth ion the show to have.
That always makes it easier for me. It’s a little bit of a “get out of jail free” card. Much harder when it’s someone who doesn’t want to go, and is part of the family, and the story dictates it. I always call them first. That’s my rule. But it is a hard conversation to have, always.
There’s a children’s book that we see in the premiere. Is there any chance that could be released online or published even?
Well, we did create it, obviously. The props department on our show is so good, and one of the things that’s so much fun about making a show is just that you do have a props department. We dream something up, and then next thing we know, there it is. It’s real.
I don’t know [if it will be released]. I mean, certainly it’s something that our prop guys will have as something to show when they do conventions.
Jeff Vlaming, one of our writers who wrote Episode Two, wrote the text of that book, and the prop team created the prop itself, which is really cool. It’s got a cut-out cover, and when you open the cover you, see the to the sun, the eclipse, and then, of course, pictures are shown on the screen.
What character interactions should fans really look out for in Season 6?
There are some pairings that I think are just amazing. Diyoza and Octavia is one of my favorites of this season. Clarke and Murphy spend a lot of time together, and that’s one of my favorite relationships this season. Not in any way the way people expect it to be.
Obviously, Murphy’s mad at Clarke in the beginning of the of the season, but as things unfold, they’re put together quite often as actors, and the chemistry between them is sensational, and the story that they’re telling is so off the charts weird and different. Way beyond anything that you will have seen the first two episodes In fact, that’s why we only released two episodes [to press], because the real story of the season doesn’t really begin until the end of Episode Two.
What can you say about JR Bourne’s character that we’ll be seeing later this season?
Well, first of all, JR as an actor is awesome, and he stepped right into this world as if he’d been here the whole time, and stepped right into our show family and he’s been here the whole time. He’s just a gracious, kind, wonderful, and generous actor. I think everybody loved working with him. His character obviously takes on the mantle of the antagonist, but he is tradition of our seasonal antagonists of Dante Wallace and Pike, who, at first we’re weary of, but eventually we hopefully come to understand where they’re coming from, and who they are.
He’s got a lot of secrets that will be revealed over the course of the season, but he starts out as the sort of seemingly benevolent king who is in charge of keeping his people safe, and presiding over this wonderful, peaceful, happy place, and now it’s like “do we allow these strangers from Earth who are kind of blood-soaked killers in many respects?” Even, dare I say, our heroes Clarke, Bellamy, and obviously Octavia, et cetera? Does he let them stay? Can he let them stay? Or will that pollute his sort of innocent, beautiful society? Those are the sort of questions that Russell is forced to wrestle with.
Another big new character we meet this year as Jordan. I know we saw him the end of last season, but what can you say about him and is he anything like his parents?
Yeah, I think so. There are weird physical similarities between him and both of Monty and Harper, and he was raised by the sort of elevated spirit that Monty became and the sort of kind of badass and also loving person that Harper was.
He was raised in a loving environment, certainly, but he was alone, He didn’t know anybody other than them his entire life. He didn’t know anything other than that spaceship. He never ate anything other than algae his entire life. And finally, he chose to go into cryo, and his mother and father kind of heartbreakingly let him go so that at some point, he could live a real life.
That’s one of the sad things in Episode 513. Maybe because I’m a parent of a of a 19 year old who is undergoing a similar kind of transition into his own world and his own life and the letting go that takes place, Monty and Harper had to let their son go, and in their case, never to see him again.
That, to me, is heartbreaking and beautiful, but regardless, as a character going forward, that’s who he is. Everything is new to him. Everything is is a new experience. From the smallest thing, to things like encountering violence. This season as he steps out of that ship for the first time, in Episode Two, he begins to experience things like pain, and loss, and suffering, but also the taste of wine and the feeling of falling in love, and everything like that. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.
The 100 Season 6 premiere airs at 9PM ET/PT tonight (April 30) on The CW. Take a look at some official photos below, and beneath that, see some interviews that we did from our set visit late last year!
The 100 -- "Sanctum" -- Image Number: HUN601a_0014r.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Jarod Joseph as Miller, Eliza Taylor as Clarke, Luisa D'Oliveira as Emori, Bob Morley as Bellamy, Jordan Bolger as Shaw, Sachin Sahel as Jackson, Tasya Teles as Echo and Richard Harmon as Murphy -- Photo: Sergei Bachlakov/The CW -- ÃÂ© 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.