Tonight’s (July 8) episode of The 100 on The CW is an important one as it sets up what could be a spinoff series that shows how the entire mythology of The 100 began. While elements from the show’s seven seasons do factor in for longtime fans, it’s also a great jumping on point that introduces new characters and situations.
To promote the show, KSiteTV spoke with Executive Producer Jason Rothenberg about tonight’s installment “Anaconda” and the potential spinoff that may follow. Be aware some spoilers may be discussed.
KSITETV’s CRAIG BYRNE: There are elements in this prequel that we’ve seen or had hints about for years. At what point did you think it’d be fun to fully tell the story?
THE 100 EXECUTIVE PRODUCER JASON ROTHENBERG: We knew at the beginning of this season that this was a story that we needed to tell to make the season story, and therefore the series story, make sense. We need to fill in some blanks. I wanted to answer some questions about why the bunker was empty, for instance, when they opened it in Season 4. How human beings got to Bardo. Obviously, that meant that there must have been a “space ball” as Callie calls it in the bunker.
I didn’t realize that it was going to be the sort of foundation for the prequel story until I agreed to do the prequel story, at which point, there was just a natural convergence of “that would be a great way to get into the origin story of the Grounders,” which is what the prequel obviously is.
We knew that Becca landed and had nightblood and eventually gave nightblood to others who eventually must have left that bunker and seeded the world with other Nightbloods and helped lead to the survival of the species. And so, ultimately, it kind of all came together.
I guess the answer to your question is, I didn’t realize it was gonna be the prequel story until we were already breaking the season and Mark asked us to do this, and I said “okay.” Now I just hope they pick it up to series.
Had it always been in the back of your mind for us to see Bill Cadogan again?
You know, when we cast him [John Pyper-Ferguson] in Season 4, I promised him that there would be more than just a one episode [for him], and to be honest with you, I thought it was gonna be that season, so it made me a liar for a while, because I didn’t give him more in that season, and I’m sure he didn’t think I ever would. And then, it sort of became the natural outgrowth of the story we were telling this year. I’m pretty thrilled that I was able to make good on that promise.
Can you talk about Callie and some of the relationships he has with members of her family?
Callie is definitely – and she probably would deny this – she’s more like her father than she would care to admit. She’s charismatic. People are drawn to her. She’s passionate. She wants to save everybody.
Even though obviously Dad has drank the Kool Aid and become a bit of a megalomaniac, that was his initial intention, and he did in fact save everyone. And yet, can she stay pure going forward?
Her brother, Reese, wishes that he was more like her their father. Callie, perhaps because she’s so similar to her father, is her father’s favorite, and Reese is aware of that, which is one of the things that drives his intense need for a father’s love, and it really drives their sibling rivalry to an almost Kane and Abel dimension going forward.
Grace and Callie are incredibly close. Grace loved Bill and was definitely along for the ride. Obviously, he became more and more obsessed with the end of the world. Ultimately, he raised their children to be survivors, if, in fact, bombs ever fell as he predicted they would, and they did. Then he became the Savior that that everybody around him believes that he is. But for years, it was an obsession that that began to separate the two of them, husband and wife.
He raised [his children] to be fighters, and trained them, and they fought each other in the basement as they refer to in the in the episode. At some point, Dad saw Reese going easy on his sister, and stepped in the ring with Reese, and Reese refused to tap out, to the point that Cadogan broke his son’s arm. That was the last straw for Mom. That’s why she left. Callie was thrilled to leave, too, so she could have a real life, but Reese surprised them all by staying with their father, thinking perhaps that would be his way to finally be Dad’s favorite, and that’s where our story began.
What are you able to say about Becca’s role in the episode?
Somehow, Becca is at the beginning of every story that we’ve told. She is so important to the mythology of The 100. She created ALIE. She created the Flame. She created the mind drive that allowed for the Primes to sort of jail break the mind drives to become immortals. She’s really been everywhere. And in telling the story of the Grounders and night blood, obviously that starts with her. She’s the first Commander, and so we really wanted to tell the story of how she came down [and what came next.]
Should people look out for Easter eggs throughout the episode?
There are a ton of Easter eggs big and small. The fandom, especially the folks on Reddit, they really do an amazing job of sort of deep diving into the mythology. I don’t want to point too many of them out, because ultimately, I feel like that’ll ruin the fun for people. But there are little things planted here and there that are definitely Easter eggs for the fans, about the world that this world grows into 100 years later. And by the way, that’ll be the part of the fun for our fans if we are ordered to series and we do get to continue the story.
One of my hopes is that we go to space [because] one of the characters was training to be an astronaut. We don’t know that yet, but we will, and they’re desperate to sort of fulfill that dream, and it becomes necessary, probably, to create more nightblood which we know needs Zero G to be to be created. And that puts one of our characters on the ground in connection to everybody on the very, very recently formed Ark, who would be the ancestors of The 100, essentially, and so we could really get into some fun storytelling in later episodes or seasons, once we do make those connections. It’ll be for people that love the original to get to see those, and get to absorb those Easter eggs. Of course, you don’t need to know anything about the original to go for this ride, because it happens after.
When you wrote this episode, did you expect it to end up being as socially relevant to the world of today as it ended up being?
It’s really crazy that it worked out that way, and on some level, obviously heartbreaking. But you’re right. I mean, [SPOILER] has a cure that she’s desperate to use to save as many people as she can who are holed up in bunkers an in their houses, unable to go outside. I wish that the same thing existed in our world, and on some level, that’s who she is, and that’s what she’s doing.
And of course, Callie also comes from a protest movement that when we meet her, she’s just been in a protest that was broken up violently by riot cops and police, so it’s doubly, oddly relevant.
Is it safe to say that a good response to this could still lead to a series and what can fans do to let The CW know that they like it?
Yes, it is safe to say that a good response to this could definitely help, and they can do all of the things that they do all the time anyway. They could link to the CW, and Warner Brothers, and Netflix, and HBO Max, and tell them you know how much they want this, and hopefully their voices will be heard. That and positive word of mouth, I think, always is helpful.
There are some good moments in The 100′s “present day” in this episode as well, including a particularly nice scene between Clarke and Raven. Can you talk about that?
It’s really a direct pickup from the end of [Episode] 7, where they’ve just found out that Bellamy is dead, and it’s reverberating in all of them. but especially Clarke and Raven, who love Bellamy. Obviously, Raven and Bellamy spent six years together on the Ring, he’s family to her, and obviously, Clarke and Bellamy are special to each other, and she’s devastated to learn that he’s dead. And so she comes to Raven and consoles her, and gets her back on the mission, because unfortunately, they can’t just fall apart. They have to figure out now how to save everybody else, for Bellamy, if for no other reason. That became a special little moment between them, for sure.
Is there anything else that you want to be sure to get out there?
I’m excited for people to see this one. I feel like it could be a special show. It would be a shame if we don’t get to keep telling the story. Hopefully the audience agrees and can make a difference in making it happen.