The fifth season of The CW’s The 100 is finally here tonight (April 24) following The Flash and creatively, the episodes that we have screened prove that there’s still a lot of spark left in the program. Most of the action takes place six years after the events of last year’s season finale. Some of the heroes ended up in outer space. Some ended up below ground still on Earth. And Clarke… well, she found “Eden.”
Last week we spoke with Executive Producer Jason Rothenberg for some hints about what we can expect for Season 5.
KSITETV’s CRAIG BYRNE: From a production standpoint, was it difficult to start the season premiere with just one character for the better part of it?
JASON ROTHENBERG: It was actually easy, because you’re only dealing with one actor instead of a million!
The trick in some of that was that we did something a little bit unusual, in that we took Eliza and the Rover and a smaller crew, and we traveled to a place called Ashcroft which had just suffered, unfortunately for them, a devastating forest fire, and so that’s why you see some of the epic, scope-y, wasteland-y footage. It’s cinematic; it’s almost like a movie, and that’s because we did take a skeletal crew and Eliza to a place that had just actually undergone that. So none of that is green screen. It’s all real, which was cool. It wasn’t tricky; it was just purely amazing.
Is there a purposeful parallel in that The 100 were considered criminals and now there’s a transport of actual crimnals that is coming to Earth?
Yes. It was definitely intentional to put our heroes on the other side of that situation. Obviously, these criminals are legit criminals. The 100 were, for the most part anyway, juvenile delinquents who had for the most part committed minor offenses. So these are really hardened maximum security inmates. I think the metaphor sort of breaks down at that point. But it doesn’t in the sense that they return to a planet that they feel is theirs by right. They were born on this planet. They served their time, as it were, and now they’re back and they want a second chance, and someone else is already here, in Clark and Madi, and they’re unwelcome. So, in that way it is very similar.
Can you talk about this bit of land that seems to be habitable, which I assume is the “Eden” of the season premiere title?
“Eden” refers that for sure, and it’s also my daughter’s name.
So, basically the valley is a neat little miracle. The death wave went around this green patch of land, and left it intact. The radiation came down and killed the people, but the trees and the wildlife and the habitat for the most part is intact. So it is a litlte miracle. It’s the last garden, as opposed to the first, but it becomes this last hope for Earth, and the thing that everybody needs to get to and needs to possess in order to survive. And the hope is that people will be able to overcome their innnate needs to do what’s best only for themselves, and live happily ever after. But if you’ve watched the show, you know that that’s probably going to be difficult.
How much of the six years are going to be explored and seen on the show?
We do flash back, obviously, in the premiere quite a bit, to Clarke’s journey. That’s all we will see of her journey, but we’ll get to understand very efficiently why she loves this child so much, and how important Madi is to her. We definitely will see quite a lot of the bunker story, hopefully enough to understand it, and understand how Wonkru is the thing that it is, which is not at all what you would expect to come out of a six-year confinement where the food is as limited as it is.
We don’t see much of the story on the Arc this season. Frankly, that was the least dramatic. Once they made it up at the end of Season 4 to the ring, the rest of it was just kind of figuring out how to deal with the boredom. So we don’t see much of it.
Will everyone have survived those six years?
Will everyone? No.
Have Bellamy and the others given up on the notion that Clarke might still be alive?
Yes. They do not think Clarke is alive. Where they are at the end of Season 4, Raven and Bellamy are standing there in the window looking down at the burned out Earth and talking about how Clarke saved them again, and they’re not going to let her death be in vain. That is still their operating function, that she is not alive, and in fact Bellamy has lived by that vow. He’s been very true to that vow. He was going to essentially become a fully-realized hero, unified, based on what Clarke had wished for him in Season 4. So, yeah. They are definitely operating with the belief that Clarke is dead, which… surprise! She’s not.
How about Abby? She seems to hold on to a little bit of hope.
Abby’s story is interesting this year. There’s a thing that she’s struggling with, that will be a surprise, and that is the basis of what is a mind-blowing performance. Is she holding onto hope? Because of things that transpire in Episode 2, she believes that Clarke is still alive out there, but she also has no idea when or if she’ll ever see her again, because they’re stuck under thousands of tons of rubble. When that reunion does finally happen, it’s an episode where there are so many emotional reunions…. but yeah. It’s equally mind-blowing.
Will fans have to wait for long for their favorite characters to start interacting with each other again?
It depends on what your definition of “wait for long” is. It happens that we begin this story as the various arenas are about to come back into alignment with each other, so those reunions are certainly front-loaded in terms of the story of the season at large, but it isn’t in the first few episodes. It does take a little while for the streams to cross, but once they cross, things are fully entangled for the rest of the season.
What can you tease about where Octavia is at this season, with her “Red Queen” look that we’ve seen in some of the trailers?
Octavia does what she has to do to keep that Wonkru unified and strong. They were all under the assumption that five years was all they needed to stay alive for, and then they could open the door, and go back up, and start again. And five years is a long time, but at least you know there’s an ending. You know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. and then everything, as you know, changes when they realize that the door is permanently locked, and they have no idea whether they’ll ever get out. And that begins a spiraling into chaos and darkness and insanity down there, and for Octavia it’s sort of the final bell that rings to awaken her inner leader. She realizes that she can’t do what she wanted to do, to bide her time and train… she got them down there and her job was done. Now she realizes that she needs to lead, and that’s not something that comes naturally to her. She’s given some advice from an unlikely ally that stays with her, and ultimately she leads by example and as a warrior, and kind of forges this group into her own image, and that’s what we find when the door opens. To me it’s a big surprise. It was certainly one of the bigger challenges to get right, and one of the more interesting surprises that people are in for.
Do you think this series could go on for several more seasons after this one?
I hope so. That decision ultimately is not mine. Creatively, it’s still something that I’m incredibly excited about. The turn at the end of Season 5 is beyond mind-blowing, and I really do hope that we get the chance to continue the adventure, because there’s quite a lot of story still to tell.
The 100 Season 5 premieres at 9PM ET/PT April 24 on The CW.
Take a look at some of our video interviews from the show’s set and last year’s Comic-Con below! More will be added throughout the day.