SPOILER ALERT: This interview contains details about tonight’s series finale for the CW’s The 100, “The Last War.”
We caught up with The 100 series creator Jason Rothenberg to ask him about some of tonight’s special guests, and what’s next in the series franchise.
DEADLINE: Tonight you brought back Lexa. After you killed her off, there was plenty of controversy, but was it always your intention to bring her back? Were there any loose ends you needed to tie up between her and Clarke?
JASON ROTHENBERG: Once we decided that the role of the judge during the test was someone who assumes the shape of the person that was your greatest love, your greatest teacher, or your greatest enemy, then it was a no brainer that it was going to be Lexa for Clarke. Then it just became a producing challenge to get her to come back. It turned out to be not that hard, we had a couple conversations, Alycia [Debnam-Carey] was very excited about coming back and giving some closure to the fans. Obviously, yes, that was a big part of it, it was great to have her back in the cape and makeup, and so I’m hoping that it does bring some closure to the fans, who loved that character so much.
DEADLINE: OK, let’s talk the prequel, the prequel, the prequel. I know we had episode 8 “Anaconda” this past season, but do you think The 100 prequel series could land at HBO Max?
ROTHENBERG: I wish I had good answers for you. What I can say is in terms of whether or not it’s going to happen is that there are discussions that are still happening at the highest level. You know, I think probably I’d be talking out of turn if I mentioned where those conversations were happening, unfortunately, but there is a chance, a good chance, I guess, that it could come back. I wish I had news this week, it would be great to announce it this week, I don’t think that’s going to happen.
DEADLINE: You’ve mentioned that the prequel will be a Cain and Abel story between Callie and her brother Reese, but are we going to see some of the characters from this show in the prequel? I mean it’s The 100 and everyone can time warp and travel.
ROTHENBERG: Yeah, I hear what you’re saying. I don’t think we’ll see the characters from the original show. I mean, again, I would say never just because you don’t know what’s going to happen if you are lucky enough to run for a while. Eventually, you do tell a story. I do know that one of the things I want to do is get it back up to space because concurrent with the timeline of the prequel, what’s happening in space is all the space stations, that were separate at the time of the nuclear holocaust, are coming together to form the ark. So, up there is where we would meet the great, great, great grandmother and grandfather of all of our heroes, Clarke’s great grandparents, great-great grandparents, Bellamy’s, Octavia’s, obviously, and so we could tell a story that way. Some of the actors have already tried to make the pitch that their great-great grandfathers and grandmothers look exactly like them. I doubt that’s going to happen. We’ll see. But I do know that that is somewhere where I want to take the prequel if we’re lucky enough to get it ordered.
DEADLINE: Is the prequel ultimately about Cadogan’s fall from grace, about him being a Greek tragic hero?
ROTHENBERG: We certainly could. I mean, we certainly could. I love John Pyper-Ferguson, I thought he brought such an interesting flavor to the show and to the role, for sure. We know he leaves Earth. In the prequel, he goes through the wormhole and goes back into our story on Sanctum, but we also know that that stone is still there, so yeah, he could theoretically in series show up again before they bury that thing and close that Earth.
DEADLINE: Was this the series finale ending you always had in mind; this idea of transcendence and that Clarke is left as the odd woman out?
ROTHENBERG: No, not from when we first started. I mean, honestly, when we first started, it was just about getting the pilot ordered to series, you know, and then it was how do we get to a second season. Once it started to feel like it was in it for the long run, we didn’t feel too confident about that ending until roughly the end of season five, and that is around the time where we made a pitch to the studio network to let us write to an ending, like can we end the show at the end of season seven. At which point, we really did begin to formulate our end game. Ultimately, the idea of transcendence is something that the moral of the story probably would’ve been had we ended at the end of an earlier season, you know, this idea that until we all realize we’re in this together, that we’re all one crew, that we’re all human beings, there shouldn’t be wars between countries and between political parties, until we realize that, we’re doomed. Ultimately, that was the message I wanted to say. I just didn’t know how we were going to say it until we got the green light to end it at seven.
DEADLINE: Octavia had this great speech tonight on the battleground which speaks very much to the division we’re experiencing right now as a nation. Can you talk about how current events have impacted you as far as the writing goes?
ROTHENBERG: I don’t think we’ve landed in this place as a culture, as a world, out of the blue. It’s been a longtime coming, so you know definitely it’s getting worse as it seems. Hopefully, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but I definitely wanted that speech to speak to our times, 100%. I mean, I think that’s what science fiction does well: you can hold up a mirror to the times we’re living through without being preachy about it. We’ve always tried to do that various times throughout the show. We’ve played in political waters without actually making a point of it.
DEADLINE: Tonight it’s Clarke’s mother, Abigail, who has an honest moment with Raven in this final episode. Why was that? When Clarke floats her mother (who is really Simone) in the Season 6 finale, she feels really guilty about it. I’m just curious why was the conversation tonight between Raven and Abigail, and not Clarke and Abigail?
ROTHENBERG: That’s a really good question. The truth is had I not been able to get Alycia –this is just sort of an inside baseball answer; had I not been able to get Alycia, it probably would’ve been Abby, but as the judge for Clarke, as well as the judge for Raven. But the Raven/Abby relationship was always really, really important. I mean, as the Abby avatar says it to her, as the Abby judge says it to Raven on the ship in the finale, ‘she meant more to you than your real mother, her opinion meant more to you than the opinion of your real mother’, and so that was always a special relationship for her, and so you know the idea of getting Paige Turco to come back one more time was something that I didn’t want to lose out on just because Clarke was not seeing her mom.