It’s been five years since we met The 100, the children of a space colony returning to Earth long after it became unlivable. Life on Earth wasn’t easy for The 100 either and The 100 certainly dwindled far below their original numbers.
Now in The 100’s sixth season, they’re making a new go of it on another home. Wondercon fans got to see the season premier of The 100 and creator Jason Rothenberg spoke with press in Anaheim. The rest of us can see The 100 tonight on The CW.
Q: What overview of the season can you give?
JR: Listen, it’s a lot like, it’s not similar to season one but in terms of the story structure, it’s a group of young people that land on a new world and have to overcome challenges and figure out how to survive. That’s in a nutshell what the series has been about from the beginning. It’s all different challenges. It’s a totally new world, a moon as it turns out. If you saw the screening today, it’s been revealed it’s not a planet, it’s actually a moon, a bigger gas giant planet which you’ll see in the sky. One of the things that is important I think, the sort of crucial moment for people this season is do you believe that you’re on another planet. We’re shooting this show in the same place that we shot it for five seasons and to try to make the audience suspend disbelief to me was my mantra. I was hitting everybody with it all the time. We have to push really hard to make the audience believe we’re not in Kansas anymore. One of the ways is there’s two suns so that tells you you’re not on Earth. The other way is this big gas giant that we’ve now seen in the sky. Unfortunately, as it turns out, you can’t see a gas giant in the sky if you’re on another planet. Apparently, there’s something to do with orbitals and distances and shit that I don’t understand frankly, but I have really smart writers. They took one look at the temp visFX shot and they’re like, “Um, Sanctum’s not a planet, Jason. It’s a moon.” So we had to quickly rewrite some scenes as we saw in 601, the big “Holy crap, it’s a moon” scene.”
WLE: How much is Bellamy in the episode that Bob Morley directed?
JR: Too much. I don’t mean that in a negative way. He wanted to focus on directing. By the way, he’s awesome. He did a great job, as I knew he would, but it was his first time at bat and it’s hard to direct yourself in a performance so as writers, I made it clear, we want him to be in less story in his episode than he normally would be. Unfortunately, sometimes the story breaks the way it breaks and he directed 611. It kind of sets up the finale story in a big way. It was impossible not to have him in it. So there’s some really great Bellamy scenes. It was frustrating for him, I don’t want to speak for him, but I know it was frustrating for him to have to go in front of the camera and not be able to really fine tune everything that’s happening. That said, our crew is so good by now, he was surrounded by directors. Our first AD Ian Samoil has directed three episodes for us and is awesome. Our DP Mike Blundell has directed two episodes for us. Marshall Virtue, our stunt coordinator, directed this season episode nine. So he was surrounded by people that were there to help him when he needed it which wasn’t much, but in those moments when you’re on camera, it’s hard to also determine whether it’s in focus.
Q: What does the eclipse induced psychosis mean for the characters?
JR: So Elligius III landed on Sanctum 236 years ago and thought they’d found paradise. And then within I think it was day 21 when the first eclipse happened and bad things resulted. People were never supposed to be on Sanctum. Because of the life cycle of the planet which is every time those planets come in alignment, the red sun, as the book says, “When the stars align and the forest wakes, it’s time to run away” because eclipse induced psychosis happened. The insects and lower level species, really that’s as far as evolution probably would’ve gotten on this planet because they wiped each other almost out to extinction every time this happens and the planets feed on the dead. Essentially it’s a plant dominated moon. That’s probably a spoiler. Anyway, it’s a plant dominated world and ultimately, when people showed up, it affects our nervous system as well.
Q: Is JR Bourne’s character somebody who’s used to that?
JR: Well, they have a system by which they have survived obviously as a society for this long so they’ve clearly worked out the ins and outs and what to do when planets come in alignment and what’s the early warning system so they can get out in time. That’s all something they’ve worked out. Do they want to have 500 more people come into their world, several hundred of which are prisoners, murderers, thieves and the worst of the worst? And he’s going to know that. That’s a big question for his character in season six.
Q: Will being in the cryopods for over a century affect them?
JR: No, not really. Maybe it’s not the most accurate depiction if there was such a thing as cryo. I wish there was but there’s very little hangover effect. In fact, they snap out of it pretty quickly, more quickly than I would prefer.
Q: Is it flattering that CW scheduled you to return right at sweeps?
JR: Terrifying? Yeah, I feel like I know that Mark Pedowitz has wanted to program all year round. On some level, we’re a little bit of the experimental “we can bring our audience with us no matter how late they air us.” And the world that we live in, as you guys know, as people who write online, it’s an internet world now. People watch television, watch these things in ways, they don’t watch it overnight. So much of our audience is international that don’t know what The CW is, I hear all the time, “Oh, I thought it was a Netflix show.”
Q: What new characters will we meet this season?
JR: Well, we talked about JR some. Chuku Modu plays a character who is awesome. People are going to love him. I can’t talk much about him but he’s a big part of the season. There’s a whole cast of new people coming in but we bring them in a little bit slowly. I felt a little bad for JR today because he’s not in the premiere, but he was with us because I felt like he’s such a new, great addition to the cast. I just wanted him to get a chance to be up there, talk about it a little bit even though we can’t really say anything about what he’s up to. His whole family are characters that we will know well.
Q: Any news on the prequel?
JR: I’m not supposed to talk about it but yes, I am working on a prequel script that the teaser of it I can talk about forever. The teaser of it essentially 15 minutes to get to the tarmac at Cape Canaveral where there’s three rockets waiting to take people off the planet because they know the bombs are coming. It’s this crazy emotional sequence and it turns out that one of the characters that we’re following on that journey is Clarke’s great, great, great grandmother. And her mother is in space as an astronaut for the 12 Stations and it’s Mad Max in space with air and water and fuel instead of gasoline.