The 100 is getting pretty good at pulling the rug out from under our feet. The latest jaw-dropper? The Grounder bounty hunter who’s been dragging an imprisoned Clarke (Eliza Taylor) to Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) is not just some random warrior. He’s the Ice Nation prince!
Turns out that Prince Roan (Zach McGowan) is not the enemy we assumed him to be during the first two episodes of season three of The CW’s post-apocalyptic drama.
“He is the banished prince of the Ice Nation, who really does just want to get home to his people and lift that banishment and do what’s best for his people,” executive producer Jason Rothenberg tells Nerdist. “He and Clarke have that in common, although Clarke put herself into exile by choice, whereas Roan was banished by, as it turns out… well, I won’t say who banished him.”
Rothenberg’s hesitation to drop that little nugget of knowledge points to a larger story about Roan’s mysterious past.
“You’ll find out more about that pretty soon,” McGowan tells Nerdist. “You’ll get to meet a lot more characters from the Ice Nation and you’ll see that their culture is very Spartan. They live a warrior lifestyle. It’s easy to lose face in that culture.”
While Clarke and Roan started off as mortal enemies during their journey to Polis, tonight’s epic episode “Ye Who Enter Here” will show the two actually beginning to bond. “Once you get involved with Wanheda, it’s hard to get untangled from her life,” McGowan says with a laugh.
And according to Rothenberg, Roan and Clarke actually have more in common with each other than they think.
“What’s making both of those people tick is doing what’s best for their people,” Rothenberg says. “By the way, that’s the theme of this series. It both unites characters when they realize that they want the same thing, while at the same time pitting characters against each other, of course, because they want the same thing but for different groups of people. It’s going to be an interesting back-and-forth kind of relationship for the season, for the two of them. Or at least, as long as they both shall live.”
With the arrival of the Ice Nation queen looming, that might not be all that long, even though Roan is her son.
“You’ll see Roan’s past problems with his culture and his mother and his people come into play,” McGowan says. “Roan doesn’t exactly have a normal mother/son relationship with her.”
While The 100 has teased the threat of the Ice Nation for a long time, this is the first time we’re actually being introduced to their culture and society. Laying the groundwork for that clan, plus all the other clans in Lexa’s Grounder coalition, adds another complex layer to the storytelling for season three. This show has always been compared to Game of Thrones based on production value and writing, and tonight’s episode brings that to a whole new level.
“It’s amazing what we’re pulling off for the, let’s say ‘budget’ that we have,” Rothenberg says with a laugh. “We are not a show like Game of Thrones that has feature film money. We’re making a show for The CW and we’re doing it at a scale that I think needs to be praised more than it is by certain people. But it’s definitely something that to be even in the same breath as some of those other shows like Game of Thrones… they shoot for 200 days on f***ing five continents. They shoot for 20 days per episode, on two continents. It’s something ridiculous like that. We shoot for eight days in one location, one city. It’s for a tenth of the money. It’s crazy.”
There’s a fight scene coming up in the next episode that is one of the best of the series to date, and rivals another similar scene from Game of Thrones.
“Yes, I’m complaining and bragging, especially about that scene. But it is amazing,” Rothenberg says. “Our stunt crew is really firing on all cylinders. That scene is ridiculous. We shot that scene in six hours. I think Game of Thrones shot their similar fight scene in like eight days. So there you go! I’m complaining again. I want more time!”
What do you think about Roan so far? Let me know in the comments section below or tweet me @SydneyBucksbaum!
Images: The CW
The 100 airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.