The 100 has come a long way since it first premiered on The CW in 2014. Just look at the faces of all the young stars on the post-apocalyptic drama and you can just tell that some crazy s#!t has gone down. These faces have seen some dark times, and they’re living (for now) to tell the tale.
So when The 100‘s executive producer Jason Rothenberg tells Nerdist that the upcoming third season of the critically-acclaimed-but-massively-and-criminally-underrated series would actually feel like the first season, we were left scratching our heads a bit. How can Clarke (Eliza Taylor) ever go back to being the young, fresh-faced dropship leader who was more concerned with flirting with Finn (Thomas McDonell) (RIP…) than mass-murdering an entire civilization of people with the single push of a button? How can Bellamy (Bob Morley) ever go back to being that selfish douche who did “whatever the hell he wants,” without regard for the fate of the rest of the Ark? How can his little sister Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) ever go back to aligning herself with the Arkers, when she’s so clearly a Grounder now?
And what about all the trials, obstacles, and life-changing hurdles Raven (Lindsey Morgan), Jasper (Devon Bostick), Monty (Christopher Larkin) and the rest of the 100 (now down to somewhere in the 40s…) teens have endured while on the ground? And what about the adults on the Ark who sent them there, now that they’re finally suffering through life on the ground as well?
The short answer: they can’t go back. Rothenberg reveals that all the characters are forever changed by the choices they’ve made and the situations they’ve survived thus far. But when it comes to the main storyline of season three, it will be closer to that of season one than to season two’s big Mount Weather conflict. There are two big arcs for season three: the war between the Ice Nation and Lexa’s (Alycia Debnam-Carey) coalition of Grounder clans and where
Camp Jaha Arkadia fits into that, as well as an internal conflict brewing within the walls of Arkadia.
“As always, there are lots of things happening,” Rothenberg tells Nerdist. “There isn’t just one story happening…Thematically, in a way, we’re getting back to our roots this season. Season one was about [if they could] overcome their internal conflict, the Lord of the Flies crap they were putting themselves through, in time to survive against the external threat of the Grounders they discovered were out there. In season two, it was about Mount Weather. It was a much more external threat.”
And that’s why season three will feel much more like the first season.
“This season…there is again all of this internal conflict,” Rothenberg says. “There’s a civil war brewing in Arkadia, which is what Camp Jaha is now known as. There’s a civil war brewing in Polis around Lexa’s table between the clans, between Ice Nation and Trikru being the two superpower clans. So there’s all this internal conflict, but there’s an existential external threat, too. And again: Can the various groups overcome their stuff internally in time to survive? It’s a bit like season one, only on steroids, which is a cliché that I hate but it’s true in this case.”
Because the big story for this season concerns so much of the Grounders and their clans, that means The 100 is going to take an in-depth look at the Grounder culture and way of life.
“We try and build it out every year,” Rothenberg says. “When we first started, we landed on the ground with 100 people who didn’t ultimately know anything. In fact, they didn’t even know anyone was alive on the ground. That’s why they stayed up in space, because they believed it wasn’t survivable. So we saw everything through the keyhole in which they were looking through, metaphorically speaking.”
He continues, “Then, their view started to expand. They met Lincoln [Ricky Whittle]. They met Indra [Adina Porter]. They met Lexa. And obviously they discovered there were clans and there was an Ice Nation. And so the more we learn—or the more they learn, I should say—the more we will start to go out into those places and see those worlds and meet new people.”
Rothenberg reveals that creating and discovering more about the Grounder cultures and cities and people is what he enjoys writing the most on this show.
“That is one of my favorite parts,” Rothenberg says. “I love inventing new worlds and new cultures. It’s really rough on production. It’s a difficult thing for everybody. But it’s also the creative challenge of my lifetime and, certainly, speaking for the department heads on my crew, theirs as well.”
Are you excited to dive deep into the Grounder world this season on The 100?
Images: The CW
The 100 season three premiere, “Wanheda: Part One,” airs Thursday, Jan. 21 at 9 p.m. on The CW.