Our favorite post-apocalyptic drama is officially back!
The 100 makes its highly anticipated return to The CW tonight, and we know fans are desperately craving answers about what's to come in season four. Luckily for you, we at ET have already watched tonight's premiere (jealous much?) and called up the show’s executive producer, Jason Rothenberg, to bring you all the exclusive scoop.
Read on for answers to your most burning questions about season four's "un-winnable" threat, the spectrum of chaos affecting the characters, Clarke's (Eliza Taylor) potential romantic future with Bellamy (Bob Morley), and so much more!
What Is the Main Threat in Season 4? Step aside, Ice Nation because we've got some serious earth-destroying problems this season. "We were aiming to create a situation unlike anything that they've had to deal with before," Rothenberg says of the "un-winnable" radiation problem that Clarke unleashed after her A.L.I.E. confrontation. "Essentially, it's Apocalypse: Part Deux... We wanted to create a unified story that had sort of a ticking clock from the second it started until the end."
How is This Looming Death Threat Going to Affect the Characters? Our Arcadians are no strangers to life-or-death situations, but this is the first time we've had a calculable mortality countdown. "I think it's fascinating to see how people react when given that kind of a death sentence. At the beginning of the season, they have six months until the radiation arrives, so they have that much time to figure out how to survive it," Rothenberg reveals. "When you get a death sentence like that, are you going to fight every second to try and stop something that's unstoppable? Or are you going to surrender to try to find peace? Or spend some time with people you love and make sure that the people you love know that you love them? On some level it’s a gift to know when the end is coming, so I think we see people react along the spectrum this season."
Is Clarke Still Grieving Over Lexa? Of course she is! Rothenberg confirms that Clarke's emotional wounds are still incredibly fresh. "She's grieving and she will remain that way for a while,” he adds. “She has experienced a really tragic loss -- twice, actually -- in a really short amount of time with Finn and Lexa and she hasn’t had a chance to breathe or grieve." However, in tonight's premiere, Clarke will share a truly touching scene with her mother Abby and the topic of Lexa is quickly addressed.
"When we find her in [episode] 401, in the scene you're referring to, she's really sitting for the first time, so she has a little bit of an emotional moment with her mother, which I think was important for several reasons," the showrunner says. "We wanted the world to know that it wasn’t a secret and everybody knew how she felt about Lexa. We wanted everybody to know that her mother knew and was totally cool with it. Like, that's just this world. There's never any judgement and you don't have to justify who you love. That’s the world that we've created in The 100."
Will There Be Another Huge Death? Since the very beginning of the series, The 100 has made it clear that no character is off limits from the Grimm Reaper's post-apocalyptic clutches. And you can bet that trend is going to continue. "It is definitely part of the fabric of this show. From the beginning, we’ve made the choice that the drama was real, that the stakes were high, and that anybody could die at any time -- that's the only promise that I've ever made about a character," Rothenberg stresses. "Ultimately, that's the way the show is going to continue to unfold. That is this world. It's a tragedy."
What’s Up With Clarke and Bellamy's Romantic Future? It seems that while half of The 100's fandom is still mourning the loss of Lexa, the other half is feverishly championing for Clarke and Bellamy to evolve romantically this season. But, Rothenberg warns that this potential pairing is a marathon, not a sprint. "Ultimately, the journey is long and I see the chemistry between those two actors and I love those two characters, but I'm not making any promises. I just don’t want people to watch the show just for any one relationship." he says. "For me, Bellamy and Clarke are the two leads of the show, really, and they are partners. They work well together and when they are firing on all cylinders and in the same direction -- good stuff happens. And when they're at odds with each other or separated from each other -- bad stuff happens. So does that take a romantic path eventually? Who knows, but it's certainly not where either one of them is at right now."
When/How Will The 100 End? Now that we're about to enter our fourth season of Clarke and Co.'s adventures, we are curious to know if the series is approaching the back half of its television lifespan, and, if so, how will it end? "It is not a happy ending story. This is not a story that ends with everybody walking off into the sunset. No way," Rothenberg teases. "I don’t know how it's going to end yet, I'm certainly not going to tell anybody how it's going to end after season whatever, but it will not be in a way, I guarantee, that is just like totally happy. So we'll find an irony to it."
What Sets Season 4 Apart From the Others? "Overall as a season, I think it's probably our best. The story is unlike anything we've told before and, at the same time, it fits perfectly into the show that we've been telling," Rothenberg says, adding that season four is going to feature more "comic relief" moments. "Season three was too dark. I feel like one of the things I tried to correct in this season was to try to find some humor and to try to find some hope in that darkness. I think the audience will find that balance to be rewarding."
The 100 airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.
Desperate for more scoop on The 100? Press play on our exclusive interview with star Lindsey Morgan below!