Even as "The 100" continues to attract an even bigger and more passionate following, executive producer Jason Rothenberg understands how, just like his characters, one has to be ready for just about anything around the corner.
The recent death of fan-favorite character Lexa -- a necessary evil needed to allow actress Fear the Walking Dead" -- certainly provided a dramatic, tragic exit, but a disappointed contingent of fans who felt her demise played into certain storytelling tropes that too often befall LGBT characters made their displeasure known quite vocally via social media.
Rothenberg recognized their point and offered an apology, and now all parties seem ready to move forward with the more enjoyable task at hand: just what will "The 100" serve up next? While visiting WonderCon in Los Angeles, the showrunner offered some hints at the road ahead and shared his own experiences weathering dark moments.
Moviefone: The story has gotten pretty bleak of late. Does it get even lower, or are there glimmers of hope ahead?
Jason Rothenberg: It's a dark season. It definitely is. It's hard to say that it's possible to go lower than that for sure. But you know, there will be more death this season. A.L.I.E. wants to take everybody to the City of Light.
It's funny, the first half of the season was about civil wars, both in Arcadia and in Polis. Nobody was paying attention to the real problem, which was percolating over in Arcadia with A.L.I.E. That sort of rears its head in a big way coming up. Not in [Episode] Nine as much as in Ten and beyond, but I'm really excited for that part of the season to kick in.
I feel like that part of the story is there in people's minds, but it was always on the back burner and becomes the front story very soon. But there are some dark days ahead, both in that story in Arcadia because of Pike's continuing sort of fascism and desire for control and what he's willing to do to get order in his society. Right now, obviously, Kane is under the sword of Damocles. He's been sentenced to death. I feel like people need to be prepared for anything.
Are we going to see any new faces popping up?
Yes, there are some new faces, for sure. Ontari comes in and she messes things up in a big way. There'll be other new characters coming in certainly down the road that I can't really talk about that I'm excited for people to meet, that we've talked about for a couple seasons that suddenly we actually get to meet, which will be great.
Tell me about shifting allegiances or challenged relationships going forward. Who's going to find themselves struggling with their relationship with different characters?
Well, Bellamy obviously spent the first part of the season on the wrong side, I guess, depending on your perspective. Certainly, from the perspective of Octavia, and Kane, and Miller, and Harper, and all of the people that were sort of fighting against what Pike had stood for.
Now that he has kind of seen the light, I guess you would say, or certainly found a line that he wouldn't cross in terms of what Pike wants him to do and what he's willing to sort of stand by for, we'll see if his friends trust him again. I think that he is going to have a long, hard journey back into their sort of trust. Especially with his sister.
That's one of the saddest parts of the season in my mind, is that relationship between Bellamy and Octavia, which has always been such a pillar of the show, has really been tested. And it gets tested even more before it may or may not sort of come back to where we all I think want it to be.
When you do a season like this that goes in a particularly dark direction, what's the toll you pay writing it? How does it affect your real life?
I mean, I feel like it's interesting, especially living in the age of social media, where the bad things that happen in the show, I become sort of vilified for. The actors are generally still loved, which I think is important. It's a hard story for people. It's the story that we told this season.
In terms of how it affects me as a human being, my writing is always pretty dark. I think the show has always been pretty dark. It's, yes, darker this season for sure. But it's always been something that I've had to sort of step away from and be with my kids, and try and find a way to live a normal, healthy, happy life and not it consume me.
Do you feel like everybody who was upset about the Lexa issue has made peace at this point?
I don't know, honestly, what the answer to that is. I feel like this is an ongoing situation. I feel like I'm grateful that I was the center of this so that I could understand it. It would have taken me, at first, I didn't get it and I worked really hard in trying to take myself out so I could hear what was being said.
I have learned a lot from it, and for sure will apply these lessons going forward in terms of being not just a better showrunner, or course, but also a better writer and more in tune with what my audience is reacting to, and I think a better person too. I think as the father of two kids, this has been a teaching moment for them and for me, because ultimately, I don't think it's weakness to apologize when, even if inadvertently, you've hurt somebody.
So that's sort of where I have come to. I never meant for the story to cross the line the way that it has for some people. Just because I didn't mean for it to happen, it happened, and I felt the need to apologize, and it took me a while. I wish I had gotten there sooner.