Please be aware there are spoilers for The 100 through Season 3.
The CW’s sleeper sci-fi hit The 100 ran into a spot of trouble last year following the controversial death of two fan favorite characters, both of which sparked concerns about representations of minority characters on TV.
Today, following the CW’s TCA panel, network President Mark Pedowitz spoke with the press about the intense fan response and how it’s resonated throughout the production of the series, which returns for Season 4 next year.
“We’re believers in letting showrunners tell their stories,” he told reporters, cementing his support for showrunner Jason Rothenberg. “If you start limiting certain things, you’re limiting their ability to be creative.”
“I think he got a great learning curve of what social media can do whether you be adored or hated at any given time,” Pedowitz continued, referring to the active social media campaign that was launched in the wake of the death of Alycia Debnam-Carey‘s Lexa, an all-too-rare complex leading lesbian character who was killed off when Debnam-Carey landed a leading role in Fear the Walking Dead.
While fans were upset by the implementation of the “Kill Your Gays” trope in a show that had treated queer characters with tremendous respect, they were even more aggrieved by the active social media engagement from Rothenberg and the writers’ room that made them feel exploited. “My take on this is, that was much more of a social media reaction and how Jason handled the social media reaction,” Pedowitz said, pointing out that GLAAD has not reached out to the show for sensitivity training despite maintaining a good relationship with the network.
Commenting on the other controversial character death, that of Ricky Whittle’s stoic warrior Lincoln, Pedowitz explained that there was a bit of back and forth between Rothenberg and himself on how the character’s arc would eventually be resolved.
“We had conversations for a long time about Ricky’s character, Lincoln, who was a great character. Jason felt for a long time that he had written that character into a box, we felt differently. There was a long discussion about it. At some point, Jason found a great way for Ricky’s character to be written out so that Marie [Avgeropoulos]’s character could go forward in some way, shape, or form.”
As for Whittle’s public comments, in which the actor claimed that Rothenberg actively reduced his presence on the show to make his run on the series “untennable”, Pedowitz stood by his showrunner saying, “Ricky’s comments about the number of lines and stuff like that…he’s an actor, it’s the number of lines. Ricky was a great performer for us, but it is the showrunner’s right to make however many lines an actor gets in a particular episode.”
Looking to the future of the series, Pedowitz remains undaunted in his passion for the show, which he says is an “an unbelievable performer in delayed viewing and digital streaming.” Pedowitz pointed out that he was one of the people who initially encouraged Rothberg to go dark with the show’s narrative and teased a return to “more intimate” narratives after Season 3’s grand-scale.
“We’ve had long discussions about the first part of the season last year, in terms of it being a little confusing with the Ice Nation and everything else, and it picked up in the second half of the season,” he said. “It will be much more intimate stories this year.”
The 100 Season 4 doesn’t have an announced premiere date yet, but it is slated to return in early 2017.