After a look back to the past in the latest episode of The CW series The 100, things are still moving ahead, as Clarke (Eliza Taylor) tries to figure out exactly what Cadogan (John Pyper-Ferguson) is up to. While Clarke would do anything to save the people that she loves, Cadogan would sacrifice anything he had to for the salvation of the world, which will push them both to see just how far they’re willing to go.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, showrunner Jason Rothenberg talked about how Callie’s story differs from Clarke’s, the tense brother-sister dynamic between Callie (Iola Evans) and Reese (Adain Bradley), the role Becca (Erica Cerra) plays in everything, how the events of the prequel episode will affect things in the seventh and final season of The 100 moving forward, Cadogan’s mission, and his hope that he’ll get to keep telling the story of the past.
[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for The 100, Season 7, “Anaconda.”]
Collider: You have another very strong, very independently-minded female character at the center of the prequel story, with Callie. Do you see parallels between her story and Clarke’s story? Was that something you intentionally wanted to explore?
JASON ROTHENBERG: I feel like Callie definitely starts out as more of a leader from the beginning than Clarke was at the beginning. She definitely had a learning curve to get there in seasons 1 and 2. Ultimately, Clarke is a character who would do anything to save the people that she loves. She committed genocide at Mt. Weather to save the people that she loves. Callie’s whole mission statement is very different. It starts from a place of, “I don’t care who you are, I’m going to save you.” It’s almost the opposite of Clarke’s. It’s much more outwardly optimistic and hopeful than where our original series went, which was obviously pretty dark. We were trying to tell the story of how awful tribalism is in the original, and here, we’re telling the story of a young woman with somewhat of a savior complex, but she’s going to try to find as many people who are out there in their bunkers and cure them because, essentially, that’s what she has – a cure for radiation, if there is such a thing. If she can find them, she’s going to save them. Of course, she’s gonna run into groups of people that are out there who don’t think that way, and that will make her mission difficult. We’ll have to see how long she can stay hopeful and optimistic. Perhaps, eventually, that light will go out, but certainly, she’s got more of a light as we start.
It’s also interesting to see a brother-sister relationship where they’re really pitted against each other. What can you say about the relationship between Callie and Reese and how different they are, even though they’re family?
ROTHENBERG: That’s a family that was split apart by their father’s obsession with the end of the world, and this artifact that he discovered that he believed was the key to saving them from the end of the world. That’s a story we would hopefully tell in-series, as well, as we flashback quite often. One of my plans in the series, ‘cause it is so close to the actual apocalypse, everybody who’s in this show was alive, in our time, before the end of the world, so I really do plan on going back, all the time, for all of these characters, and seeing the way they were pre-apocalypse versus what’s become of them in this survival landscape that they find themselves in. But the brother-sister dynamic, they started out as a team in the household, but eventually because the father was much more taken with his daughter than with his son, and he always tough-loved his son, he was determined to win his father’s affection, and that has led to a pretty powerful sibling rivalry that definitely follows them out into season 1 of the series. Obviously, they have a fairly intense confrontation at the end of the prequel [episode], and he’s going off to find her to get that Flame, no matter what he has to do.
In the prequel episode, we also got to know Becca better and learned more about the A.I. that she created, along with the blood serum and how she ended up being burned at the stake. Did you know how intertwined Becca would be throughout the story of this series, and then also into the prequel?
ROTHENBERG: Yes. When we decided that the prequel story was going to start in the Second Dawn bunker and with those initial Nightbloods that left the bunker to essentially become the Grounders, we knew that it all started with Becca. There are moments in the original series that we come back to from a different perspective. We saw Becca landing at the end of episode 307 and saying, “I’m here to help,” and we see it again in this episode, but we see it from the perspective of those people in hazmat suits that were coming out of the post-apocalyptic cityscape to converge on her. Now, we know that those were some of our heroes of the new story. Likewise, we saw her getting burned at the stake in season 5, and now we get another perspective on it. And Erica Cerra is amazing. Becca is one of my favorite characters. She intersects the narrative all the time. She created the mind drives that allowed the Primes to do what they’re doing, and she created the Flame and A.L.I.E., and all of it. She’s been hugely important.
How will the events in this last episode affect things going forward on The 100? What can we expect in the next handful of episodes of the show?
ROTHENBERG: We know that Cadogan is mistaken in his belief that Clarke still has the Flame in her head. Clarke, as we see at the end of the episode, is going to let them believe that. That’s gonna drive the story going forward. We end the episode with the reveal that Echo, Diyoza and Octavia have become Disciples, and that’s gonna drive the story going forward. And we now know why Cadogan is so obsessed with getting this final code. Whatever Becca saw when she disappeared in this prequel episode is connected to the end of the world, but it’s also potentially the final confrontation, or last war as he talks about it, that leads to the transcendence of the human race to whatever comes next, if we win it. And so, all of those ideas were, by the way, ideas that we needed to tell this season anyway, which is why it’s such a pivotal episode for the story of season 7, beyond just being an origin story for our heroes of the new show.
What would you say it is that makes Cadogan someone who’s really so willing to sacrifice anyone, including his own family, to get what he wants?
ROTHENBERG: He believes in his mission, which is the salvation of all of us. He believes, as a lot of people throughout history have, that goal is more important than anything. As opposed to someone who’s willing to do anything and kill anyone to protect their nuclear family or their found families, as is the case in our show, he’s willing to sacrifice people that he cares about in order to get this transcendence that is promised and that he believes is out there. The ends justifies the means, I suppose. It’s fascinating to me as a character study, for sure, and John Pyper-Ferguson’s performance is amazing and layered. He’s built this whole society without love – without familial love and without individual love – because he believes that he’s trying to save all of us. We are all one people. We are all the human race. And on some level, he’s right. There is a beauty to that idea. It’s the truth. We are all in this together, and if we don’t figure it out quickly and we continue to kill each other because we’re trying to protect our families or our nations, or whatever the case may be, eventually, there’ll be nobody left. So, on some level, he’s right. He’s just lost the thread of that idea in the obsession that drives him. Maybe he’s not the right messenger, but he has the right message. I don’t know. We’ll see where it goes. All of those questions are answered by the season. And I hope we get to keep telling the story. It’s not a given yet, but I’m excited about it, and I have hope.
The 100 airs on Wednesday nights on The CW.