The 100 Season Two Preview: Notes from the Cast and Crew
‘The 100′ was easily one of the breakout shows of 2013, especially with its ability to tell a surprisingly dark story. Will the second season, starting this week, continue that same level of ‘WTF’ each week? From our interviews with the cast and the crew, it looks like that will be the case.
The 100 was probably my favorite new show when I reviewed the 2013 pilots last summer. Nothing could have prepared me, however, for what was to come when the series got to Episode 3 (Or Episode 4 … or Episode 5; at some point I had to stop counting). Jason Rothenberg and his team are right up there with Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal in terms of telling a fast-paced, dark story that is less like a television show and more like — if you’ll forgive the cliche — a roller coaster ride (and a damn fine coaster, too. Not one of those kiddy-coasters, but one you lose your lunch just looking at from the bottom).
We sat down with the cast and crew at San Diego Comic-Con earlier this summer. They told us what they could about the upcoming season, which was unsurprisingly very little. Isaiah Washington was particularly obtuse (tongue-in-cheek … to an extent). If you had asked me this summer, I would have said that just by his appearance at the Con one could figure out his fate … but then I’m reminded of our conversation with Mark Guggenheim about how many episodes Caity Loitz was going to be in, and I start to hedge those bets.
Here is what we learned from our conversations:
- Rothenberg isn’t sure the show really earned the “Is Anyone Safe” reputation it received in the first season. “We didn’t really kill that many important characters … we killed Wells.” But the writers try to treat violence in a real way. Wounds are impactful, and characters don’t heal by the time the next episode comes around. “That said, this year? No one is safe. We got too much credit last year, so this year I need to earn it.”
- Managing what the writers and actors can say before an episode airs is tough. There’s a balance between needing to answer questions to media to help build hype and revealing too much. Rothenberg, “I know if I was a fan of the show and I read online, ‘Oh this guy’s going to live’ … I’d be like ‘eh, OK.’ I want to be surprised when I watch it.
- Murphy is a character whose backstory is going to be revealed a little this season. “We’re going to start to peel back the layers.” Rothenberg compares episode six that explained where Bellamy was coming from as something they are going to try to do with the most hated of The 100. “I feel like [Murphy] on some level was underserved as a character last year … There’s a reason why he is the way he is.”
- Rothenberg loves all of the characters, but particularly likes writing for Clarke, “Eliza is just so good, anything I write she shows me what it really means.”
- All of the characters are scattered. The survivors from the Ark have landed in different places; the original 100 – or what’s left of them – are separated. “One of the things that this season is about is figuring out ways to get the people back together. Reunions are a key storyline.” The adults from the Ark finding their children – and finding them changed – will be an important arc. Rothenberg stopped short of saying whether or not Clarke and Abbey will be reunited, but at least they’re on the same planet now.
- Rothenberg doesn’t think that they will ever show the story of the apocalypse on the planet, but is interested in showing how the people of the Ark came together. “It’s a big episode, where big = expensive, so I’m not really sure when it’s going to happen, but it’s something I’d like to do.”
Eliza Taylor / Clarke Griffin
- Taylor “kinda knows where Clarke’s going,” but they’re only given scripts a couple of days in advance of shooting. Plus? The story is always changing.
- “Being able to play someone who is smart and strong and soulful is just fantastic.”
- Taylor has been focusing on her physicality this season, especially after watching last. “I’m a girly-girl really,” and that’s something that Clarke isn’t. There were scenes last year where she felt she put a little too much of that into play, and she doesn’t want to repeat it.
- She’s looking forward to the hypothetical reunion with her mother (she thinks it will happen, but again, she hasn’t read ahead). “There’s a lot of tension there, but also they’ve both changed so much individually, it will be interesting to see if they recognize one another.”
- When asked about whether Clarke will continue to evolve in the same direction we saw in Season One, Taylor was confident she would. “She’s on that path, there’s no turning back. She’s definitely blurring the lines,” doing those morally questionable things that being a leader forces her to take on.
Devon Bostick / Jasper Jordon
- Bostick is really excited to explore “the new world that is Mount Weather.” It sounds like the mystery that is this new locale – which Rothenberg assures us we will understand in the first moments of the season – will change the fabric of the world these characters live in.
- Bostick loves playing Jasper. He took to the character immediately when he read the pilot script, though he was shocked to see him die in the end. “He was the only guy having fun, just enjoying Earth for the first time … he’s goofy, but there’s a lot of heart to him.” But playing the transition is interesting. Jasper has PTSD from being speared, and has become a very different person. He’s running into battle, when he should probably just stay in camp.
- Jacktavia: Octavia slipped out of Jasper’s hands, which did challenge how Bostick approached the character. “She was a motivation to be doing the crazy things, because ‘she’s gonna dig it.’” It was a good beat to play, that despite Jasper’s affection, she was taking advantage of him. But now, “She’s a Grounder-pounder as they say around camp.” You can tell that Jasper’s sense of humor is very much born in Bostick’s.
- No one will say if Bellamy is alive or if Jaha is dead. Usually, you get a pretty good indication of such things by the show’s marketing in advance of the season; for example Isaiah Washington attended the Convention where Bob Morley did not. In this case, I’m not sure that’s a definitive clue.
- The interactions of the various factions on the ground will be a big part of the season. “The politics of the different societies; we’re going to explore how they all relate and who stands where,” teases Bostick, who was walking a tight line on what he could say and what he should not.
- That Mount Weather was a big part of the premiere and the finale was done intentionally. It was their goal originally, as the adults on the Ark told them that is where they could find safety. In the season finale, they learned just how wrong they really were. Bostick tells us, “We were wrong about the Grounders; now we’re wrong about the Mountain Men.”
Lindsey Morgan / Raven Reyes
- “If you think Season One was nuts, Season Two is definitely … ‘Get Ready.’” The intensity jumps off from the first minute back.
- Morgan appreciates how well the writers are in tune with what the actors are doing and what they bring to their characters: “They can see what we shine in, and what’s our strengths as actors. They’re also very curious … they always try to stretch us and surprise us.” They pushed Raven a great deal last year, exploring her character beyond just a normal guest star (the character and Reyes’ work was rewarded with a promotion to the regular cast this season).
- While talking about the writing surprising her, someone asked if there was a moment in a first season script that surprised her. “Bellamy … I mean, where did that come from?!?” Where the producers will give warnings about major plot points – most specifically to an actor if their character is going to die in a script, they let her find out this particular character beat on her own. “I was just reading the script going, ‘Oh, this is good! This is … WHAT?’” Raven was always intended to die, but the writers kept pushing that death back. When Morgan read scene where Raven and Bellamy hook up, she figured that such a shocking, raw moment would be an interesting final beat before the character was supposed to die in the next episode.
Marie Avgeropoulos / Octavia Blake
- Avgeropoulos was able to enjoy Comic-Con this year much more than last year for several reasons. She explained that it is easier to talk about a show people have seen – and become a fan of – than last year, where she felt like they were promising that the show was amazing. Plus, managing the Convention while on crutches, as she was forced to do last year, is much harder than you’d think.
- While social media has been a part of the show’s early success, she hadn’t really participated much before. “It’s the only place you can get a marriage proposal and a death threat in the same day.”
- “Season Two? It’s much darker and will push the envelope and show viewers even more than Season One.” She tells us that what we think is happening is the exact opposite from what is actually going on. We will obviously be meeting new characters, who “survived – or not – the effects of the radiation.”
- Avgeropoulos is comfortable with the character at this point, “It’s like when you turn the key in a car and put it into drive and it’ll just do its thing.”
- “I think Jasper is desperately trying to get out of the friend-zone.” But the Lincoln/Octavia story is more dynamic. She identifies with Lincoln for several reasons, and that the 100 had wrongly accused him was one of them, as she has familiarity with that. “Her only crime was that she was born.”
- Octavia is separated from the 100, both physically and emotionally. Her time with Lincoln will be difficult once they encounter other Grounders who won’t welcome her with open arms, and how the 100 react if and when they reunite will surprise her as well.
Ricky Whittle / Lincoln
- “Season One was really like Disneyland [compared to this season.]” His hashtag for the season is apparently, #justgotdarker.
- In preparing for this season, Rothenberg and Whittle’s discussions have lead him to doing a great deal of reading and research on “something,” which he obviously couldn’t share. “The material I’ve been given, I feel very honored to be trusted with … I’m going to have to go there, I’m going to have to ‘go there.’”
- Whittle has put a great deal of time and energy into crafting his performance. You can tell he has embraced not just the assignments the producers gave him, but everything that role entails. He obviously (yeah, ladies … it’s obvious) spent time in the gym, but it goes beyond that. He works with a vocal coach to get his accent right. His work with an acting coach lead him to lobby the writers to give him less dialogue, as he thinks that’s how Lincoln would be. “I don’t want dialogue. Keep that mystique, keep him silent. He doesn’t need to answer you.”
- The one assignment he would share with us? Horse training. He’d ridden before, but wants to take it to a new level. The stunt coordinator owns his own ranch where he worked with Joseph Gatt and Dichen Lachman last season.
Isaiah Washington / Counselor Jaha
- Talking with Washington was an interesting experience, much different from how he was last year. The whole conversation was, I hope, just tongue-in-cheek … cheekiness. Just a couple of quotes (which were repeated often) will sum up the experience (and I’ve left most of the beginning of the conversation in the highlight clip above):
- “I’m a walking cliffhanger, and I can’t tell you a thing.”
- “No, I can’t talk about it.”
- “Can’t talk about that.”
- “It’s so disappointing, I feel like I’m letting everyone down. I ran my mouth non-stop last [year].”
- “Yeah … it’s gonna be intense.”
- “You will be in alignment with Jason Rothenberg’s decisions on Counselor Jaha’s fate.”