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‘The 100’ Season 4 Preview: ‘The Earth Strikes Back’ as Nuclear Apocalypse Looms

The cast and executive producer of “The 100” were on hand at Comic-Con to preview Season 4 of the hit CW drama, beginning with a sizzle reel that included a work-in-progress shot from next season that showed the Grounder city of Polis being overtaken by a dark cloud of radioactive fallout as Eliza Taylor’s Clarke narrated via voiceover: “Our enemy isn’t something that can be fought, it can’t be reasoned with, it can’t be killed. When all is lost, can hope survive? can we survive? After everything we’ve done, do we deserve to?”

Creator Jason Rothenberg said that if and when we see that shot in its finished form, it’ll be later in the season, but the producers wanted to offer fans a tease for the season, given that they haven’t started filming yet.

“The earth strikes back in Season 4, it is an unbeatable foe,” Rothenberg promised of next year’s story. “It quickly becomes about not how to stop it, because stopping it is not possible, but how do we survive? There aren’t enough lifeboats, so who gets to choose who lives?”

Cast members Taylor, Henry Ian Cusick, Marie Avgeropoulos, Richard Harmon, Lindsey Morgan and Chris Larkin were present on the panel to preview what’s ahead for their characters after the dramatic events of Season 3, which saw the deaths of major characters including Lexa, Lincoln and Pike.

Avgeropoulos’ Octavia killed Pike in revenge for his murder of her lover, Lincoln, and the actress promised that “Octavia will take a really dark turn” in Season 4. “She’s going to do what she does best, which is killing people,” and will be channeling her inner assassin, according to Avgeropoulos. “She really found her home within herself in becoming a warrior, and that’s thanks to Lincoln and Indra.”

Here’s what else we learned on the panel:

“The City of Light is gone, the flame exists, and all the minds of the commanders are in the flame,” Rothenberg says. “The finale was designed from day one … we always knew Lexa was coming back in the finale, we always knew there was going to be this triumphant, emotional return, but it was also designed as a finale. So Lexa’s gone, she’s not coming back to the show, but ultimately the flame is an important thing, it’s a political artifact.”

According to Rothenberg, whoever is in possession of the flame has the power, especially since there are no Nightbloods who can ascend to the position of commander. “There is no commander, there are no Nightbloods that we know of, but there are Nightblood scouts, and we’ll meet one” in Season 4. “It’ll be an interesting thing for [the new character], when she shows up,” because she’ll be dealing with the fallout of the murder of the Nightbloods and the loss of the flame, causing the character to wrestle “what is left of her religion, her spirituality.”

You can expect Clarke to be back in a position of power in Season 4, with less self-doubt and more respect from the adults around her. “This season, Clarke owns her power, she’s saved the world,” Rothenberg notes. “Kane and Abby recognize that, they recognize that they’re dealing with someone special, and it’s her time to do it again.”

After last season’s ordeal with ALIE, Cusick is hopeful that Kane will once again be a leader in his own right. “Kane is fairly pragmatic … he sees what needs to be done and hopefully won’t delve too much into the PTSD,” he said. “As a good leader, I would hope he’d put others before himself.” The actor also revealed on the panel that he’ll be directing an episode in Season 4.

Raven’s close encounter with ALIE has changed her forever, according to Morgan: “It’s not the same Raven, she got the ALIE upgrade, so she’s definitely like a Raven 2.0,” the actress said. “I think she went through an evolution, she’s not only stronger mentally because of the knowledge ALIE left behind, but emotionally and spiritually, she’s been to hell and back, she didn’t die, so I feel like she’s a totally different Raven on a totally different level, ready to take on the biggest enemy yet.”

Larkin and Harmon both expressed optimism for their characters after the darkness of last season, especially since Murphy and Monty are involved in burgeoning romances. “He has a possibly blossoming romance, and the last moment between him and Jasper you feel hopeful for the first time in a really long time that they’re going to be okay,” Larkin said of Monty, who forged a connection with Harper last season.

Murphy, too, has a rare chance for an emotional connection thanks to his relationship with Emori. “He found someone he can share life with, for at least now. For the first time, I can see the possibility of maybe a happy ending for him, and that’s really cool,” Harmon said.

Rothenberg also revealed the original ending for the Season 3 finale, in which “Jasper comes out of the City of Light and goes and blows his brains out,” but the showrunner admitted, “it was too dark, even for me … It was a horrible way to leave what was a really dark season. Plus I felt like there was more in the tank for Jasper. It was something that I, in my gut, didn’t feel right about, so I cut it and we found the better ending.”

The cast shared another secret that never made it to screen — in the series premiere, it was originally intended for Kane to be Octavia’s father, but the idea was scrapped after it was filmed.

Season 4 will also see Zach McGowan’s Ice Nation King Roan return in a big way, since the actor has been promoted to series regular status, and despite Indra’s grave wounds last season, Rothenberg confirmed that she is alive and that Adina Porter will return for multiple episodes in the new season.

The 100” returns for Season 4 at midseason on The CW.

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