Plus: What that 6-year time jump means for hairstyles and relationships

By Natalie Abrams
July 21, 2017 at 04:26 PM EDT

The surviving Grounders will face a very familiar villain when The 100 returns for season 5.

At the end of season 4, with Praimfaya set to wipe out the world, Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) and a group of Grounders found shelter in the bunker beneath Polis. Meanwhile, Raven (Lindsey Morgan), Bellamy (Bob Morley), Monty (Christopher Larkin), Harper (Chelsey Reist), Murphy (Richard Harmon), Emori (Luisa D’Oliveira), and Echo (Tasya Teles) returned to space. Clarke (Eliza Taylor), meanwhile, sacrificed herself so her friends could make it there, but a flash-forward in the final moments of the season finale to six years later revealed that not only is she alive, but she is also a surrogate mother to a Nightblood in a still-lush corner of the Earth. But they won’t be alone much longer as a prisoner transport ship descends to Earth.

That transport ship actually houses prisoners from before the first apocalypse over 100 years ago. “The prison ship, they’re from Earth,” executive producer Jason Rothenberg revealed during the show’s Comic-Con panel on Friday. “They’re from our time, so they’re from before the first apocalypse. That means it’s probably cryo. They were in hypersleep. They’ve come back to this planet that they don’t recognize and has been destroyed, and all that’s left is this garden of Eden that Clarke’s been living in, and there’s not enough room for everyone.”

Suffice it to say, Clarke will be immediately on guard. As revealed in a recap video played before the panel, Clarke plans to kill anyone who threatens her new life with Nightblood Madi (Imogen Tear), who has become her daughter in the ensuing six years. “It’s nice to be playing someone a little closer to my age,” Taylor said with a laugh. “It’s exciting to see me as a 24-year-old woman who has gone through so much, and she’s taking on this maternal role looking after this tiny Nightblood.” Though Taylor joked that she’ll be a “cool mom” to Madi, Rothenberg revealed that because Clarke has relayed the stories about her friends over the years; “These are Madi’s heroes when we start the season,” he said.

The arrival of the prisoners provides a nice parallel to the first season, when The 100 arrived on Earth themselves. “Five seasons ago, these guys were the prisoners, and now Clarke is the Grounder in the woods watching these people step out,” Rothenberg said. “That parallel will continue for sure. Bellamy is going to have to help Clarke come to see that we have to do things different now. She just wants to protect her child. She just wants to protect her home.”

Octavia also will be playing a more maternal role, in a sense, as we see exactly how she’s leading those in the bunker. Though they were missing in action in the finale, as Clarke noted she stopped trying to unbury the bunker, Octavia has apparently survived. But it won’t be easy to lead all these various people. “Octavia doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing, but she doesn’t want to set off the chaos with the 1,200 people in the bunker,” Avgeropoulos said. “You can’t just run around and break the laws and cause riots. In season 5, you’ll see what Octavia’s plan is to keep the peace and how she reprimands others in her own special way.”

Meanwhile, scoop was scarce as to those who went to space in the finale, though the recent news that Tasha Teles, who plays Echo, has been upped to series regular likely means they’re still alive. “It’s been amazing,” Teles said of playing this character, whose role has grown each season. “Every time we got a script, I was always nervous to explore more into Echo and give life to that character, because she was always a character that I felt really strongly about.”

So what have the seven been doing up in space over the last six years? There were at least two couples — Monty and Harper, Emori and Murphy — but will there be some new ‘ships when the show returns? “People break up, people get back together, people fool around,” Rothenberg teased. “They do have six years of time to kill, and there’s not a lot to do.”

Much like Clarke changed her appearance in the ensuing years, many of the characters may also sport new styles after the time jump, with Rothenberg pinpointing Octavia and a particularly cool hairstyle. “It’s actually fun because usually, we’re picking right back up where we left off,” Rothenberg said. “This season is different, and I really talked to all of them about what do they want? Anything is possible after six years.”

Thankfully, the show will provide answers as to what’s happened in the past six years quite quickly. “There will be flashbacks for sure,” Rothenberg revealed. “There’s a lot of very pivotal emotional moments they’ve experienced in that six-year period. We will come to understand how all of them became the characters we came to see in the premiere. So yes, that does include flashbacks.”

The 100 will return midseason on The CW.

Episode Recaps

The 100

After a nuclear apocalypse, a group of people who have been living in space return to Earth—and quickly learn they’re not alone.

  • TV Show
  • 6
  • The CW