Executive producer Jason Rothenberg breaks down his decision to end the CW's post-apocalyptic drama next season

After six seasons, countless deaths, multiple wars, and two world-ending events, the end is in sight for The 100. On Sunday, executive producer Jason Rothenberg announced that the CW’s post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama will end with season 7. But with so much bloodshed and destruction caused by Clarke (Eliza Taylor), Bellamy (Bob Morley), and the rest of the original 100 juvenile delinquents sent down from space to test Earth’s survivability way back in the series premiere, all in the name of their own survival, does The 100 even have room for a happy ending? Remember, these are characters who have committed genocide, become cannibals at one point, and are even ultimately to blame for Earth’s second apocalypse, forcing them to abandon the planet for a new place to call home.

The 100
Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/The CW

The overarching theme of this brutal, bloodthirsty show has always been the fight for survival. For almost 100 episodes, the series has explored how far people are willing to go to survive and what that means for humanity. With the upcoming season 6 finale promising even more death in the name of these protagonists surviving over other characters seen as villains, what would a “happy ending” even look like, if it’s at all attainable?

“I think that’s an interesting way to put it,” Rothenberg tells EW. “A happy ending? I’d say that’s probably, well… it’ll be our version of a happy ending, how about that?”

The showrunner laughs before continuing. “But I definitely can safely say that we’re trying to say something more with season 7,” he adds. “The ending of a story always is the point of the story, the moral of the story. We have yet to reveal the moral of the story, but it will be revealed in season 7. And it won’t be ‘People are horrible, we all suck, we’re willing to kill everyone and everything and do anything to survive.’ There’s a higher purpose.”

There’s still an entire season of reveals and twists between now and the series finale, which will bring The 100’s episode count appropriately up to 100. Rothenberg has talked before about how he’s had a general plan for the show from the start, and now that the end is in sight, we’re finally inching closer toward seeing that come to life. But now the showrunner is opening up about how it might have changed over the years.

“There were a few seasons in the middle of the run where we didn’t know,” Rothenberg says. “We legitimately were on the bubble and were always trying to engineer something that could possibly be a series ender and a season ender, you know? I have for a while known thematically and like you say, in a general way, what I want the ending to be. I knew what I wanted it to feel like, I knew what I wanted it to say. But it was about getting some assurances from the network that I could actually tell the story when I wanted to.”

According to Rothenberg, he went into season 7 “hoping” that he would be able to end the series with it, if the CW and Warner Bros. TV allowed him to.

“To their great benefit since they are putting the quality of the show ahead of making more episodes and making more money, shockingly, it’s a decision that really should be applauded for both the studio and especially Mark Pedowitz and the network side, we finally get to do it,” Rothenberg says. “It’s much easier knowing. We rolled the dice this year that we were going to get to do it, and fortunately in their wisdom and generosity, they’re letting us do it. Had they said no and wanted a season 8, I was going to be out of here anyway. Getting to end on our terms, it’s a rare thing, and I’m grateful for it for sure.”

The 100’s season 6 finale airs Tuesday, Aug. 6, at 9 p.m. ET on the CW.

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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.

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