A prequel spinoff of The 100 is in the works at The CW. Set to air as a backdoor pilot in the upcoming final season of the post-apocalyptic drama, it is the latest attempt by the network to continue exploring their most popular shows. Some spinoffs, like The Originals, have been more successful than others. Now, The 100 will see if it can ably expand its universe.
Premiering in 2014, The 100 is loosely based on the book series of the same name by Kass Morgan. It tells the story of criminal adolescents that are among the first to return to Earth after a nuclear disaster has devastated much of the planet. Confronting the dangers of their unknown environment, the adolescents struggle to form a community. But as they attempt to settle in and acclimate to their new surroundings, they discover that not all of humanity was wiped out. This presents its own set of risks, as the group must band together against survivors that are not exactly welcoming. For the proposed prequel, which will be written by The 100’s showrunner Jason Rothenberg, a crucial event will be examined more closely.
According to Deadline, the prequel will unfold 97 years before the events of the original series. More specifically, it will begin with the nuclear apocalypse which wipes out most of the human population. It will chronicle a band of survivors as they learn to cope, ward off threats, and fight to create a society that improves on the one they lost. The news could be read as another example of a relatively recent overall trend of reboots and overreliance on existing properties, but a prequel of The 100 has been considered for years. More generally, The CW’s inkling to look at their shows from a different angle goes back to the network’s beginnings.
In 2009, Gossip Girl aired a potential spinoff as a backdoor pilot. Starring Brittany Snow and Krysten Ritter, the prequel to the teen soap was set several decades in the past. It was not picked up, despite initially positive buzz. The failed attempts of Supernatural to launch a spinoff are well-known. But, on the other hand, The Vampire Diaries has quietly managed to spawn two different shows. Most notably, the Arrowverse is going strong. There’s even a giant crossover on the way, with the Crisis on Infinite Earths event.
It remains to be seen if The 100’s prequel will be a huge hit, a disappointment, or somewhere in between. Rothenberg had intended to write the prequel as a novel in 2016. He has since altered his plans to work on a script. But the possibility of a spinoff should come as good news for fans of The 100, especially if they’re not quite ready to say goodbye.