'The 100' showrunner dishes on Season 2 after the Season 1 finale shocker

the-100-mount-weather-clarke.jpg Whoa.

That's all that comes to mind immediately after viewing "The 100's" epic Season 1 finale. "We Are Grounders -- Part 2," which aired on Wednesday (June 11), absolutely exploded everything that we and the 100 knew (or thought) to be true about Earth, and when The CW's newest hit show returns in the fall, nothing will be the same.

Obviously, spoilers below if you have yet to watch the season finale. If you haven't, you're crazy, go watch immediately. If you have, please proceed ...

After Zap2it grilled "The 100" executive producer Jason Rothenberg about the big battle at the climax of the season finale -- the 100 against the Grounders, and later, the Reapers against the Grounders, and then after that, the Mountain Men against everyone -- we couldn't contain our excitement over watching Clarke wake up after the Mountain Men knocked everyone out with gas in that white room in Mount Weather. 

That scene was like watching a whole different series, with a clean, sterile environment, technology and medicine like nothing we've seen before, and even a van Gogh painting in pristine condition hanging on the wall. And even crazier is the fact that Clarke is a prisoner in her room, being watched on monitors, and sees Monty in his own locked room across the hallway. What is going on?

Rothenberg was, of course, tight-lipped about mostly everything but we still had to try to squeeze any answers we could out of the mad genius behind "The 100." Check out what he did reveal about where the Season 1 finale leaves us for Season 2, how the series might look different or similar next season and more:

Zap2it: First of all, we need to talk about that huge cliffhanger at the end. What is going on at Mt. Weather?
Jason Rothenberg: Ha! Yes. What is going on at Mt. Weather? That's really fodder for Season 2 and as we speak, I'm polishing up the outline for the first episode which starts shooting in about three weeks. I've got a very short timeline in which to write the script. And we really unpack that mystery, of course. But we have big plans for Mount Weather and you won't expect it at all. It will be 100 percent, I can guarantee, you can't predict what they're going to find there.

I love how that ending brought the series full circle back to the pilot when the kids had their mission to get to Mt. Weather. Does that mean the Grounder that speared Jasper back in the pilot was actually a Mountain Man?
I would say that it's safe to say that it's neither of them. And that doesn't leave a lot of options as to what it might be so you can probably figure it out. But that goes to the relationships between the various groups on the ground. How's that for being totally ambiguous while answering the question?

[laughs] You're doing an incredible job.
I just really didn't want anybody to anticipate that we're going to Mt. Weather until that white room. I really wanted that to be as mind blowing as I think it is. I think you're 100 percent right to pick out the fact that the season began with the journey to Mt. Weather and it ended at Mt. Weather. That was by design, and as a fan of sci-fi, when that happens I know that the people making the show knew what they were doing all along, which gives me great confidence in the story going forward. And in this case, I know the intent of why we ended there and where we're going next season, too. So that's really exciting as a sci-fi fan.

Let's talk a little bit more about that final scene, because when Clarke wakes up in that white room, it seemed like an entirely new show. In light of that, how is Season 2 going to look different than Season 1?
When you think about it, the 100 have only been on the ground by the finale for something like 29 days. We still know almost nothing about the world. We've been seeing the world through their eyes 100 percent of the time. We know what they know, which is almost nothing. Like looking through a keyhole at a room when there's a whole wide world out there. With the white room at the end of the finale and the Mountain Men with guns and gear, we begin to say, "OK, hold on to your hats, people." They're going to tell us a lot more. 

We began to do that in 12 with Finn and Clarke and Lincoln and the Reapers, we began to show there is this whole other level of complexity to this world that we haven't gotten into yet. It's not just Grounders and the kids from the 100. There's this whole universe that exists. I've been saying all along and there have been hints all along, just from the way the Grounders look if nothing else, they were fighting something before the 100 landed. It was only a matter of time before we got into what that was that they were fighting.

By the end of the finale, most of the Ark successfully made it down to Earth, with only Jaha left in space. Does this mean we're going to lose that space storyline going forward?
Well, I'll put it like this. As you well know, not everyone makes it down. Second of all, I would argue with the term "successfully makes it down," because we know that one ship makes it down by the end of the finale, but in Season 2, we realize very quickly that there weren't very many others. There were seven space stations total, so it's not a purely happy situation.

In terms of next season, obviously we don't have the Ark, but we do have the aesthetic juxtaposition between the spaceship and the ground, the claustrophobic dying world in space against this place that's exploding with life, the wide-open world on the ground, that's crucial to the show. It is the show. That's iconic of the show. So that's something that will continue in Season 2 but in a very different way.

Something that I absolutely loved in both parts of the finale was the reveal of the Reapers, because those carts of half-dead human bodies were terrifying. What can we hope to see from them in the future?
We'll understand everything about them. We'll understand the relationship between the Reapers and the Grounders, we'll understand the relationship between the Reapers and the Mountain Men and the Grounders, and we'll understand how the 100 and the people of the Ark who came down upend the conflict between them all and screw everything up. This is some really good stuff for Season 2.

Where did you come up with idea to introduce the cannibalistic tribe of Reapers when we already had the Grounders and the Mountain Men as enemies of the 100?
What I wanted to do, and what I think we started to do pretty well in about episode 9 but really actually starting back with the introduction of Lincoln and seeing that he was not a bad guy, is that the Grounders, while they started off as the main antagonistic force this season, are not evil. They are complicated. They have their own perspective on what happened. 

They thought the 100 started a war with them and that they were acting provocatively against them, not the other way around. That was always on my mind and in Season 2, I wanted to see the Grounders as almost sympathetic and almost like the good guys. So to do that, I needed a real bad guy. Whoever else we met out there, the enemy of the Grounders, was going to be the real enemy. The Reapers are just physically evil. There's not a lot of nuance with that enemy. However, that's still not the biggest enemy.

"The 100" Season 2 premieres this fall on The CW.
Photo/Video credit: The CW