'The 100' Creator Reflects on Sci-Fi Drama's Miraculous 7-Season Run (Exclusive)

Photo does not have a caption

As The 100 revs up for the seventh and final season, The CW's post-apocalyptic, dystopian drama has gone through quite an evolution over the past six years.

When it first debuted in 2014, the series centered on a group of teenagers as they became the first people from a space habitat to return to Earth after a disastrous nuclear apocalypse. When the final 16 episodes kick off Wednesday, Clarke (Eliza Taylor) and Co. attempt to rebuild Sanctum, the community they just destroyed, while combating a new enigmatic, but dangerous, threat, Anomaly. A far cry from the simpler days of learning to survive. (Watch ET's exclusive sneak peek from the premiere above.)

While outgoing shows like Empire and Supernatural were forced to pivot their original series finale plans due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemicThe 100 managed to wrap up its final season just under the wire. "We were lucky enough to finish shooting everything, and fortunately you can edit remotely and virtually. There were some kinks to work out, but we've worked them out and now it's just about finishing shows. Fortunately, we can do that. We got lucky," creator Jason Rothenberg tells ET. "I'm happy that the fans are going to get to see the ending that we wanted them to see."

Ahead of the new season, ET hopped on the phone with Rothenberg to reflect on the series' run over the last six years, the potential prequel spinoff series and saying goodbye to the characters.

ET: You must be breathing a sigh of relief that you can air your series finale as planned, unlike a handful of other shows that weren't so lucky.

Jason Rothenberg: Yeah. A series finale like that would have been heartbreaking, especially because we were planning for such a big one. We also got to finish up our prequel pilot episode for episode 8. So that was already in the can too. Pretty much every pilot didn't get shot. We were blessed to be able to finish that and that turned out really great. Hopefully, the television gods will bestow us the opportunity to keep telling the story.

Whenever a show decides to end its run, it puts you in a unique spot. When did you get the feeling that season 7 was going be the end?

In the beginning, I used to say, "I have five seasons in mind." Honestly, I was loving it so much that at the end of season 5, I wasn't ready to end it and the network wasn't ready to end it. Then we came up with the idea of going to another planet and really expanding the playing field. That made me creatively excited. After seven years, that's a long time. That's a long time for these actors to be playing the same parts. It's a long time for me, as a writer, to be telling the same story. Certainly, we changed the story up a lot, so it's a different story every year, but it was time. You just sense these things. I didn't want to step away, hand it off to anybody else and have it exceed its expiration date. We all know shows that have gone on too long and just become jobs or things you're doing for money and not for the love of it anymore. I never wanted The 100 to be that. We were lucky enough that the network agreed to let us wrap it up on our terms, so we could come up with an ending that I think this show deserves.