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Why The 100 Prequel Was Cancelled (& Is The Franchise Dead?)

The 100 prequel has been officially canceled by its parent network, leaving many to wonder if the franchise is dead for good. The CW Network announced recently that it would not be moving forward with The 100 spinoff, which was set to expand upon the origins of the Grounders and tease a look at the first Flamekeeper a century before the events of the original series. Yet it seems as if The 100 prequel is truly dead and buried after The CW confirmed the stalled origin story would not see the light of day, on their network at least.

The original The 100 series follows a group of criminal adolescents tasked with returning to Earth and deeming whether or not the planet is now habitable after a nuclear apocalypse devastated humankind three generations prior. These teenagers are sent from the Ark orbiting Earth into the planet's hostile terrain, home to several vicious groups known as Grounders who have survived the nuclear fallout. While packed with one-dimensional, stereotypical characters, The 100's captivating premise and adept handling of themes such as tribalism and the morally complex problem of overpopulation made the series a massive hit for The CW, who went on to commission a whopping seven seasons from 2014-2020.

Related: The 100: Every Cameo In The Series Finale

Yet despite a clear audience appetite for more The 100 nuclear story content, the series' prequel has been canceled due to a stuttering production timeline. Although greenlighted since October 2019, the project never made it to series after a slew of setbacks as a joint run on the CW, and HBO Max did not materialize. While it is unclear if the canceled prequel will be shopped by other network suitors, the infancy of the unnamed The 100 prequel looks likely to work against the series coming to term at this point.

Set 97 years before the events of the original series, The 100 prequel was reported to begin with the nuclear apocalypse that forms the backbone of The 100's character motivations. The origin story was set to follow the shellshocked survivors on the ground as they fight for survival in a barren and savage landscape before ultimately creating The Ark. The now-canceled The 100 showrunner Jason Rothberg stated as recently as July 2020 in an interview with EW that the prequel plans were of grandiose scope that would reveal "the origins of the Grounders...the fractioning of that group into various clans eventually," as well as "the growing importance of the Flame... and the way the Flame operates before 100 years later."

Yet despite the detail of these storyline plans, The 100 prequel never made it into any meaningful production stage. The CW Network initially stopped the prequel from going to series in May 2020 but reserved the option to keep it alive for a joint run on The CW and HBO Max simultaneously. It seems the patience to get The 100's origin story off the ground has wavered, however, with The CW swinging the ax in November 2021, a decision that looked increasingly likely after Deadline reported that actors Iola Evans, Adain Bradley, and Leo Howard, who appeared in The 100's backdoor pilot episode's options expired a year and a half ago.

While the unnamed The 100 prequel looks dead in the water given its lack of core components in place, it would be folly to rule out a return for the series or indeed the franchise completely. The CW dropping the origin story now opens the door for another network to revive the prequel's ideas, with The 100's original distributors Warner Bros. perhaps first in line for refusal. Ultimately, The 100 TV show prequel's demise was inevitable given the delays and lack of growth surrounding the project, making the series an easy target for cancellation.

Next: Is The 100 On Netflix, Prime, or Hulu? Where To Watch Online

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