Earlier this year, The 100 fandom came together in Vancouver for Unity Days 2019 to celebrate the upcoming season of the show and to enjoy the fan-created convention one last time.
Unity Days was an incredible labor of love, allowing fans to come together to see each other and the cast for three days straight. The promise of unity specifically was felt without question thanks to Miah Bannerman and Leana Santos, with their unconditional mission to put the fans first felt for the third time around.
That is exactly what happened from January 4th - 6th, with fans and the cast alike spending the weekend together talking about their love for the show and their excitement for Season 6.
It couldn't have happened with an amazing team led by Leana Santos and Miah Bannerman. Linda Suurhoff, Shayne Bannerman, Melissa Christensen, Colin Christensen, and all the volunteers at the event made Unity Days not only possible but functional as well.
I had the amazing honor of moderating the panels on Saturday with Selina Wilken from Hypable.
Cast members in attendance included Eliza Taylor (Clarke Griffin), Erica Cerra (Becca and ALIE), Tati Gabrielle (Gaia), Sachin Sahel (Jackson), Tasya Teles (Echo), Lola Flanery (Madi Griffin), Shannon Kook (Jordan Green), Chelsey Reist (Harper), and Jarod Joseph (Miller).
They were all part of the panels at Unity Days, with us and the fans asking them questions about The 100.
The panels allowed the cast to share some stories about the show, both on and off screen, as well as answer fun fan questions in between.
The 100 Season 6 News
Now, unfortunately, the cast couldn't really discuss much of The 100 Season 6, and there were no actual details of spoilers that were allowed when nothing else had been released.
But with the few details that NYCC provided, there was a jumping off point that allowed us even small details on what we could maybe expect to see. There was also more room to discuss the series as a whole, opening the door for more conversations about insight outside of the upcoming season.
The cast was able to say that although there was a shift in the writers' room for Season 6, the change isn't felt too much through the scripts they got. The work that was left behind by the writers carried itself into the upcoming season, making Book 2 truly different in Eliza Taylor's opinion.
It sounds like the end of Book 1 was meant to show that things will be different on this new planet, although it isn't clear how yet.
Some of the cast members were able to mention the state of their characters next season as well.
Fans can expect to see more of Jackson, with Eliza mentioning that he will have more of a central role in this new world that she is excited about. There are no clear hints of what that might be yet, although it could be connected to his boyfriend Miller, both of whom we have seen in an emotional embrace on the new planet.
Jarod Joseph may have even given us some insight on what their characters might be dealing with at least in the premiere, with the actor emphasizing that Miller will be going through a bit of a hangover in a sense, dealing with the fallout of his choices in The 100 Season 5 pretty quickly.
He is seen on the new planet, while we still presume that Octavia stays behind on the ship, which means Jackson may be thrown into this new environment right after he spent six years following someone who isn't in charge anymore.
It looks like following all of Octavia's orders will weigh on Miller, and he will have to deal with what comes next now that he is no longer in the position of following her every request.
But this change in leadership from Octavia to Madi won't just play a role in Miller's life; it will also shift Gaia's trajectory.
Tati Gabrielle offered some insight into that, mentioning that with the flame now in Madi, Gaia will take on the role of a mentor and a mother figure. The character will be reconciling with herself now that what she has been preparing for all this time has finally happened, allowing Gaia to take on the responsibility that she hasn't been faced with before.
That could even possibly open up for more interactions between Gaia and Clarke, especially in the way they relate to one another their mutual love for Madi.
They both want to look out for her but that doesn't mean they will always go about it the same way, not to mention the fact that Clarke left Gaia to die the last time they formerly saw each other, that could also create a rift to be addressed in the new season.
One character we might not have to ask too many questions about is Echo.
There was mention of a backstory for the character at NYCC, so when asked during the Bonus Guest panel how the cast approached creating their characters when all of them first began in roles that didn't offer much to go on, Tasya teased a bit of what we could expect.
She mentioned that at first she had a hard time connecting with the character, but she is excited for fans to see Echo's backstory during Season 6. She thought it was a tragic backstory when she was crafting details to help her portray Echo, but it ended up different than what she thought.
It will be very emotional and should help people understand the character now that her past is cleared up a bit, creating a bigger picture of who Echo is.
There isn't much else that we know about it yet. But if there was a question to pose, it would have to be how the new planet manages to kickstart a conversation about Echo's past?
A new planet gives us hope of a fresh start, leaving much of the past behind the characters. And yet maybe to take a different approach than before, the past has to play a part in shaping that.
Only time will tell because there isn't much to go off beyond that. Since Bob Morley's appearance at Unity Days was cut short, there wasn't anything that we heard about Bellamy from him.
The reason that Bob couldn't stay long though was because he had to prepare for The 100 Season 6 Episode 11, an episode he will be directing that promises plenty of Bellamy scenes.
That is also an episode that much of the cast mentioned at other cons, with some even coining it as their favorite. The only thing we could be sure of is that there is so much promise there, especially with Bob Morley making his directorial debut at the same time.
Anything but The 100 Season 6 News
When the conversation didn't touch on the future, it was all about the past and the present.
With Chelsey Reist in attendance, there was plenty of discussions about the show losing Harper. It is already a significant loss, affecting many of the fans who loved the character and weren't ready to see her gone.
Chelsey touched on how honored she was that Harper got a happy ending, something that was rare on a show like The 100. She also offered some insight that originally Harper was meant to die during The 100 Season 1 where she would have violently puked to death.
The scene never got filmed though which allowed the character to return for four more seasons, creating a legacy that will never be forgotten.
One thing that was forgotten about the character though was her crime, what was it that got Harper arrested in the first place?
The show never answered that, with Chelsey coming to the rescue with her headcanon that we will all be taking as fast from now on.
She said that she envisioned that Harper's crime was one of passion, one that involved her killing a lover that wronged her.
Scattered throughout the rest of the panels were jokes and personal opinions that the cast shared about the show.
There were even some surprise guest appearances, with Jessica Harmon (Niylah), Chris Larkin (Monty Green), and Devon Bostick (Jasper Jordan) all making remote appearances over phone calls to spread some extra love for the fans.
Chris took his time to remind fans that Monty was gone from the show, something many of us are still blocking out.
There was also lots of praise being shared around, with Sachin mentioning that Eliza always goes above and beyond with this upcoming season being no different.
Lola Flanery joined in when she mentioned that she loves working with Eliza. That was in addition to the way Lola and Sachin confirmed that seeing Eliza take on the acting challenge in Season 6 that we've all been hearing about was like nothing we've ever seen before.
Sachin and Eliza extended some insight into having Lola on set now too, commenting on the youth that she brings and how appreciated it is.
Shannon Kook had similar compliments to bestow on his coworkers when he touched on the research that he did before he officially joined the show.
Shannon got cast during The 100 Season 5, only to make a grand appearance during The 100 Season 5 Episode 13. In the meantime, though he engaged with fans through social media, building an idea of the positive energy that he was bringing our way.
He mentioned how he watched all the seasons and even various interviews, specifically involving Chelsey and Chris so that he could properly mimic certain things to instill that his character was related to Monty and Harper.
That was a wonderful way to see the process that goes into creating a character from the actor's side of things, and offering more for us to look out for during The 100 Season 6.
(Possible) Farewell to an Era
Unity Days has made a name for itself in the three years that it has dedicated itself to spreading happiness and joy. Fans of The 100 were always the priority, with the people behind the event doing everything they could to make sure the people attending had the best weekend ever.
Personally being able to attend as a fan, then as a panelist, then as a moderator was so meaningful, and all of it got linked to the incredible support offered to me by the Unity Days team.
That may have been my experience, but there is a reason why every year fans and cast alike call for the convention to return again and again. In fact, during this year's Unity Days, Sachin Sahel managed to make a homemade shirt advertising a possible Unity Days in 2020.
The demand exists because the love exists every single year, with the convention extending a safe environment of appreciation and celebration.
And all of this is thanks to Miah Bannerman and Leana Santos. They work year-round to make sure each of their events is unforgettable and entertaining for everyone involved. There is a genuine wish to bring about happiness to The 100 fans, and it shows so clearly in the way that everything is planned out and adjusted to make sure everyone is left satisfied every time.
It is inspiring getting to see a team like Miah and Leana pour so much of themselves into conventions, and there are no words that can adequately sum up the thanks that they deserve.
Getting to attend such an outstanding convention all these years was included to create unity. It was getting the chance to be around a creation meant to foster positivity and bring together people that enjoyed the same show.
No matter if Unity Events takes on another The 100 convention in the future, the memories that were created the past three years are priceless.
And if you enjoyed Unity Days, this doesn't have to be the end when there are already plans in place to allow fans of other shows to enjoy a similar experience.
But for now the Unity Days book is closing, and we couldn't be more thankful for the journey that we were taken on with it.
Thank you to everyone who played a part in Unity Days and may we meet again!
Personal Highlights of Unity Days
- On a personal note, getting to moderate panels with the cast was a bucket list worthy moment that was a real honor and a privilege. It was funny, insightful, and a very memorable experience throughout the whole day both on and off the stage.
- On another personal note, the Reviewers' Panel including Selina Wilken, Erin Brown, and yours truly was a wonderful tradition of discussing how writing about The 100 works, advice we would give people looking to write, and our thoughts on the show's direction looking forward. It was a well-facilitated dialogue between reviewers and fans of the show.
A vendor highlight this year was Khudija Rashid and her art under the name of Positivity One Word At A Time, which was a hit for the cast and the fans. There was a wide variety of merchandise for fans of all characters and relationships, and I even got myself some Madi/Clarke and Sea Mechanic things during the weekend.
The best part though came from the fact that she earned almost $4,000 from the weekend, and made donations to the following charities from that profit: Unslaved, Koh Tao Primary School, Islamic Relief and APOPO.
- Tati Gabrielle had the cutest dog that joined in on the final panel of the day, which I got to look after for a bit, before their part in the rendition of A Whole New World.
We might not know too much about Jordan Jasper Green yet, but Shannon Kook has already guaranteed that he will be every fan's favorite character in the upcoming season.
Shannon stole the show at his first The 100 con, proving that he is like one of the fans, getting everyone excited about a season that is very much still a secret. It was lovely getting to moderate panels with him and even talk a bit before we got a picture all together.
SweetRiver Con in Vancouver will be a Riverdale convention making its big debut during November 8-10, 2019. For now, Camila Mendes (Veronica Lodge), Vanessa Morgan (Toni Topaz), Madchen Amick (Alice Cooper), and Skeet Ulrich (FP Jones) are the cast members slated to attend, with more guests to get announced very soon!
As for The 100 fans, the next thing to look forward to is the official trailer for The 100 Season 6, which should be released any day now and will give us actual footage of what is to come.
It would make sense at least, with The 100 Season 6 premiere airing at WonderCon on March 31st, with Eliza Taylor, Bob Morley, Marie Avgeropoulos, Richard Harmon, Taysa Teles, Shannon Kook, JR Bourne, and executive producer Jason Rothenberg all scheduled to take part in a Q&A afterward.
Hopefully, we'll get the full trailer before the first episode of The 100 Season 6 rolls out. Regardless, if and when we get the trailer, TV Fanatic will be offering analysis and coverage on the new footage.
The 100 returns on Tuesday, April 30 at 9/8c on The CW.
Stick around TV Fanatic for more features, slideshows, episode previews, and reviews of the upcoming season, and watch The 100 online if you need to catch up on the adventure
Yana Grebenyuk is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.