6:22 am EDT, March 21, 2018

The CW releases haunting, gorgeous new promo for ‘The 100’ season 5

“My fight is over… so what now?” asks Clarke in the haunting new promo for The 100 season 5.

When The 100 returns following its year-long hiatus, a whooping six years have passed since the world ended (again) in the season 4 finale “Praimfaya.”

The characters have been separated in three groups for those six years, with Clarke alone on the surface, seven characters in space, and 1,200 Grounders underground, at the mercy of unlikely leader Octavia Blake.

Related: Looking for something to binge post-Game of Thrones? The 100 is the show you need

As witnessed in the first season 5 promo, everything is going to be different when these characters meet back up with each other. Different… and dangerous, because the Eligius prisoners that left Earth 100 years ago are finally coming home to claim the one patch of survivable land left on the surface.

With such a big shift — indeed, this is almost a soft reboot — seemingly comes a big shift in The 100‘s marketing strategy, too. While we haven’t had new character promotional images since season 2, The CW has now provided brand new promotional footage showing off the main characters’ new looks, along with this visually stunning, thematically resonant second promo:

The main characters Clarke, Raven, Bellamy and Octavia are presented here, along with voice-overs telling us who these characters used to be, and what they used to stand for.

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We learn in this trailer that they’ve lost everything, and we are given the impression that as they’ve all done unspeakable things to survive, they’ve transformed into labels rather than people: rebel, leader, assassin, Wanheda.

The promo asks big, provocative questions that the season will, presumably, answer: “Who am I now?” “What am I now?” “What becomes of the Commander of Death, when there are no one else to kill?” “What now?”

“There are no good guys,” the over-arching theme of The 100, is also heavily thematised in this promo. Can Clarke be a good guy, now that she’s done fighting? Of course not, it’s never that simple. Clarke’s words from the end of the first trailer are etched onto the black background, followed by a chilling gunshot sound as she cocks her finger-gun. (“Click.”)

Meanwhile Octavia (whose blood is “red, and always will be” — and whose red blood is the only color in the whole trailer) sits on her iron throne, and chillingly sums up the season 5 premise: “One garden, two serpents. Eden never stood a chance.”

This is of course referring to the fact that the two factions of human survivors, the Eligius prisoners and Octavia’s Wonkru, will be fighting for the same patch of survivable land on which Clarke has lived with new character Madi for the past six years. Neither of these groups are heroes, or innocents, and I predict viewers won’t necessarily find it easy to side with one group over another.

And finally, Bellamy’s words “life or death: you choose,” are spoken over shots of Clarke with first Bellamy, and then Octavia. A stylistic choice, or foreshadowing a choice that Clarke will have to make between these two characters?

We see glimpses, too, of a globe, skulls, animals in cages, Octavia in a cage (!), Raven screaming into an old phone — perhaps symbolizing her inability to communicate with the ground from the Ark — a red flower covered by black ink or blood, serpents, and a faded radiation triangle. Some of the quotes they use sound like they could be from the actual episodes, too, which would be interesting.

This promo is such a different, darker look at The 100 than what we’ve seen so far. Not only does it communicate to existing viewers just how dark this season is going to be, but it will (hopefully) also give the rest of the world a taste of what exactly they’re missing out on by not watching the series.

The post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama has always been about life, death, humanity, judgement, historical allegories and impossible choices, and it’s high time it was promoted on that basis.

It can only be a good thing that the new promo emulates similar series’ marketing strategies, most notably Game of Thrones‘Hall of Faces’ teaser and the infamous Channel 4 Lost promo that is still haunting my dreams.

If you weren’t already excited for The 100 season 5 to premiere next month, this tantalizing teaser should do the job!

‘The 100’ season 5 premieres April 24 at 9/8c on The CW

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