'The 100's Jarod Joseph on the Future of Mackson & Why Season 6 Is 'The Hangover of Everything'

Emily Hannemann
Q&A Diyah Pera/The CW

Though Season 5 of The 100 was filled with drastic character changes, perhaps none were as abrupt — and surprising — as Nathan Miller's (Jarod Joseph) decision to side with the ruthless Octavia Blake (Marie Avgeropoulos), aka Blodreina, over the rest of his former friends.

Since then, Miller's seemingly managed to repair things with the few remaining members of the hundred. But to hear Joseph tell it, things aren't totally smoothed over from those dark years, and his character has yet to process how awful things really were in that cannibalistic bunker. Thankfully, he has his sweetheart of a boyfriend, Eric Jackson (Sachin Sahel), to help him come to terms with their dark past and their uncertain future on a whole new planet.

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We talked to Joseph about why Miller was so devoted to Blodreina, what's to come from Miller and Jackson's relationship in Season 6, and which character he'd like Miller to spend more time with this season.

One of the things that really interested me about Miller last season was how loyal he was to Octavia. What do you think he saw in her that made her such a worthy leader, for him?

Jarod Joseph: We’ve seen a couple different versions of Miller, loyalty’s a common theme with him. I think when he’s fully on-board, there’s nothing that can persuade him otherwise. What I’m hoping for this year is to get an idea of why, because we never really saw why, you know? Why is he so loyal to this person? And I hope I can paint a more vivid picture of what led to [Miller] being convinced this is the right way to go. It’d be cool to find out more about the headspace of getting to that point.

Were you surprised to see where he was, in relation to the rest of the hundred? I was surprised to see him going against them to help Octavia. Was that a shock for you?

Yeah, when I found out he was going to be Octavia’s guy I was a little surprised, because the last time you saw us interact, we didn’t really agree on stuff. This year, I hope we can understand where the heck it came from! But I wasn’t totally surprised, because if you notice, Miller — as loyal as he is — he’s kind of a crew-hopper. But when he’s there, he’s fully invested in the team.

On the Bellamy-Clarke-Miller friendship, might we see him fall back into place with that group next season? Or is he more with the remaining members of Wonkru?

I think it’s a little bit of everything. Everybody’s bringing their issues into this season. This is the hangover, you know what I mean? This is the hangover of everything, for a lot of people. These aren’t necessarily talkers, so the stuff that we carry with us… There’s no therapists! [laughs]

Jackson’s not that kind of doctor…

No, he’s not. But I’m sure I’ve had some of those talks with him. He’s talked me off the ledge a few times.

Of course, I have to ask you about “Mackson” (Miller and Jackson). What do you think Miller sees in Jackson that made him fall so in love with him?

Well, they’re very opposite. Miller’s kind of a hard head, could be perceived as grumpy, and Jackson’s a consistent, jovial light in the midst of all this people-eating and s**t. I think the positivity and balance, for him — if it was all doom and gloom all the time, I don’t think it would work. If you notice even [Miller] and Bryan were usually going at it all the time, you know what I mean? [laughs] With Jackson and Miller, it’s more of a gentle vibe.

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At WonderCon 2019, showrunner Jason Rothenberg hinted that there might be something in the works.

Can you tease anything of what’s to come for them in Season 6?

I will say we’ll get some moments of reflection on how bad it really got. Sometimes in life, in my own life, I’ll be in a headspace and I’ll justify it even if it’s wrong. I’ll be like, “That was mine, that was my decision, it was good,” and then one day it’ll kind of hit me sometimes and I’ll be like, “No, I was wrong.” I think we all have that moment. Not to say that’s exactly what’s gonna happen, but there will be some moments where they look back on it and maybe second guess some decisions together.

Are there any characters Miller hasn’t interacted much with so far that you’d like to see him talking to and getting to know?

I think he’s kind of making his rounds, you know? Me and Kane had [scenes] a couple seasons ago, and I never really knew why, but I was happy to do it!

So [Miller] kind of pops in, has a spat with one of the characters and goes on to his other group. I’d like to see more relationship establishment, but I think he’s had a little quip with everybody.

I would be interested to see Miller and Diyoza, maybe? Since they have that kind of similar militant mindset…

I agree with you! That whole group would’ve been cool to have a back-and-forth with because I think William Miller’s character was kind of a parallel to my character in a lot of ways. So I thought that would’ve been pretty cool. But Diyoza would be pretty cool, especially the [shared] dryness and the hard-headedness.

Is there any aspect of Miller’s character that you’d like to see the writers develop further?

I think we’ve done a pretty good job with the amount of things that he’s done — it hasn’t really had to be spelled out. But I’d like the opportunity to see him let his guard down, because being a hard-ass 24/7 is not what’s going on with him or anybody in the world, but we haven’t really seen those things yet. And I think this year, there’s a couple of those moments for me that I’m really excited about. Just to show that he’s aware of how heavy-duty everything has been and that he’s not perfect.

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The survivors must face new challenges and consequences.

I know you’ve talked about Miller’s positive fan reception. How does it feel to portray an LGBT+ character who resonates with the community and represents it well?

It’s changed a little bit, because I think I was maybe overly involved in the beginning. I was speaking as Jarod on things that, maybe, I had no place jumping into. Not to say that everything I was saying was way off the mark, but I should have maybe let the character speak for himself in the beginning. And I think I’ve done a little better with that, and I think he is resonating with people because I’ve left it alone — and you can take him and adore him without my personal investment.

I’m very proud to play him, but ultimately he can stand on his own because he is a cool character. There’s lots to gravitate toward. He’s a strong dude. Ain’t nobody talking s**t to him, and I think anybody can resonate with that kind of character. I’m glad to be accepted by the community, and Miller is yours. He is yours as much as he is mine.

As much as you can tease Season 6 — three words and three emojis to describe what goes down next season?

Emojis: Man: Dark Skin Tone, BeardMan: Medium-Dark Skin Tone, BeardFire on Apple iOS 12.2

Words: The new world.

The 100, Season 6 Premiere, Tuesday, April 30, 9/8c, The CW