Attention, Clone Club: “Orphan Black” is getting a post-TV afterlife.
Temple Street Productions, the production company behind the sci-fi thriller, inked a deal with premium digital fiction startup Serial Box to create a brand-new installment, “Orphan Black: The Next Chapter” — continuing the story of the clone sisterhood and their allies (and enemies) after the end of the TV show.
Tatiana Maslany, the Emmy-winning star of “Orphan Black” who portrayed 14 different clones on the show, is on board to voice the new episodes. The 10-episode series will be available later this summer in audiobook and text formats exclusively from Serial Box. Boat Rocker Studios, the parent of Temple Street, is an investor in Serial Box.
“Orphan Black” ran for five seasons on BBC America in the U.S. and Canada’s Space. In the TV series finale, the full list of 274 female Leda clones is revealed — prompting Cosima, one of the original Clone Club members, and her companion Delphine to embark on a quest to inoculate them against the respiratory disease the clones are susceptible to.
According to Temple Street and Serial Box, “The Next Chapter” is the official continuation of the Orphan Black story, set eight years in the future from where season 5 left off and features the same characters, all voiced by Maslany. The companies aren’t sharing additional plot details but said “#cophine” — a reference to Cosima and Delphine — “definitely plays a big part in the story.”
Serial Box has enlisted a new writing team for “Orphan Black: The Next Chapter.” It has signed Malka Older as the showrunner and Mishell Baker, Lindsay Smith, Heli Kennedy, Madeline Ashby and E.C. Myers as series writers. The writers’ room approach, according to the company, lets it release serialized fiction five times faster than a traditional book.
“We are delighted to be able to extend the Orphan Black franchise through this new and innovative partnership with Serial Box,” Ivan Schneeberg and David Fortier, Boat Rocker’s co-executive chairmen and executive producers of “Orphan Black,” said in a joint statement. “Orphan Black’s devoted fans will now get more of what they love on this exciting listening and reading platform.”
Serial Box patterns its service on traditional TV shows, with new episodes (chapters) of its serialized stories released every week in “seasons” that typically run 10-16 weeks. The first chapter is free; subsequent episodes cost $1.99 each or users can buy a season pass at an average price of $13.99.
The “Orphan Black” collaboration with Temple Street marks New York-based Serial Box’s second major entertainment partnership, after announcing a deal with Marvel Entertainment to create original stories based on Black Panther, Jessica Jones, Black Widow and Thor.
Separately, a TV series set in the “Orphan Black” universe — with a completely new story — is in the works at AMC Networks from Temple Street, Variety first reported earlier this year.
Press: ‘Orphan Black’ Storyline Continues With Tatiana Maslany Voicing New Audio Series for Serial Box
Tatiana was on ‘Watch What Happens Live‘ with Andy Cohan this week. Check out photos and video clips from her appearance. You can watch the full video here if you have access to Bravo network.
Canadian actress Tatiana Maslany won an Emmy in 2016 for her role in BBC America’s “Orphan Black” as the rebellious Sarah Manning … and as the violent Helena … and as soccer mom Alison Hendrix, along with nine other characters, all clones.
On Thursday morning, she learned she’d again been nominated in the lead actress in a drama category for her work on “Orphan Black.” But her mind was on another role — her New York stage debut that very evening.
Big day for you: The New York premiere of “Mary Page Marlowe” tonight at the Second Stage Theater, in which you play the title role, along with four other actors. And now the Emmy nom. How are you feeling?
I’m very nervous. I’m so excited, but really nervous. And everything that goes along with opening night. I can’t believe I get to do it. And on top of it, to get this news this morning. It was a total shock. I didn’t think people remembered the [TV] show. It’s been off air for a while. And there’s just so much amazing television right now. “Atlanta.” “Handmaid’s Tale” — which I find really difficult to watch. A lot of my friends are watching it and saying, sadly, it resonates so much with what’s happening in our culture. But the Emmy nomination, I’m excited.
Speaking of “Handmaid’s Tale,” what do you think the role is these days for narrative television, and actors in general, to address issues of the #MeToo movement? Or do you prefer TV as pure entertainment and escapism?
I don’t think it’s mutually exclusive. But as an artist, I feel we have to talk about the work, dissect it and reveal it and shed light on it in different ways and through different perspectives. That’s so vital, and if we’re not doing that, then I don’t know what we’re doing. I’ve always been very drawn to characters who don’t fit into boxes, complicated characters.
Multiple complicated characters. You played 12 very different women in “Orphan Black.” And Tracy Letts’ “Mary Page Marlowe” is a splintered portrait of a woman from different, key moments in her life. Is fragmentation a theme for you?
Absolutely. I think it’s very relevant to myself, and a lot of people I talk to, and women in general. How do we get splintered off so that we are more palatable, more easily digested, more easily put into a certain box of behavior and defined from the outside. I think that complexity and gray area and all that in our human nature is often sort of pushed to the side.
This morning the list for the 2018 Emmy nominations was announced. In this list Tatiana Maslany was nominated for a well deserved Emmy!
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series
The Americans • FX Networks • Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings
The Crown • Netflix • Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II
The Handmaid’s Tale • Hulu • Elisabeth Moss as Offred / June Osborne
Killing Eve • BBC America • Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri
Westworld • HBO • Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores
Orphan Black • BBC America • Tatiana Maslany as Sarah Manning, Helena, Alison Hendrix, Cosima Niehaus, Rachel Duncan, Krystal Goderitch, Elizabeth (Beth) Childs,
Jennifer Fitzsimmons, Katja Obinger, Tony Sawicki, Veera Suominen (M.K.), Camilla Torres and Unnamed Clone
I really hope she wins. She deserves it. Tune in Monday, September 17 for the 70th Emmy Awards on NBC.
Nominations for the 2018 Critics’ Choice Awards were announced Wednesday.
The CW will broadcast the 23rd Annual Critics’ Choice Awards live on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, from 8-10 p.m. PT. The show will again take place at The Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif.
“We are delighted to welcome the Critics’ Choice Awards back to The CW, and showcase the best of both film and television during this live event in January,” Gaye Hirsch, The CW’s head of development, previously told E! News. “As award season kicks into high gear, we’re thrilled we can bring viewers an exciting night filled with the biggest and brightest stars in Hollywood.”
The Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA) received nominating ballots on Dec. 1, and final ballots are due Jan. 9, 2018.
Best Actress in a Drama Series
Caitriona Balfe, Outlander (Starz)
Christine Baranski, The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
Claire Foy, The Crown (Netflix)
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black (BBC America)
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Robin Wright, House of Cards (Netflix)
Tatiana was on Talking with Chris Hardwick a couple nights ago. You can watch the full interview here. I’ve added screencaps and stills from the interview. I have to say this is probably one of my most favorite interviews of hers.
I’ve added screencaps to last night’s amazing Orphan Black series finale to the gallery as well as on the set images from this season and a new promotional image for Stronger. What did you think of the finale last night?! There’s talks already about an Orphan Black movie, is that something you would go see in the cinemas?
SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of tonight’s Orphan Black series finale on BBC America.
“We’ve talked since the beginning of wanting to do some kind of feature or some kind of two-hour continuation of the series,” admits Orphan Black co-creator John Fawcett of how he and Graeme Manson could see more of the Tatiana Maslany starring show after tonight’s series finale.
After five seasons with Neolution revelations, siblings, deaths and births, the tale of the Maslany played clone Sarah and the sestras came to an end for now with the Fawcett-directed “To Right The Wrongs of Many.” However, after the vanquishing of the aged and manipulative P.T. Westmoreland (Stephen McHattie) as Sarah, twin Helena, Cosima and Alison sat together in the latter’s backyard in tears and love, the door was opened for more with another 274 Leda clones out there around the world – thanks to a list procured from fellow clone Rachel.
Months after filming those finale scenes with the Emmy-winning Maslany, Fawcett chatted with me about the grand plan for the show, working with the Golden Globe and SAG Awards nominee and the strong emotions on set at the end. As well as discussing the possibility of more Orphan Black, the Ginger Snaps helmer also had a ton of praise and appreciation for the Clone Club fans of the BBC America series – and what they meant to the Canadian-made Temple Street Productions show, past, present and future.
DEADLINE: I have to ask right at the top, is this the series finale that Graeme and yourself envisioned for Orphan Black from the beginning?
FAWCETT: I think it is in a lot of ways. In some respects, I think that we imagined that the finale really was going to boil down to Sarah and Helena, and that we were going to have to deal with P.T. Westmoreland. We knew that, critically, we were going to have a really kind of dirty, awful, nasty birth, and that that was going to be part of kind of this two-part finale.
DEADLINE: Well, that does sound like “To Right The Wrongs of Many” in a nutshell…
FAWCETT: Yes, but I think we also understood that killing P.T. Westmoreland was important, but not the most important thing for us. It is something you had to do, but that, tonally, for the final episode, we wanted it to be a much more emotional episode. We wanted to structure it in a way that we were finished with plot fairly early on in the episode so that we could make this time jump, as we did. We were really interested in moving forward into the future three months to see where everyone is.
DEADLINE: Part of that jump, nearly at the very end, with the backyard party at Alison’s with the core sestras together around a still shattered Sarah, was Helena reading from her book called Orphan Black of her life and the other clones. Why did you choose that bookending, pardon the pun?
FAWCETT: That was something we devised at the beginning of Season 5, though we had talked about it before. We liked the idea that Helena has been jotting down her memoirs and really, like, exactly that, it comes down to the sisters. It comes down to the twin sisters, between Sarah and Helena.
It’s very important that we’ve ended this in a way that we believed it was nice to have some really strong belief that Helena, after everything that she’s come through, is now going to be a very capable mother. So that somehow, by having her read her journals and her memoirs and bringing us back to the beginning of the series, it just seemed like the right place to end her. You know, we laughed a lot about the idea that Helena would wind up somewhere getting a book deal and maybe going on a book tour at some point. Of course, that’s just what we’ve joked about.
DEADLINE: But the series finale is not really the end of Orphan Black is it? With Cosima and Delphine now traveling the world to find the other 274 Ledas, there is a lot of ripe story or a lot more stories to tell, isn’t there?
FAWCETT: It certainly is. I think that to Graham and I, the imagery and the ideas that come from the concept of Delphine and Cosima out in the world journeying to find these 274 Ledas is certainly ripe, there’s no question. We’ve talked since the beginning of wanting to do some kind of feature or some kind of two-hour continuation of the series.
At this point, I think we’re happy that it’s come to a conclusion that we feel satisfied with, and it closes this chapter. Graham and I are both going to let it sit for a little bit, but I know that these characters are so strong with us and so engrained with us, that there’s certainly a chance that we’ll pick that up and continue.
DEADLINE: And would Tatiana be a part of that were you to continue it?
FAWCETT: Well, that would be lovely. Like I say, I don’t see that in the near, near future, but something that we’ve certainly always talked about and talked about as a group amongst the cast. So it’s not something that we’re keeping to ourselves. It’s something that we aspire to do at some point.
DEADLINE: Duly noted for the future, but to jump back to the now of Orphan Black, you set the series ender up as a two-part finale. But I got to say, to me it felt like the penultimate episode “One Fettered Slave,” especially following the death of Sarah and Felix’s foster mother Siobhan the week before, was really the Season 5 finale and the last episode was a series finale, and they were two different constructions, was that intentional?
FAWCETT: Yeah, I think that’s a fair assumption. I mean that’s the way we sort of imagined it being. Obviously, we’ve spent five seasons dealing with a large, complicated plot, and we really wanted the time to explore these other issues. Explore the issues of sisters, and of motherhood, and of the matriarchy, and put the focus kind of squarely on Sarah, who has come through slaughter and who has been so strong for everyone up until this point Now she is feeling a bit broken. To everything that she’s worked for, now she has. She has her freedom, and she doesn’t know what to do with it and is having a hard time moving on.
DEADLINE: There’s that poignant line in the finale where Tatiana says, as Sarah to the other clones, there’s nobody left to fight, kind of sums up where’s she’s at, and it’s not a good place…
FAWCETT: I think of it almost like PTSD. She’s really stuck now in this trying to go back to a normal life after everything that she’s been through. I think Sarah is having an extremely difficult time with that, and it’s nice now because now she has this sisterhood to sort of lean on and this group that can help her. I also think it’s interesting that Sarah’s the one that suffers the most as we move forward into the future. So it rings very, very true to me, and you know, we didn’t want it to be heavy-handed, but it certainly follows this hero’s journey of Sarah’s.
DEADLINE: Along that journey, as well as the Sarah assisted birth of Helena’s twins in the finale, there were some serious losses. In the last few episodes, the Maria Doyle Kennedy portrayed Siobhan was killed, a big blow to Sarah, Westmorland obviously was finally taken down, Kyra Harper’s Dr. Virginia Coady too. I get the last two, as the villains of the series but why couldn’t Siobhan make it through to the end, be there for all the sestras and the newborn Purple and Orange?
FAWCETT: You know, in thinking of the finale, we had never necessarily thought that Siobhan wouldn’t be there, but at the beginning, as we were breaking Season 5, it seemed like the strongest thing to do for Sarah’s journey. Dramatically, it felt like the right thing to do. It was a big thing to do.
I’m trying to harken back to all the reasons why we did this, but it really boils down to Sarah’s journey, and the matriarchy. Sarah now knows her mother has heroically sacrificed herself, in a way, to bring about the end of Neolution and to free not just her daughter, but the sisters. It’s interesting to see Sarah now without her mother having to fill those shoes and pick up and continue and really be the mother. And I think that that’s what gives Sarah in the finale this conflict, and this dilemma, and this soul searching that she’s going through. And then be able to rise above, be the mother, be in the house, and be stronger because of it.
DEADLINE: Speaking of Sarah’s journey, of Helena’s journey, of Cosima’s journey, of Alison’s journey and even of Rachel’s journey, obviously Tatiana won the clearly deserved Best Dramatic Actress Emmy last year, but what has the evolution of her multi-role and multi-faceted journey as an actress on the show been like from your perspective?
FAWCETT: Well. I’ll say, she really became a very strong collaborator really early on. You know, we started to trust her very quickly, her instincts very quickly, and her ideas very quickly very early on. Just in the early get-go, she solves some big problems for us, which was around Helena, and what Helena wanted, and who she felt Helena was. Because, you know, in our very rudimentary beginnings, Helena was just an assassin, there was really not a lot of character development or even a ton of thought that we put into it.
We knew that Helena was Sarah’s twin and that, at the end of season 1, that Sarah was going to shoot her, and that she was going to be an antagonist, essentially. But it was really Tat that came to that from a very different direction and started to breathe this very different life into this character, which started to spin Helena in a direction that we didn’t necessarily foresee. The more she did that, the more we all sort of began to trust each other, the tighter we got, and the more collaborative it got, and to the point where we really relied on Tat.
In the early breaking of scripts, we would pitch episodes to her and bring her into the process very early on to just read her instincts, because she has very good sort of character instincts and often very good story ideas. So she has certainly grown very close to Graham and I, and she’s a dear friend and an incredibly talented person.
And those are the kinds of people that you want to surround yourself with, you know? We’re very fortunate that this family, and not just our relationship with Tat, but the family, the creative family that we surrounded ourselves was very tight, and very smart, and very passionate bunch of people.
DEADLINE: Which must have taken on added resonance as you came to the end this final season, those final filming days with you directing the last episode, as you had so many seasons before…
FAWCETT: You know, it’s very different when you know that this is the end, and certainly managing to just even maneuver all the emotions, not just mine, but certainly of the crew and specifically the cast every day on set, and move the ship forward constantly, that was challenging.
Every other day, we were wrapping a significant character, you know, whether it was a clone, one of Tat’s characters, or any of these actors that we’d been with for so long. And so every day seemed emotional, and it was tough. It was tough in one sense because, at the same time, you’re working on a schedule, and you’ve got a lot to shoot in a day. But I thought it was important that we had to just kind of stand still as a character wrapped, gather everyone around, and talk and talk about the journey, and let the actor say goodbye, and be there, and be present. Some of those scenes, a lot of those scenes, they were often very difficult.
DEADLINE: How do you mean?
FAWCETT: Well, the big clone scene in the backyard, honestly, technically was not that difficult considering what we’d done through the course of the series. What was difficult was making sure that I was there and very present for all the emotional aspects that needed to be captured, and be present myself, not be thinking about what I was going to be shooting next or anything like that. I wanted to be very, very aware of just standing there, and being there, and being a part of and guiding Tat, and being there for her emotionally. That’s what the end was, and it was hard to do. It was probably the hardest episode of Orphan Black that I’ve shot, but from an emotional place, not from a technical place.
DEADLINE: I assume on a series that has the explorations of many frayed and raw emotions of the most basic sense of who one actually is, there would be a lot of those hard moments, so to speak. What are the ones, if you don’t mind me asking, that now stand out for you with the series over?
FAWCETT: You know, going through five seasons, the things that I take away the most are these emotional moments, these last moments that I had with Tat, you know, crying with her as we sort of wrapped Alison and being with her as we wrapped Cosima, Sarah and Helena.
Our last moments on the set together, once we’d finally called cut on our final shot, I gathered everyone together in the set. I said, “let’s just hang out together and enjoy this moment and not leave.” We just kind of hung out quietly for a while, until Maria decided to sing a song. So, over all, to answer your question, I think it’s obviously the early-on excitement of what we were doing, and then the emotional closing I think were my big moments.
DEADLINE: That will be an emotional point too, I’m sure for fans of the show, who were such a big part of Orphan Black in their dedication and almost unprecedented involvement in the series over the years. What would you say to the Clone Club now that that Orphan Black, or at least this iteration of Orphan Black, is over?
FAWCETT: Well, first, I owe a great debt to the Clone Club, the fans. I’m constantly in awe of them. Who they are, and just the very talented, artistic, smart, creative, intellectual bunch of people that they are.
I just always like to thank Clone Club for all their support over the past five seasons, and they really carried us through some difficult times, and their enthusiasm. I mean, the show wouldn’t be the same without their undying love for the show. So thank you, Clone Club.
I also want to note that his group have found each other through five seasons, and a lot of friendships and relationships have formed via social media and through the show. I just hope that this family, this group of people, will stay together, you know? That’s sort of what I hope. I just hope that this group, all these relationships will now continue forward into the future and that they will continue to create, and rise above, and express themselves as the creative people that they are.