BBC America’s beloved sci-fi drama Orphan Black came to a close more than four years ago. The critically-lauded series starred Tatiana Maslany as multiple identical clones (known as 'sestras'), and gained a loyal ‘Clone Club' fandom.
But the sestras’ story wasn’t over, even after the series finale.
Realm, a podcast and short fiction network behind serials like Bookburners and If I Go Missing the Witches Did It, launched Orphan Black: The Next Chapter in 2019. The first season of the audio drama was narrated by Maslany, and set 10 years after the events of the TV show.
Now, Maslany has some old friends joining her for Orphan Black: The Next Chapter Season 2. Original Orphan Black actors Jordan Gavaris (Felix), Kristian Bruun (Donnie), and Evelyne Brochu (Delphine) reprised their iconic roles for the latest season of the series.
At a recent virtual Realm event to celebrate the new season and raise awareness for the housing justice organization Encampment Support Network, the cast of Orphan Black: The Next Chapter Season 2 discussed revisiting their characters and bringing them to life for an audio-only format. According to Brochu, the experience was a bit like "dating an ex"—one you're just not ready to say goodbye to yet.
Maslany, who said she's still “still contending…with the impact that [the original show] had," disappeared into identical—but drastically different—clone characters during the TV series, often playing multiple sestras in a single scene. For The Next Chapter, she’s had to recapture these original clones, as well as bring brand-new clones to life using nothing but distinct vocal choices.
Maslany admitted that although she always perceives her Orphan Black roles as "playtime," some clones—like Cosima—initially felt less accessible to her than others after several years away. To prepare for the audio drama, she rewatched her own scenes from the TV series to remember the physicality and vocal specifics of each sestra.
The second season of Orphan Black: The Next Chapter explores the global fallout after the truth about clones is exposed. As it depicts the devastation that occurs for some upon being 'outed' as clones, the audio drama draws parallels to modern questions about identity, privacy, and how much of ourselves we owe to others.
Jordan Gavaris said that the Orphan Black franchise has always addressed these sorts of real-life themes through a sci-fi lens: "I feel like through storytelling, and this is the kind of imaginative storytelling [...] that Orphan Black has always done really well, is feeding us the lesson but in a spoonful of sugar [...] or wrapping the lesson in the allegory, in the metaphor so that we’re not actually hitting somebody over the head with a very literal take on a moral story, but we’re giving [the audience] something else to digest ."
According to Brochu, Cosima and Delphine’s arc this season also addresses the modern tension between privacy and shared experiences. Their journey is one of the many ways in which Season 2 of The Next Chapter acknowledges that morality is rarely black and white.
Gavaris said that, during the first season of the TV series, the cast didn't expect their "little show" which "didn’t have a lot of money” to gain such an invested viewership. But Orphan Black has always relied on stellar performances and the powerful connection between the sestras to attract an audience, rather than big-budget razzle-dazzle.
So in many ways, Orphan Black: The Next Chapter is the franchise at its purest and most inevitable form: no special effects, no hair and makeup. Just iconic performances, hard sci-fi, and enduring questions about identity and community.
Listen to Orphan Black: The Next Chapter on Realm today to reunite with the sestras and their friends.