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Orphan Black at PaleyFest: Panel Reveals Show Secrets and the Season Five Premiere!

image via Imeh Bryant for the Paley Center

image via Imeh Bryant for the Paley Center

After having the pleasure of chatting with the cast and creative team of Orphan Black one-on-one on the red carpet, there was the actual panel, where fans got more insights into the show, hints about things to come, and the best surprise of all: a screening of the Season Five premiere over two months ahead of the rest of the world!

A scene from the S5 premiere. Image via Ken Woroner/BBC America

A scene from the S5 premiere. Image via Ken Woroner/BBC America

I will not spoil the Season Premiere! However, I will say that it’s basically a non-stop heart-thump-a-thon during which every single character experiences something harrowing. There’s a new character introduced who’s as hilarious as she is unnerving, there’s a new status quo introduced as we get right into the heart of the story arc for the show’s final season, and there’s a wonderful balance between funny and frightening, which is something we’ve come to expect from the show. It won’t disappoint, and I’m looking forward to reviewing the episode in greater detail for you as we get closer to June. For now, just be very, very jealous.

The panel itself will be available on Hulu, a PaleyFest sponsor, in a few days. So, you’ll be able to watch the entire thing yourself. For now, I’ll just share some of the most fun or interesting tidbits from the panel that I thought you’d enjoy!


  1. The cast literally finished wrapping the final season about 36 hours before traveling to Los Angeles for PaleyFest. On the final day of shooting, even actors who’d already wrapped made sure that they were there to say goodbye, and the cast and crew remained on set until 4:30AM, singing.
  2. Tatiana Maslany reveals that Season 5 has a lot of “character-specific” episodes, and that she loves Rachel’s arc this season. She remarked that Rachel being a clone “takes away from her specialness, takes away from her privilege, takes away from her power…” so this final season is all about Rachel trying to claim power.
  3. Jordan Gavaris talked about how playing Felix allowed him to become more secure in the parts of himself he hasn’t been as secure with in the past. “It was so nice not to feel self-conscious in my own femininity,” he says of getting to play Felix’s. “Clearly that’s me and my own bias,” he clarified, going on to say that he plans to take those best qualities of Felix with him into his own life.
  4. Maslany acting double Kathryn Alexandre got a lot of love over the course of the evening as the cast and creators gushed over the level of performance she consistently gave, despite her face never appearing on camera. Maslany in particular was effusive about Alexandre’s talent, and a lovefest ensued as the two of them fell all over themselves to compliment each other. Alexandre said that her performance was in large part due to the actors she was working with: “That’s a huge thing for an actor to trust not the actor you’re used to playing off of.”
  5. They cited one scene in particular that was a testament to Alexandre’s talent that involves a convent. Once the word convent came out, they all quickly shut up as apparently therein lie spoilers. So, you heard it here, folks. Look out for a big scene in a convent next season.
  6. Maria Doyle Kennedy on Mrs. S: “She has an element of bravery that I — that Maria — don’t have.” She hopes to take that bravery with her as she leaves the show.
  7. Evelyne Brochu talked about how hard it was to keep Delphine’s survival a secret between Seasons 3 and 4. She told the story of how, after filming what she thought was her final scene, one of the creators came up to her and cryptically said “See you soon…” and she thought he meant, like, for a beer or something. When she found out she was back, she thought “I’m gonna have to lie for a couple of months, and I’m not a good liar.”
  8. Brochu gushed about Delphine, admiring how driven the character is. She also talked about how Delphine’s accent and use of language is an insight into the character, because, “When you’re not speaking your own language, there’s a part of you that’s not being expressed.” And once she got on the topic of Delphine’s relationship with Cosima, and how much that has meant to fans, Brochu nearly started crying. She was so emotional as she revealed her pride in bringing to life a character that has meant so much to an often marginalized community and called Delphine “the most important character I have had the privilege of playing.”
  9. Graeme Manson then remarked that Orphan Black is “a clone show…about diversity.”
  10. Ari Millen similarly gushed about getting to play Ira, who is clearly his favorite of the Castor clones. He sees Ira as a unique opportunity “where I got to explore a side of me where I didn’t even know who it was.” Ira is such an innocent, and so unlike Millen, that he had no instinct or blueprint for playing him, and so it was like everything was new.
  11. Josh Vokey revealed that he was only supposed to work for one day as Scott, and so he’s grateful that Manson and Fawcett decided to make more of a character out of him. He then joked that his process for bringing Scott to life was to “take every insecurity [I have] and blast it on a microphone…and make it a person.”
  12. Kevin Hanchard talked about how he’s carried a scene that has never aired with him throughout his portrayal of Art. It was a scene that was used to audition actors in which Art explains what he saw in Beth Childs, and why he fell in love with her. Hanchard said that he’s used that as the underpinning of everything else about the character, because “that love grew and has always fueled him.”
  13. And there were some great fan interaction moments: Tatiana squealed when a fan revealed herself as the woman who dresses her turtle up as her favorite characters, including those from Orphan Black (and she brought the turtle!). Tatiana was familiar, and was excited the turtle was there! Kristian Bruun got a “Free Donnie” t-shirt from some adoring fans.


And of course, no Q&A would be complete with these folks without each of them revealing their favorite Leda clone:

  • Fawcett: Used to be Alison, now it’s Rachel
  • Manson: Used to be Sarah, now it’s Cosima
  • Hanchard: Gave a huge shout-out to the dearly departed Katja Obinger (from S1), may she rest in peace.
  • Gavaris: Answered Crystal, while doing his best Crystal impression
  • Maslany: toss-up between Alison, Rachel, and Helena, whom she calls “a creature unlike any I’ve ever played.”
  • Alexandre: M.K.
  • Kennedy: Sarah, “my baby.”
  • Brochu: Cosima (as if there was any doubt)
  • Millen: “Helena, to my dying day.”
  • Vokey: “Cosima, my sister from another mister.”

And that’s all I’ve got on Orphan Black from PaleyFest 2017! Well, that and the gallery below featuring some pro photos and candid shots from the event. Enjoy!

Orphan Black returns to BBC America for its fifth and final season June 10th. And keep your eyes peeled on Monday, as I’ll be bringing you coverage from this weekend’s Westworld panel and red carpet at its first PaleyFest!

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