Two years after the series finale of Orphan Black, the clone club is getting back together — this time, in a weekly audio series that debuts today on the audio platform Serial Box.
Orphan Black: The Next Chapter picks up eight years after the events of the show, and once again features the considerable talents of star Tatiana Maslany, who returns to play sestras Cosima Niehaus, Sarah Manning, Alison Hendrix, and Helena. This new installment in the cult darling sci-fi franchise sees the clones forced out of their fiercely protected private lives in order to stop a global disaster. In addition to playing the clones, Maslany's also playing everyone (including more familiar faces and some brand new clones) and everything as she narrates the entire series herself.
TV Guide talked to Maslany about returning to the characters and how the new series will excite long-time Orphan Black fans.
How was the idea for the audio series originally pitched to you? Did it take any convincing before you agreed to return to the world of Orphan Black?
Tatiana Maslany: As soon as I heard the kind of ideas that they had for the story, it sounded really exciting, and I knew how much the fans would love it, and how they've continued to be supportive of the show even after it's ended. So it was nice to get to make something that felt like it was for them.
Did you ever think you would actually return to the characters?
Maslany: I don't know. We'd always kind of joked about them, like the clones at 70 years old, sitting together on a porch, but I didn't expect it to come this soon.
Why is an audio series the right way to continue on the Orphan Black story?
Maslany: Just because it's so different. It's such a great medium in terms of like [storytelling], especially since we already know what the world looks [and feels like], to get to expand it just in terms of audio is a great natural extension of it. We'll hear a lot of familiar voices, and at the same time, there'll be new clones, which is very exciting.
You're used to already playing multiple characters in the series, but what's it like creating new characters simply with your voice and giving them distinct personalities?
Maslany: It's like a whole other challenge. I have a lot of reverence for voice actors, and have always been in deep admiration of that skillset, and fascinated by it. So it's really fun to get to kind of explore it myself. It definitely limits what you can get away with. You have to really find so many nuances vocally that you can't sort of use your body for, to tell the story. So it's limiting, but there's a lot there, and it's super fun.
What character are you most excited for listeners to meet now?
Maslany: I'm excited for people to see where [Sarah's daughter] Kira's at. She's kind of on her own track, and she's sort of becoming her own person, and in the shadow of all of this clone stuff, she's forging her own life, and I think that's really exciting to kind of see where Sarah has impacted her.
What's the recording process like?
Maslany: It's me in a little booth, and our director and sound engineers are on call, but it's very solitary, which is fun and also lonely. I miss my buds, and I miss Kristian [Bruun, who played Donnie Hendrix], and Kevin [Hanchard, who played Detective Art Bell], and Évelyne [Brochu, who played Delphine Cormier].
Is there any way they could come back for the audio series?
Maslany: No, I've stolen their parts, too, unfortunately. Everyone's going to be super disappointed that everyone's [now played by me].
There's an Orphan Black TV series in the works. Can you tell us if it will be a complete spin-off set in the same world?
Maslany: Oh, I didn't even know that was like a thing until I saw that press release. I think it has zero to do with me or the clones that I've created. I don't know anything about it actually.
If someone hasn't watched the TV series, and they're not familiar with the world, will they be able to jump right into the audio series, or will they need a little bit of back story?
Maslany: I think they'll be able to jump into it. I think a little catch-up on the show would probably be a good idea, just because I think that the audiobook speaks to the fans specifically and sort of assumes that you know a little bit at least about the world. But I think it would be intriguing to people coming at it for the first time.
Do you think a Season 2 or 3 of the audio series is a possibility down the line?
Maslany: Well I don't know how it ends yet. We haven't finished recording it, so I guess that depends on where it sort of ends. I'm just as excited to see what the heck's going on.
Orphan Black: The Next Chapter premieres on Sept. 12. The full season will be available for $9.99 until Sept. 19. After that, it will cost $12.99.