Unfortunately for “Orphan Black” fans, Tatiana Maslany does not have any actual clones, but her absence from the BBC series’ WonderCon presentation did not deter members of the “Clone Club” from filling the room to capacity or diminish their enthusiasm Saturday at the Anaheim Convention Center.
“Orphan Black” co-creator Graeme Manson, along with cast members Jordan Gavaris, Evelyne Brochu, Dylan Bruce, Kristian Bruun and Maria Doyle Kennedy were on hand to discuss the show during a panel that featured plenty of clips from the upcoming third season. Maslany appeared in a recorded video to send love to the show’s fans.
“Orphan Black,” of course, follows Sarah Manning (Maslany) and her exploits as she further unravels the secrets behind the experiments that led to her and her sister clones’ creation while she tries to protect members of her now extended family. Last season closed with the reveal that Sarah and her sisters are actually only half of the equation – a set of male clones also exist.
“I cannot wait for you all to see what he’s done with these boys,” Bruce said when asked about Ari Millen and the male Castor clones. “He’s such a wonderful, loving guy and he plays these creeps so well. You guys should all be really, really excited. He poured his heart and soul into these characters and he did a spectacular job.”
Manson said the male clones are different because they were raised self-aware as a “wolf pack” as opposed to the female clones of project Leda who were raised separately for the purpose of the experiment.
The clones, while significant, are not the only important characters in “Orphan Black.”
Gavaris shared that his character Felix spends more time with Cosima this season.
“It was kind of a long time coming,” said Gavaris. “Not in any way to reduce these characters to their sexuality, but [Felix and Cosima] have this thing in common, and it’s something that none of [the other clones] can relate to. It’s a very specific thing having to come out, feeling like an outsider, ever feeling oppressed. It’s a very specific kind of feeling that I think these characters, on an unspoken level get to relate to.”
At least part of the reason Cosima will be spending more time with Felix is probably related to the news Brochu shared about Delphine’s story this season.
After being shipped away to Frankfurt last season, Delphine returns this season with new responsibilities, new power and a new look. But the power comes at a cost – secrets, sacrifices and heartbreaking decisions – all in order to keep the promise she made to Cosima last season to love all the clones equally.
Brochu also elaborated on the symbolism of her new look in the press room prior to the presentation.
“Just like in real life, sometimes you change your hair because you’re trying to accelerate symbolically a change that you’re going through but you’re not quite there yet,” Brochu said, explaining how sometimes a radical visual shift is necessary to ignite and influence an internal shift. “I think that’s what Delphine’s doing when she’s coming back from Frankfurt and having to make very difficult sacrifices and choices. [She feels] like, ‘I’m not yet this Delphine I need to be, but I gotta step up and I’ll do something to look in the mirror to feel different.’ ”
Delphine is not the only one who has to live with difficult decisions.
Doyle, who plays Felix and Sarah’s foster mother Siobhan Sadler, talked a bit about how the choices Mrs. S had to make last season haunt her this season.
“[Mrs. S] makes lots of crazy decisions, but she always has good reasons for making them and she’s doing them ultimately to protect her family,” Kennedy said. But regarding her decision to secretly hand over Helena to Paul and project Castor, she added that “it [was] a fundamental shift in terms of where she’s prepared to go. It was hard to do.”
Not every character, however, is facing a darker shift.
Bruun said Donnie and Alison are closer than ever now that he is in on the clone secret.
“Team Hendrix is going to tear up the suburbs,” said Bruun.
What else can fans look forward to this season? Manson explained that the show will revisit Beth, the clone who started it all, to open up her story a bit and potentially explore her further in depth in the future. He also shared that fans can look forward to a scene that rivals the technical magnificence of the four-clone dance party from season 2 during the finale.
The third season of “Orphan Black” kicks off April 18.
WonderCon runs through Sunday.
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