A Canceled Sci-Fi Series Is Finally Back With The Spinoff It Deserves

By Nathan Kamal | 1 month ago

science fiction

Fans of a certain show about clones in danger can rejoice: Orphan Black is officially getting a new spin-off show. The cult science fiction series starring Tatiana Maslany premiered simultaneously on Canada’s Space network and BBC America in 2013 and ran for five seasons. While it was never a crossover success in the way that HBO’s Game of Thrones broke out high fantasy into the mainstream, it was critically acclaimed for the entirety of its run and won many awards, including a Peabody (generally considered the television and radio equivalent of a Pulitzer Prize). Now AMC has greenlit a spin-off show titled Orphan Black: Echoes, which will center on new characters in the same near-future world of the original show. 

Orphan Black

Orphan Black was created by writer Graeme Manson and director John Fawcett. Graeme Manson recently served as showrunner for the dystopian science fiction series Snowpiercer on TNT, while John Fawcett worked on the Amazon Prime Video series The Man in the High Castle (a different, non-future science-fiction dystopia). Fawcett is returning to the Orphan Black fold to executive produce the spin-off as well as direct an unspecified number of episodes. Orphan Black: Echoes will have its showrunner in Anna Fishko, a veteran of AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead and Netflix’s The Society. The show has been greenlit straight to order for ten episodes and is expected to premiere sometime in 2023. 

The original Orphan Black show was an ambitious examination of the morality and consequences of human cloning, which eventually led to complex intrigues of cults, secret organizations, and the fate of human evolution. Tatiana Maslany was acclaimed for her leading role on the show, which eventually had her playing five central clone characters with various personalities and appearances. Over the course of the five seasons of the show, she won a Primetime Emmy Award and two Critics’ Choice Television Awards (as well as a slew of other nominations). The show was also particularly noted for its loyal following online, which dubbed itself the “Clone Club” after a term originating on the show for a group of the artificial human beings meeting in secret. 


The showrunners of Orphan Black chose to end the show at five seasons, reportedly to ensure a satisfying ending rather than the abrupt cancelation that usually happens to cult shows. It is unknown how and if the central plot of the new show will dovetail into the spin-off, or if any of the previous existing characters will reappear. Tatiana Maslany is set to star in the upcoming Disney+ streaming show She-Hulk as the titular super-powered New York City attorney.  It has been speculated that Marvel Studios is planning to continue the gradual phasing out of the original core Avengers membership with new versions of the characters, as it has with the new Hawkeye (Hailee Steinfeld) and Captain America (Anthony Mackie). In that case, Maslany’s version of Jennifer Walters may well end up being the official MCU Hulk in the future Phases of Marvel. But at least until we know, maybe time for an Orphan Black rewatch.