Learn How Orphan Black Pulled Off Those Clone Effects, Plus Details On Season 2

By Nick Venable | Updated

This article is more than 2 years old

If you’re like me, you spent most of March through June fascinated with BBC America’s hit sci-fi drama Orphan Black, one of the most well rounded genre series to come out in years. (Feel free to read my reviews here.) The multi-layered, clone-infused storyline was more than enough to keep viewers hooked, but the most magnificent aspect of the series is the nearly flawless performances from lead actress Tatiana Maslany. Faced with the daunting task of portraying not just one, but numerous clones throughout the first season, she gave each character as much depth as any other on TV, most noticeably in scenes where she starred opposite herself. If you’re a viewer, chances are, you spent a lot of each episode wondering how in the hell Maslany nailed all of the multi-clone scenes. Thankfully, co-creators John Fawcett and Graeme Manson gave us this new video to clue us in on their visual trickery.

Apparently things aren’t all that different from when Patty Duke played her own cousin on The Patty Duke Show, as the process still all split screens and lookalike doubles. Only in this day and age, CGI allows for a far more perfect and immersive method that lets Maslany interact with “herself” in any number of ways. Personally, I think Maslany is so good that she could have just quickly switched places, swapping out wigs, for the entire series and it still would have been amazing. I expect the only reason Maslany, who already won a Critics Choice Television Award, got snubbed by the Emmys is because the academy is run by whatever faction is trying to kill off the clones.

Both director Fawcett and head writer Manson shared insight into the show’s second season with The Huffington Post. As you might expect, we haven’t met all of the versions just yet, at least a couple more will show their identical faces before long. The creative duo tease much more than just Maslany’s characters, but we’ll have to wait a while to see anyone else, as, according to Mason, there is still “some space to explore” with Sarah and the clan.

Given that first season ended with Kira’s disappearance, they say she will play a big part in the second season drama, as will Mrs. S. (Maria Doyle Kennedy), the foster mother of Sarah and Felix (Jordan Gavaris). “It’s safe to say Mrs. S. still holds many surprises for us,” Manson says, referring to how she came to be Sarah’s mother in the first place. As for Sarah’s origin, he says, “It’s not necessarily ‘the parents,’ it’s ‘Where did the genetic material come from? Because you don’t need an original.” We’ve already heard Sarah’s mother’s death knell, and I’ve got theories galore on the father’s identity.

It sounds like the action will pick up shortly after the events of the finale. “With Kira being taken, if you just think of that, dramatically, there’s too much at stake to leave it even for a day,” Fawcett said. He also shared his own views on what they’d like to do with it, albeit in a tongue-in-cheek way, saying, “I just want less plot. Can we have more character stuff? Like, funny stuff with Alison and Felix? It is kind of my instinct to give the audience a little bit more breathing room sometimes, to just enjoy, like, the fact that the clones are really fun to hang out with.” Indeed. But honestly, the first season worked the perfect amount of character beats between the drama, at least as far as I’m concerned.

And because I didn’t really talk about Felix all that much, enjoy some his best moments in one convenient video.