ORPHAN BLACK Comic-Con Panel Recap: Cast and Creators Talk Male Clones, the Emmy Snub, and the Comic Book

     July 26, 2014

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Awards season sees snubs left and right for well-deserved performances and craftsmanship, but never in recent history has there been such fan backlash as there has been for Orphan BlackThis little known BBC America series has managed to grow a loyal and rabid cult following in just two seasons, with the amazing talented Tatiana Maslany at the center of it.

Regularly playing four to five different clones in each episode, Maslany has truly earned her new spot as a Comic-Con superstar, and the energy was palpable when the Orphan Black panel started.  While about half the time was devoted to fan questions and touching stories, the panel was able to go into how the cast and crew felt about the making of the second season and where they were looking forward to as they begin work on the third.  Are there sparks flying between Paul and Mrs. S?  Will we see Tony, the newest clone, again?  And, really, where are Cosima’s parents?  In attendance with Maslany were actors Jordan Gavaris, Dylan Bruce, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Kristian Bruun, and Ari Millen, as well as creators John Fawcett and Graeme Manson.  Hit the jump for Orphan Black Comic-Con panel recap highlights.

Panel Highlights

  • orphan-black-season-2-tatiana-maslanyAs the panel began, audience members showed fan love for all of the main four clones (Sarah, Allison, Cosima, Helena), and enjoyed watching a recap of the second season.  Each cast member and the two creators received a warm welcome, but Maslany got an immediate standing ovation when she walked onstage.
  • With the elephant in the room being Maslany’s Emmy snub, she said that she’s just happy to be working on such a great show on television.  She is aware that the TV landscape is saturated with exciting shows right now, and she knows that she’s in good company.
  • Another crowd favorite was Gavaris, who said he really enjoyed adding layers to Felix this season, and making him a little more complicated.  Fun interplay was had between Gavaris and Bruce, who had a tense scene where Paul framed Felix for a crime as a warning by physically restraining him.  Bruce admitted to having a man crush on Gavaris, and it helped make a scene like that a bit easier.
  • Fawcett and Manson explained how they wanted Mrs. S to be a bit of a sleeper cell during the first season, and then activated her character more in this past season to show how bad ass she could be.  When asked about a possible romance with Paul after all the interactions they had during this past season, Kennedy said she honestly didn’t know if there would be.  All she knows is the show is full of moments that you don’t expect.
  • orphan black comic con panel recapMillen is gearing up to be the new clone inhabiter, thanks to the reveal during the season finale that a military program had created male clones similar to the ones portrayed by Maslany. He’s going to have his own personal journey in creating them, but knows he can turn to Maslany to help him along his way. Maslany said she was so excited when she first started working with Millen on the first episode of season two, saying he was such a present and gifted actor. Fawcett and Manson shared that even though they planned on killing his character Mark off in the sixth episode of the season, they kept him around because of his proven talent.
  • Bruun really enjoyed Donnie taking charge this season, and working with Allison as a team instead of against each other.  Fawcett and Manson promised that there would be additional footage of Bruun on the season two DVD, including a scene from the finale where Donnie demands that his monitor expenses are paid back by Rachel.
  • Maslany was asked about revisiting clones, and said she would like to explore more of Jennifer’s story, having only shot three short scenes depicting her quick decline in health.  She said she finds Beth fascinating, and hopes to find out more about her.  Fawcett and Manson teased fans by saying that “nothing is off the table” with Beth, and that there may be a twist to Beth’s story.
  • Bringing Tony, a transgender clone, on to the show created a very positive fan reaction, and Maslany thinks that creating that conversation, whether its polarizing or not, is a good thing.  Gavaris liked having Tony as a mirror for Felix, and Kennedy would love to see Mrs. S and Tony interact.
  • When asked about where Cosima’s parents are, considering she is declining in her health rapidly, Fawcett and Manson did touch on possibly bringing some of the other clones’ parents into the show.  An amazing casting suggestion they came up with at the panel was Catherine O’Hara as Allison’s mom.

Audience Q&A

  • orphan black comic con panel recapMaslany was gifted with her own Best Actress Award from the Clone Club Facebook group.  She was also given nesting dolls int he shape of the five main clones.
  • A very touching story came from a fan who wanted to thank Maslany for championing interesting and complicated LGTBQ characters on the show.  Gavaris commented on the fact that our society is often very reductive, trying to boil people down to specific things we can know or detect about them, and that’s not right.
  • Everyone is very eager to get Patrick J. Adams back as Helena’s love interest Jesse. He has expressed interest in coming back, and Manson and Fawcett love the idea of seeing more of him.
  • The comic book is going to explore backstories, other aspects of relationships, and plenty of original material.  Manson and Fawcett have grand plans ahead for the comics.
  • Maslany says that all of the clones have a part of her in them, but she probably relates the most to Cosima.  She really enjoyed living through the conciseness of Tony’s arc this season, but also loved Helena’s more sedated journey.  While Rachel challenges Maslany the most of all the clones, she never views her as a villain.  For getting into character for each of the clones, she does her research and uses music, but she relies on the other actors’ interactions with her as well.
  • Kennedy really likes Mrs. S because she’s such a complicated female character, and not very often do you see those created or portrayed.
  • Bruce says that Paul is never who seems to be, and neither is any character on Orphan Black.

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