Orphan Black: Echoes creator unpacks series premiere’s biggest twists

Krysten Ritter on Orphan Black: Echoes
Orphan Black: Echoes features some big twists. Pic credit: AMC/Sophie Giraud

The series premiere of Orphan Black: Echoes takes viewers back to the universe that started in the hit 2013-17 sci-fi drama Orphan Black.

Instead of focusing on more clones, the sequel takes a considerably different approach, setting up the storylines to come in the 10-episode freshman season.

Krysten Ritter stars in the new series as Lucy, a woman who wakes up in a mysterious facility and learns some shocking secrets about her origin.

Sunday’s series premiere is the perfect tease about what the new series can offer. It wastes no time in setting itself apart from the original, which makes it a solid attempt to keep a well-known franchise alive.

Monsters and Critics chatted with Orphan Black: Echoes creator Anna Fishko, who delves into the creative process and offers some insight into who she would like to return.

The interview below contains spoilers for Orphan Black: Echoes Season 1 Episode 1, so consider yourself spoiler-warned.

Monsters and Critics: Firstly, could you speak a bit about how you got involved with Orphan Black: Echoes?

Anna Fishko: I had worked on a show for AMC called Fear the Walking Dead. They approached me probably about a year later about about rebooting Orphan Black. They were looking for different takes on how to bring the show back.

They really didn’t want to do the same thing over again, so they didn’t want one actress playing multiple versions of herself. They wanted something that sat sort of in the same world, meaningfully connected to the original show but not just retreading old ground.

Monsters and Critics: I went into the series premiere without reading anything about the show, so I was pleasantly surprised by the decision to move away from clones. Could you speak a bit about that choice?

Anna Fishko: I think that everyone felt like the original show had done that and done it so well that it would be very difficult to do it again and not ultimately draw comparisons to Tatiana Maslany’s performance in the original show, which was so immensely impressive.

Also, you know, what else was there to do? I think they really didn’t want to just do the same thing over again. So, we also had very complicated technical challenges with shooting the same actor playing multiple versions of the same character in the same scene. It’s a complicated, slow process.

So, there were also some logistical issues that we wanted to avoid by casting separate actors to play the parts.

Monsters and Critics: Like I said, I went into the episode without knowing anything. So I was shocked Kira was a part of the show, given her ties to the original. Could you talk a bit about bringing that character back?

Anna Fishko: We wanted the original show’s audience to find things meaningful in the new show, but we also didn’t want the new show to be so complicated for a new audience member that they couldn’t just enter the world without feeling like they had to have watched five seasons of the old show.

So Kira’s character, because she was a child in the original show, and she was really central and around for so much of what happened, and she had meaningful relationships with a lot of those characters, seemed like the natural kind of entry point to bring her and move her 30 years into the future. This gives that new audience a sort of clean place to enter the story.

And it was very interesting to think about what she would have been like and what choices she would have made, you know, in the 30 years between the old show ending and the new show begins.

Monsters and Critics: What’s great about a character like Kira is that you can see how invested she is in her work, but there’s also this more vulnerable side because she doesn’t believe that Lucy can do anything bad. Could you talk a bit about her mindset when she calls Cosima at the end of episode 1?

Anna Fishko: I think she’s very worried now because she’s been hoping Lucy is okay. She clearly cares about her very deeply.

And I think when she calls Cosima, she realizes that the stakes are getting really high now because there are people who are after her, who don’t really see her as a human being and don’t see her as a person.

Monsters and Critics: Lucy went through a lot in the series premiere, but she managed to carve out a decent life for herself with Jack. Their relationship has been forever changed because Charlie used Lucy’s gun. How will Lucy and Jack’s next meeting go?

Anna Fishko: They do meet up again, and it’s a moment where Lucy has to come clean to Jack about her past. That’s a big revelation for him, and it takes a little while for him to understand and process what she’s telling him because it’s a huge revelation.

Monsters and Critics: At the end of the premiere, Lucy feels a certain way about meeting someone like her in Jules. While Lucy held the gun at her head, I have to imagine she will actually wind up caring about her because their lives are sort of linked together.

Anna Fishko: Jules is also in the dark about her past, but Lucy finds that very hard to believe because she remembers everything about and has been told all of this stuff. So I think there’s some part of her that knows that Jules is just a kid, but she thinks Jules must be holding back some information.

Monsters and Critics: Lucy was adamant about being left alone in the premiere, but she’s been forced to go on the offensive because her life has been upended. What can you tell me about her journey of self-discovery this season?

Anna Fishko: So she really needs to understand where she comes from because she realizes that even if she’s hiding to the best of her ability, she’s never going to be truly safe. And this life that she’s built for herself with Jack and Charlie really means something to her.

So she’s having to put herself out there in a way that she doesn’t really want to do, but has become incredibly necessary.

Monsters and Critics: The series did a great job blending the two shows. If you had it your way, which character from the original Orphan Black would you bring into Echoes, even if it’s just for a scene?

Anna Fishko: I’d love to bring Cosima back for a scene. I think she became Kira’s surrogate mom in a way. Also, we imagined in the interim time that Kira really looked up to Cosima as a scientist, and that’s why she became a scientist.

Orphan Black: Echoes airs on Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. Stream Season 1 on AMC+.

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