In the five seasons of the science fiction series Orphan Black (2013-2017), actress Tatiana Maslany played more than a dozen clones. As they tried to discover who they really were, they found themselves caught up in a complicated conspiracy in which their lives were at stake. The production, which revealed to the world the acting skills of its protagonist and for which he won, among other things, an Emmy, became a cult series with a large following. His universe is now expanding with Orphan Black: Echoes, with episodes every Monday on Syfy. Another science fiction story that, like the original, explores human identity and pushes current science to its limits.
In Orphan Black: Echoes, a woman wakes up with no memory of who she is or anything from her past. He soon discovers that he is in a place full of cutting-edge technology, where, it is said, human body parts are created using revolutionary four-dimensional printing technology. “We didn't want to have any more clones, we didn't want to do the exact same thing again. So instead of exporting the conflict between nature and nurture, we opened it up a little more to the idea of how technology is becoming more and more part of the story of our creation,” explains Anna Fishko, director of the new series. , in a video call interview. “We ask similar questions about what makes us who we are, but we package it with technology, which I think is very relevant given where science is today,” he continues.
With a slower pace than the original series, Orphan Black: Echoes focuses on the emotions of the characters in addition to the scientific part. Although this is intended to mark a distance from the main story (in fact, the new story is set in the future, in 2052), there will also be some nods to its origins that its followers will recognize, such as the return of some characters. But the screenwriter emphasizes how important it is that viewers who came for the first time understand everything that is happening. This made the writing task even more difficult. “It's always difficult to give everyone what they want. We tried to figure out what things we needed that people loved in the original series and what things people who didn't see it could relate to our story. And then we take into account what television looks like today and give the series a contemporary tone. It was complicated,” says Fishko.
Keeley Hawes, in Orphan Black: Echoes.
Although it may seem like fiction, the technology featured in the series has real basis. “We spent a lot of time talking to a scientist at Wake Forest University who runs a tissue printing lab, and he gave us some very interesting information. They're making incredible progress in printing brain tissue, they're printing little hearts… I didn't know they had come this far. They were very interesting conversations, but they were also a little scary,” explains the series’ writer and producer.
Actress Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones, Breaking Bad) now plays the protagonist in a completely different role than Maslany did back then. Given the multitude of characters her predecessor portrayed, with very different looks, accents and personalities, and often with several of these clones on screen at the same time, Kyrsten Ritter can concentrate on a single character. She was chosen for her ability to combine toughness and vulnerability in her expression, to use Fishko's words. “I imagined someone who was a survivor, who had experienced something very difficult and found a way to build a whole new life. He has this toughness on the outside and a vulnerability on the inside in search of connection and stability, he wants to find out who he is and what his story is,” explains the screenwriter. In the series she is accompanied by the British Keeley Hawes (The Durrells, Bodyguard) in a mysterious role related to the technological part of the story.
Fishko, who has worked on series such as “Fear the Walking Dead”, “Tyrant” and “Do You Know Who He Is?”, assures that it is more complicated for her to take an already created universe to create a new story as she did on this occasion, rather than inventing a fictional world from scratch. “There are always a lot of people who give their opinion on how to deal with it. This time we also wanted to figure out how we could honor the fans of the original series and the great work they did with it. And I looked at some characters that people have already spent a lot of time with, and you have to think about how they have changed in the 35 years that they have been in fiction,” concludes the screenwriter .
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