After spending six years with the women of Litchfield Penitentiary, fans are preparing to say goodbye following Orange Is the New Black’s seventh and final season.
Warning! Spoilers for Orange Is the New Black Season 6 lie ahead!
The beloved series first premiered on Netflix in July of 2013 and not only gained a loyal fanbase, but also rose to critical acclaim. With Season 6 behind them and fans teetering on the brink of Season 7, many are wondering what to expect in the final batch of episodes, especially after the game-changing events of the sixth season.
As the premiere date approaches, and as the cast bids farewell to the characters they have portrayed for the past several years, more details, including plot details, have been revealed.
Keep scrolling to see everything we know about Orange Is the New Black Season 7.
After years spent with the inmates at Litchfield Penitentiary, fans will be forced to officially say goodbye to them after Season 7.
In October, just a few months after OITNB Season 6 premiered, fans were greeted with the bittersweet announcement that the beloved series would be returning for it seventh and final season, a message that was shared by the cast via video.
The news doesn’t necessarily come as a surprise, as Season 6 had ended with Piper being granted early release, and showrunner Jenji Kohan, as well as several cast members, had suggested in interviews that the series was nearing its end.
Currently, there is not an exact premiere date for the seventh season, though Netflix confirmed in its first-quarter shareholder letter in April that the series, along with several other popular Netflix originals, would be returning in “the second half of the year,” meaning sometime on or after July 1.
For comparison, Orange Is the New Black’s debut season premiered on July 11, 2013, with all subsequent seasons premiering in June (Seasons 2-5). The most recent season, Season 6, premiered on July 27, 2018.
It seems likely that Season 7 will stick with that time frame and will be set for a July release.
While fans await the announcement of a premiere date, showrunner Jenji Kohan announced in February that production on the series had officially wrapped. Kohan made the announcement with a series of Instagram posts from the final days on set.
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The message was a bittersweet one for fans, who are not quite ready to say goodbye to Orange Is the New Black.
Although she was released from prison due to a paperwork mishap, Piper Chapman’s story is not over, and it will continue to play a major role throughout the course of the final episodes, as Kohan wanted to explore a post-prison storyline.
“[Showrunner Jenji Kohan] wanted to be able to tell stories about post-prison," writer Brian Chamberlayne told The Hollywood Reporter in August of 2018. "It wasn't just a season-six end, it was partially about getting into the arc of where Piper goes. It's about what is significant about the criminal justice system and what is significant about Piper's story and journey, so there's plenty to be told."
Although what exactly her out-of-prison storyline will consist of remains to be seen, though it has been speculated that Piper may busy herself with writing the memoir she had spoken of in Season 6, which her real-life counterpart, Piper Kerman, wrote. The memoir, Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison, became the basis for the Netflix original series.
Piper wasn't the only inmate to get an early release in the Season 6 finale, but while she and Sophia were able to reunite with their families, Blanca Flores was greeted by ICE officers once she exited Litchfield Max.
Although that could have easily been the end of her storyline, actress Laura Gomez revealed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that her onscreen counterpart would be back in Season 7, and that she was helping to develop Blanca’s story.
“The fact that we are dealing with a situation so intense in our current political climate — it felt almost dangerous, to me. So I decided I was going to embrace that and use it for this character," she said. “I am definitely in talks with the writers, they’re asking questions about different things.”
“I remember getting goosebumps because it felt so relevant; that through Blanca, we’re going to get to see this crisis,” she continued. “It felt very important to me as a person, as well, that this character gets to inform an audience about this whole situation. I’m not exactly sure what’s going to happen, but I think we have a hint that we’re going to see a little bit of that in season seven.”
Fans tuning in to Season 6 were devastated after a handful of beloved characters were notably absent for the entirety of the season. After the riots of Season 5, the prisoners had been separated and sent to different facilities, leaving the whereabouts of Maritza, Soso, and Chang, as well as several others, unknown.
Although their returns have not been confirmed, producer Tara Herrmann told The Hollywood Reporter that there is a chance that fans will see them in the final season.
“If the story takes us there, it has to be organic for us," she said. “We never want to suddenly be in a world that we haven’t set up. But we love those characters and miss them as storytellers for sure, so we hope to always see them."
While the main cast is set to return for Season 7, they will be joined by a handful of new faces, according to updates made to IMDb.
Actress and comedian Iliana Inocencio is set to join the cast as a currently unknown character, and Komal Charania is set to portray an ICE Detainee, who one can assume Blanca meets while being held in a detention center.
Season 7 will also see the return of a number of familiar faces including Ian Paola’s Yadriel, currently listed for an appearance in Episode 6, Mandela Bellamy’s Rosalie Deitland in three episodes of the finale season, as well as Miguel Izaguirre’s Diablo in Episode 3. Evander Duck Jr. and Bernard Whittles are currently listed to appear in Episode 6.
Season 7 may be the end of Orange Is the New Black, but that doesn’t mean that it is the end of the story.
In November, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Lionsgate TV Group was considering a sequel to the beloved series, which has been billed as one of the series that laid the groundwork for Netflix’s original content.
“We're really proud of the long run that Orange Is the New Black had," Lionsgate TV Group chairman Kevin Beggs said. “It remains one of Netflix's most-watched shows. We're ending on a high note. Keep in mind we own that series and will be distributing it for years to come. We're already in discussions and, when the timing is right, we'll talk further with Jenji about a potential sequel."
Currently, nothing seems to be immediately in the works, and it is not known who or what a potential sequel would focus on.