Our obsession with Orange Is the New Black is well-documented, which is why we understand your pain counting seemingly endless days until it returns to Netflix in 2014. To help ease the wait, we spoke to the cast and creator Jenji Kohan at New York's PaleyFest on Wednesday to find out what's to come, including post-freakout Piper, more Crazy Eyes and Laura Prepon's rumored exit.
When we last saw the women of Litchfield, Piper (Taylor Schilling) was beating the living hell out of Pennsatucky (Taryn Manning), something that will definitely have ramifications for our inmate heroine. "I think [Piper will] be a little shaky," Kohan says, refusing to confirm whether or not Season 2 will jump ahead in time. "I think she survives by her behavior and I think there were consequences to her behavior."
Kohan also reveals that while Orange previously had a very heavy emphasis on Piper and her adjustment to prison life, the focus will be more evenly divided among other characters going forward. "It's becoming much more of an ensemble," Kohan says. "As much as I love Piper and Taylor and her journey, I think people are interested in everybody's journey."
While she is hesitant to reveal exactly whose backstories will be featured, Kohan does promise we'll see some of the fan favorites, including Crazy Eyes (Uzo Aduba), who we learned in Season 1 was likely adopted, but not much else. Kate Mulgrew, who plays Red, also promises we'll see some of Poussé (Samira Wiley) and Black Cindy's (Adrienne Moore) histories, while Danielle Brooks is hoping to learn more about her own character. "I'm dying to learn more about [Taystee]!" she says. "And some of the guards. How interesting would it be to go into their lives?"
According to Kohan, Brooks might get her wish. "Knock on wood, if there's a Season 3, we're really talking about focusing in on the guards more then," she says.
But though Season 2 will focus less on Piper, she'll still be an important part of the journey to come. Now that she doesn't have either Larry (Jason Biggs) or Alex (Prepon), Piper will struggle with being single in prison, something that Schilling says will help Piper come to terms with herself. In the outside world, Larry will have to face his new bachelorhood and determine whether or not he wants to reconcile with his incarcerated former fiancée. "He loves Piper, but he doesn't really know where to go from there," Biggs says. "So beginning of Season 2 and throughout we're going to see or at least explore if the damage that was done is irreparable or if they can work through this."
In addition to her relationship with Larry, Piper will also have to negotiate how to move forward with Pennsatucky after the finale beating, which left the Bible thumper in "pretty bad shape," according to Manning. But the actress is staying positive about the incident, saying she hopes Pennsatucky will at least get some new teeth out of the brutal ordeal. And while Manning refuses to reveal whether we'll see the ramifications of Healy's (Michael Harney) tacit approval of the attempted murder, there will be hope for Piper and Pennsatucky to reconcile. "They both have the potential," Manning says. "There's one point where she tries to make right with me. There's one point where I try to make right with her. But the moment she crosses me, I'm just so betrayed. I think they might continue to explore that."
Nicky (Natasha Lyonne) will also be struggling with her inter-prison relationships in Season 2. While the finale saw her getting more than a little handsy with Piper's ex Alex, as TVGuide.com previously reported, Prepon will only be returning for one episode next season. Kohan wouldn't confirm the report, only saying, "You will definitely see her," while Lyonne teases Prepon's "gonna be back some."
But no matter how long Prepon sticks around, Nicky will be saying goodbye to yet another lover and close friend at some point in Season 2. So how will she take it? "I think she's a real fighter survivor type who will find her way in any situation, so I have good faith in Nicky making it through," Lyonne says. Though, it's possible Nicky won't take Alex's departure too hard because she's still holding out hope of getting back with Morello (Yael Stone). "I think Morello is super hot, but I'm also a little bit sick of her not treating me like an equal human being and always talking about her fiancé. Like Nicky's getting her feelings a little hurt, so if Morello wants to show up in a healthier way for Nicky and really say, 'I'm here to be your girlfriend,' maybe I'll have an open mind to it," Lyonne says, adding, "None of this necessarily comes up in the second season, but that's the story I've written in my mind."
It's unclear how much time Nicky's prison mother will have to help her through these issues. Red seems to have enough troubles of her own to worry about after losing control of the kitchen. "She lost the kitchen, but does Red strike you as the kind of person who would just let her kitchen go? So what do you think Season 2 is going to be about? Reclamation! Vindication!" Mulgrew teases, noting that only Kohan and the writing staff know what's truly in store for Red.
However, she adds that we will be seeing more of Red's backstory and what exactly landed her in prison. "I just know that they weren't putting candy bars in my deep freeze, if you know what I mean," Mulgrew says. She also explains that whatever went down between Red and the Russians has something to do with the reason we haven't seen her husband at visiting hours yet (but thankfully it's nothing too dark). "Well, the Russians weren't happy, but my husband is alive. Don't worry," Mulgrew assures.
Orange Is the New Black returns on Netflix in 2014.