It’s one of the most hotly anticipated dates on Netflix every year – the release date of the new season of Orange is the New Black.
This year’s launch will hold even more significance for the show’s fans as it will be the final season as the dramedy draws to a close.
Who will get released? Who will stay locked up? What will become of Piper in the outside world? We take a look at what season seven could have in store.
When will Orange is the New Black season 7 air?
There’s no official date just yet, but the new season is expected to stream on Netflix in the summer.
Season six was available from July last year and other seasons have streamed from June, so you can probably narrow it down to that part of the year.
Who will star in it?
Of course, we’re expecting to see star of the show Taylor Schilling back as Piper Chapman, and Laura Prepon as love of her life Alex Vause.
As far as we know, Danielle Brooks will be back as Taystee, Adrienne C Moore as Cindy, and Kate Mulgrew as prison matriarch Red.
We’re hoping that we’ll also see the return of other regular inmates Natasha Lyonne as Nicky, Yael Stone as Morello, Taryn Manning as Doggett, Selenis Leyva as Gloria, and Dascha Polanco as Dayanara.
Uzo Aduba should be back as Crazy Eyes, Laverne Cox as Sophia, Jackie Cruz as Gonzales, Laura Gomez as Flores, and Nick Sandow as guilt-ridden former prison boss Joe Caputo.
There are of course too many stars of the show to mention, but with all regular cast members managing to stay alive at the end of season six, there’s a strong chance you’ll get to see your favourite character's loose ends tied up before the grand finale.
What happened in season 6?
Last time we caught up with the ladies of Litchfield, they were undergoing their biggest changes since being locked up.
After the riots of season five, they were split up in the maximum security wing where C and D block went to war against each other, introducing some dangerous new characters who proved a threat to their safety.
Badison became Piper’s nemesis, while Dayanara got drawn in by the charm of drug dealer Daddy who got her hooked on some dangerous substances.
Red went off the rails as she realised none of her prison family had come to her aid during the riots, Frieda was confronted by her old enemies siblings Carol and Barbara, and Nicky tried her best to put an end to the sisters’ violence – although Carol and Barbara ended up killing each other in the final episode.
As the C and D block rivalry died with them, things seemed to have settled into harmony with a kickball game and a release date for some of the inmates, including Piper who prison-married Alex before she was due to leave.
But there was a further twist to come, as prison bosses PolyCon let some of the women – among them Piper and Sophia – return to their families, while another group that included Flores was actually lead into their new immigration detention facility.
What will happen next?
She may not be in prison anymore, but we’re sure Piper will still have a strong role to play in the final season and we’re looking forward to finding out how she copes on the outside without Alex.
There’s also the question of whether Jason Biggs will return to the cast as her former fiancé who left her for her best friend when she was jailed.
Alex will be fighting the wrath of Badison alone, who’s sure to want to exert her authority now that Carol and Barbara are gone.
During the kickball game, pregnant Morello, who was hiding out in the laundry room, was in urgent need of medical attention – will she and her baby survive?
It was heartbreaking seeing Flores be marched off to the detention centre instead of reunited with her loved ones, and we’re sure we’ll see much more of prison boss Linda’s new project in the forthcoming episodes.
Of course, the end of the show doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the prison sentence for some of the regulars, so we’re interested to see who will get out, who’s staying in for life, and the final few flashbacks to piece together the previous lives of the inmates.
Orange is the New Black will return to Netflix for its final season in summer 2019.
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