After two seasons, Netflix has canceled its fantasy thriller The OA, and series co-creator and star Brit Marling has responded to The OA’s cancellation — and she made a good point about women in science fiction. The interdimensional series followed Prairie Johnson (Marling), a previously blind woman who returns home with her vision fully restored after she had gone missing seven years prior. It’s a series filled with mind-bending ups and downs, but here’s the gist: Prairie — who eventually assumes the moniker the OA (short for the “Original Angel”) — recruits a group of friends to open the portal to another dimension to find others who have disappeared. If this all sounds confusing, Season 2 is all the more perplexing as viewers learn that the OA is but a mere character of a show.
On August 5, Variety reported that the series will not be returning for a third season. On the heels of the announcement, Marling took to Instagram to reflect on the cancellation — as well as herald science fiction as a genre that allowed her to write women’s stories, limitless. “It’s hard to be inspired to write stories about the ‘real’ world when you have never felt free in it,” she wrote. “As a woman writing characters for myself and other women, it has often felt to me as if the paved roads for travel in narrative are limited.”
Marling continued, “Perhaps one day I will be evolved enough as a writer to pave my own roads in ‘reality’ (Elena Ferrante!), but to date I have often felt stymied… Science fiction wiped this “real” world clean like an Etch-a-Sketch. Science fiction said imagine anything in its place. And so we did. We imagined that the collective is stronger than the individual. We imagined that there is no hero... We imagined humans as one species among many and not necessarily the wisest or most evolved. We imagined movements that got unlikely people in rooms together, got them moving, got them willing to risk vulnerability for the chance to step into another world.”
She concluded about the “intense journey” or working on the show, “That is what The OA has been for [co-creator] Zal [Batmanglij] and I and every other artist who joined us. The chance to step into another world and feel free in it. We feel profound gratitude to Netflix and the people we have worked with there for making it possible to make Part I and Part II. We feel proud of those 16 uncompromised hours.”
Premiering on Netflix in December 2016, The OA returned for a second season two years after its debut on March 22. Following its cancellation, fans took to social media to react to the news after Season 2’s cliffhanger ending. “I’d like to live in a dimension where the OA is not cancelled, please,” Twitter user @t_undra_ wrote. “Netflix, you cannot leave us in a cliffhanger like this.”
Elsewhere, Twitter user @Dat_Boii_Dave invoked Monica Geller to air their grievances about the cancellation.
The OA may have been canceled in this dimension, but it'll be exciting to see what Marling tackles next. Here's to more perplexing, multidimensional women characters written by women, for women.