With Orange Is The New Black returning to Netflix for Season 5 on Friday, the show's cast and crew have been excitedly discussing the future of the hit series. In a new interview with The New York Times, creator Jenji Kohan talked about when and how Orange Is The New Black will end, from how many more seasons fans can expect to what will happen once Piper is finally released from Litchfield By the sounds of it, fans still have a lot to look forward to.
Kohan explained that, while the real-life Piper spent 13 months in jail, the TV version "was sentenced to 18," meaning that there is still plenty of time for storylines to be explored. "I think we’re at about 10 months," she said. It's already been revealed that Season 5 of OITNB will span three days of time, which leaves several more months of incarceration for Piper to endure before she's finally free. This is great news for viewers, because, if future seasons also focus on just a few days at a time, then the show could go on indefinitely.
Since OITNB has been guaranteed seven seasons by Netflix, Kohan pointed out that the show might only have two more seasons left. She said, "I haven’t made a final decision yet, but I’m leaning toward ending it after seven — although the nature of the show is one that can go on and on because you can bring in new people." While she wouldn't release too many details on her concrete plans for the finale, an obvious ending for the show would be to follow Piper as she leaves Litchfield for good and begins her new life on the outside. After all, the show started out following Piper's unpredictable and unexpected journey as an inmate.
But, as a viewer, I hope that Kohan chooses to wrap the series solidly at the end of Season 7 because, in many ways, it feels as though Piper's journey has already gone on for too long. However, fan excitement about the show is still sky high, so it definitely feels as though there's the opportunity to spend a lot more time in Litchfield. If fans continue to watch, there's no reason the series has to end. Just look at Grey's Anatomy.
As for Kohan's suggestion that the show can "bring in new people," it's possible that the series could reboot itself after Season 7. Viewers have already had to watch several beloved characters leave the show, so it wouldn't be out of the question to replace Piper at the end of Season 7 with a brand new inmate. And, arguably, Piper isn't even the lead character anymore. Rather, OITNB is an ensemble show featuring several co-leads, which makes it even more durable.
Most importantly, Kohan pointed to the incredible cast on OITNB "as gorgeous and sexy and interesting and normative in a way that the milieu doesn’t always present." The series continues to change the television landscape and tell accessible and surprising stories each season. Long may it continue.