Netflix's prison dramedy "Orange Is the New Black" helped introduce TV viewers to binge-watching, so it's no wonder fans are clamoring for its second season to begin already. Producers aren't revealing much about what to expect when the show's next 13 episodes premiere June 6, but the cast did offer TODAY some tantalizing tidbits before their PaleyFest panel in Los Angeles Friday night.
Creator and executive producer Jenji Kohan confirmed at the panel that viewers will see more flashbacks this season, including glimpses into the pasts of Lorna, Sister Ingalls, Taystee, Miss Rosa and Vee, the new character played by Lorraine Toussaint.
"That's my favorite part of the show," star Jason Biggs told TODAY. "At the end of season one, I was like, Oh my god, there are still some characters who I want to see flashbacks for, so there's more of that. Which I love."
Fans flipped out when it was first reported that Laura Prepon's Alex Vause would only be returning for one episode, but forget you heard that — Piper's ex-girlfriend will definitely be in more than one.
"Yeah, the funny thing is that it was a scheduling thing that happened with another project, and (showrunner) Jenji (Kohan) and I were like, cool, we're going to work it out so Alex can be in as many as possible," Prepon said. "The storyline that happened is going to be awesome and shocking and rad and fans are going to be really happy."
Prepon wouldn't reveal to TODAY exactly how many episodes Alex appears in, "because it'll give stuff away," she said. "But it's awesome and I'm excited for the fans to see it. We definitely keep people guessing, that's for sure."
Did the epic beatdown Piper delivered to Pennsatucky (Taryn Manning) in the first-season finale give the bookish blonde more street cred among the other prisoners?
"Oh, that's a really good question," star Taylor Schilling told TODAY. "I think that what happens throughout the season is that she continues to evolve … the outside sort of arranges around her, kind of shifts as her insides continue to shift, and she continues to sort of find new parts of herself, and find herself in prison. So she shifts."
Piper and Larry aren't necessarily dunzo. "Season two is pretty much spent with them figuring out if the damage that was done is too great for the relationship or if it's something they can fix and get through," Biggs said. "And there's some new obstacles that are thrown in their way during the season." But, he added later during the panel Q&A, "They really do love each other."
Is Crazy Eyes leaving the prison?
Uzo Aduba became the breakout star of the show with her portrayal of the Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren, one of the show's most sympathetic and intriguing characters. "You're going to learn and see more Suzanne," she confirmed to TODAY.
"I know that she's leaving," she added, without elaborating on the details. "I think something I can say is that we'll come to understand, or may possibly come to learn, 'Oh, this is who this person is. This is where she comes from.' Like just an extension of what we saw in the first season. We started in one place and then she sort of started to become, 'Is she crazy, or is she not?' We don't know what she's giving. But some questions definitely do get answered."
Taystee's 'shocking' storyline
Taystee was released from prison in season one — only to return to the only place that really felt like home. Viewers will see more of her intriguing backstory in season two as well.
"I don't want to spoil it," she told TODAY, "but all I'm going to say is it's good!"
"I feel like Taystee definitely shocked me season two," she added, "some of the choices that she made, so I'm excited to see audiences' reaction, fans' reaction to what's going on with her. I think it's great because she gets to show many different colors and sides of who she is this season and be more than just comedic relief, so I'm excited for that."
"Things are going to get ugly"
"Pretty dresses and tiaras" are what we can expect from season two, Yael Stone, who plays dreamy bride-to-be Lorna — whose backstory viewers will finally see this season — joked on the red carpet before the PaleyFest panel.
Turning serious, she added, "We're heading a little deeper, and things get a little messier and a little dirtier, and I think that's going to be really interesting to see how people respond to that. Things are going to get ugly, and we were just getting to know people in season one and now we're like getting into some meat in season two."
New big bad
Toussaint's Vee looks like a nasty piece of work. "She's a drug maven who runs children," the actress explained about her "drastic" new character, who clashes with Red (Kate Mulgrew). In fact, Vee "shakes things up" for everyone at the prison. Added Laverne Cox, who plays transsexual Sophia: "Nothing's the same because of Vee."