Orange Is the New Black Season 7 release date, trailer, and cast

With the release of Orange Is the New Black, Netflix outdid itself once again. After all, it wasn't all that long ago when "Netflix and Chill" was actually a thing, mostly due to the fact that there was a dearth of good shows to watch on the streaming service. That, of course, all changed when Netflix dropped Lilyhammer in 2012 and House of Cards in 2013, heralding the seismic shift that was about to happen on the platform. When Orange Is the New Black, another OG among the company's now plentiful streaming series, premiered, featuring an exceptionally diverse cast and a focus on women's issues, the show was immediately binged by tons of people, and it was hailed by critics as one of the best shows on television.

Now, all these years later, OITNB is moving into its seventh and final season, rendering it one of the longest-running series Netflix has aired to date. And before you prepare for one bingetastic weekend, check out all of the important things you need to know before heading to Litchfield one last time.

A first look at the Orange Is the New Black Season 7 trailer

"Life likes to test you, and when you make a bad choice, living with what you've done can be its own punishment." So opens the trailer for Orange Is the New Black Season 7 with words spoken by Taystee, summing up a significant lesson that many Litchfield residents are all too familiar with. Her words are then followed by Crazy Eyes saying, "Oh my Gorgonzola." In a nutshell, Taystee's words and Crazy Eyes' reaction set the tone for the rest of the trailer: reflective, reverent, and punctuated by lighthearted moments.

Viewers are then treated to short clips of the main characters, including Pennsatucky, Alex, Daya, and Gloria, all within the first 20 seconds. That's followed by our re-introduction to Piper, who's in some seriously different surroundings than we're used to, and she appears to be struggling to gain a foothold in a new world.

The rest of the trailer teases at what plot points will be developed, such as the bonds between Red and Nicky, between Cindy and Taystee, and between newlyweds Piper and Alex.

Orange Is the New Black Season 7 release date

There's nothing quite like the gnawing agony of waiting for the next season of your favorite Netflix show to drop. Well, except for Netflix pulling a Sense8 on you and canceling the show before all of the plot arcs have been fully realized. We're still a little mad about that, you guys.

Fortunately for Orange Is the New Black fans, there's a pretty good chance that everything will be wrapped up nicely. Netflix announced in October of 2018 that the seventh season would be the final season, giving fans plenty of time to emotionally prepare for the show's inevitable conclusion. Plus, there's a whole season still ahead and plenty of drama, action, laughs, and tears to look forward to.

In May of 2019, Netflix, in a teaser video featuring the show's stars, let the world know that the new season will be available on July 26. We are so ready!

Why was Orange Is the New Black canceled?

All good things must come to an end, so goes the old adage. But why specifically did Orange Is the New Black have to be canceled? A couple of reasons, actually. First, some of the show's stars are getting really big because of OITNB's success. Take Samira Wiley, for example, who played Poussey until her untimely death at the hands of C.O. Bayley in Season 4 (which still feels like a fresh wound). She went on to score roles in You're the Worst and The Handmaid's Tale, which shows just how OITNB can launch someone's career. Natasha Lyonne is another good example, as she now has her own Netflix Original Series called Russian Doll.

Secondly, the people behind the show felt that it was just time for OITNB to wrap. Creator Jenji Kohan told The New York Times in 2017 that Season 7 would likely be the last, and VP of Original Content for Netflix Cindy Holland told Deadline that it felt like the characters were on "borrowed time." Combine all of that with the fact that Netflix is tightening its budget, according to Wired, and it all makes sense.

Orange Is the New Black characters who made it to the end

There's been no shortage of exceptionally memorable characters throughout the entirety of Orange Is the New Black. Who could forget Pornstache, played by Pablo Schreiber, whose love for Daya got him in a whole mess of trouble? Or Norma, played by Annie Goldman, who briefly had a cult of fellow-inmate followers believe she had special powers? Arguably, the Orange Is the New Black cast has given viewers ample time to fall in love with each quirky personality.

As Season 7 goes, there are many OG characters who we know will be returning thanks to the Season 7 trailer. Not only will Piper Chapman, Alex Vause, Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren, Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson, and Cindy "Black Cindy" Hayes be returning, but Galina "Red" Reznikov, Nicky Nichols, Gloria Mendoza, Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett, Dayanara Diaz, Lorna Morello, Marisol "Flaca" Gonzales, Blanca Flores, and Carrie "Big Boo" Black will appear, among others. Yaaaas! We can't wait.

Orange Is the New Black all started with a novel

There would be no Orange Is the New Black had Piper Kerman not penned her memoir, Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison. Yes, Kerman really did spend time in prison, and the memoir is based on her personal experiences. "The book is the true story of what I observed and felt," she revealed in an interview with HuffPost. "And while the show changes storylines and characters, it's very true to the spirit of the book."

So what is it that Kerman feels is paramount when it comes to her memoir? "The single thing that is most important about the book is how my life intersects with the lives of these other women," she continued. "I mean, we love Piper Chapman, but the reason to watch is the ensemble." No lies detected, Piper.

Of course, the show has taken some creative liberties, but Kerman is 100 percent on board with that. "[OITNB creator Jenji Kohan] has taken the themes from the book — friendship and empathy, guilt and shame, substance abuse, mental health issues — and blown them up," she added. Clearly this partnership has worked out.

How did Orange Is the New Black get here?

Orange Is the New Black viewers know that every season is a roller coaster of emotions. There are moments of tenderness, acts of sheer cruelty, and plot twists that'll have you jumping out of your seat. But that's expected and is only natural in a series that depicts the life of marginalized women in prison.

To that end, though, Season 6 was especially rough, and arguably bleaker than its predecessors in some regards. Fresh on the heels of the Season 5 riot, everyone was scattered and shipped to different locations, including the dreaded Max (maximum security prison). That, in turn, realigned loyalties and thrust the inmates into new alliances. Carol (Henny Russell) was the queen of C-block, while her sister Barbara (Mackenzie Phillips) ruled over D-block. In addition, we began to see more of characters like Maria Ruiz (Jessica Pimentel) and Frieda (Dale Soules), and everyone in general got more screen time and character development.

It's in Max where the show's main characters lived in Season 6 and also where the biggest arcs of the season played out, which will hopefully be resolved in Season 7.

Orange Is the New Black's Piper is on the outside now

One of the big surprises of Season 6 happened in the finale, when Piper learned that she was going to be released from prison early. However, her release was inevitable, as the show's creators wanted to be true to the memoir. "We just want to make sure we didn't do it too soon in her complete arc as a series, but it seemed like the time was right," Orange Is the New Black executive producer Tara Herrmann told The Hollywood Reporter. "It felt like we had sort of seen her full time in accordance to what the real story was for the real Piper."

It makes sense that Piper's life on the outside will be a focus in Season 7, even though she's no longer incarcerated. That's because she's the center point around which the show pivots. Additionally, her marriage to Alex gave the show's writers something juicy to work with. "As we were thinking of Piper on the outside, having them be married creates a lot more stories for us and possible conflict," Hermann continued.

Piper out in the world? And Alex still on the inside? Season 7 is going to be wild!

Will Orange Is the New Black Season 7 give us justice for Taystee?

One of the biggest and most devastating story arcs from Season 6 centered on Taystee, a beloved character on Orange Is the New Black. At the end of Season 6, she was convicted of second-degree murder, after being charged with killing corrections officer Desi Piscatella. This was in spite of having the support of Black Lives Matter and the ACLU — and despite the fact that she's innocent. Talk about heartbreaking!

As sad as the whole situation is, executive producer Tara Herrmann and the other forces behind the show wanted to shed light on the reality that many incarcerated women of color face. "We're craving old Taystee but the reality is that this is what happens," she explained in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "It's out of their control; it's out of her control."

Hopefully, the writers will have mercy on Taystee in Season 7. "She's such a light — the character and the actress — so we always hope to show light and darkness," Herrmann continued. "I'm confident that we'll get to that place again, but for now, this is the reality that she's living in. Just awful."

Blanca's arc continues in Orange Is the New Black Season 7

Another heartbreaking and especially timely arc in Season 6 was Blanca's plight. For a moment, she had a glimmer of hope that she, like Piper, would also be released early. But that all came crashing down when Blanca realized she was instead being transferred to an immigrant detention center. And although Season 6 was released one day after the Trump administration announced its "zero tolerance" policy, the material had been written long before.

Brian Chamberlayne, who wrote the season finale, opened up about the process in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "[Creator Jenji Kohan] came in at the beginning of season six stating that one of the clear things she wanted to do was address immigration detention centers — that's something she was adamant about," he revealed. "We had spoken to some immigration attorneys and the way that Blanca's story has worked out, it was a perfect opportunity to start to tell that story." Fingers crossed that Blanca is able to escape deportation because we're just not sure we could handle it if she doesn't!

Will there be redemption for Daya in Orange Is the New Black Season 7?

It was evident early on that Daya was a breakout character on Orange Is the New Black. Unfortunately, things haven't been going well for her for a variety of reasons. For one, she's become a heroin addict, something that's all too common in America as the opiate epidemic continues to ravage communities. On top of that, Daya is facing a life sentence for a murder she didn't actually commit, she has a strained relationship with her mother, and she gave up her daughter. In a nutshell, things aren't going very well for her.

In spite of that, Dascha Polanco, the actress who plays Daya, has hope for her character. "I believe in Daya. I want to say that I believe that she has a chance and I am so hopeful for her," she revealed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "But I don't believe in the system — I know that she is set up to fail."

The only hope for Daya, Polanco added, is that the truth will be revealed, and it, in turn, will set her free. In Season 7, we'll finally find out her fate.

Crazy Eyes is the key to Orange Is the New Black characters' fates

Orange Is the New Black wouldn't be what it is today without the incredible talent of Emmy Award-winning actress Uzo Aduba. She manages to deliver performance after performance as Crazy Eyes that's equal parts comic, tragic, and oh so weird, and the show is all the better for it. 

Crazy Eyes started Season 6 in a rough place, as she continued to suffer from delusions after being denied her medication — something that Aduba believes could happen in real life. "A prison is not equipped in most cases, in my opinion, to deal with mental health issues with any sort of specificity or full range of experience," she told The Hollywood Reporter.

But it's Crazy Eyes who could bring redemption to both Daya and Taystee, as she heard fellow inmate Kukudio confess to Humphrey's murder, and she knows the police blamed Piscatella's death on an inmate in a cover-up. But will she come forward in Season 7 to clear their names? And, if she does, will anyone believe her? What will happen between Taystee and Cindy if she is, in fact, believed? We'll just have to wait and see.

Will we see these faces on Orange Is the New Black again?

Seven seasons of a show is a good run by any metric. And with an ensemble cast like the one Orange Is the New Black has, there have been a lot of characters introduced over the seasons, to the extent that it would be tough to bring everyone together in a single scene. And to that end, the fate of some of the inmates on the show is unknown, as we don't know what happened to them in the aftermath of the Season 5 riot.

For example, where are Maritza Ramos (Diane Guerrero), Brook Soso (Kimiko Glenn), and Yoga Jones (Constance Shulman)? We have some burning questions, Netflix!

While a few of the missing faces pop up in the Season 7 trailer, it's unclear if all of the missing inmates will return to OITNB again. "It has to be organic for us," executive producer Tara Herrmann confessed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "We never want to suddenly be in a world that we haven't set up. But we love those characters and miss them as storytellers for sure, so we hope to always see them." Fingers crossed.

Predictions about Orange Is the New Black Season 7

Until Orange Is the New Black Season 7 is released at the end of July 2019, all we can do is speculate as to what's going to happen. That's already been happening on a Reddit thread, where fans are sharing their predictions, speculations, and hopes. And, of course, everyone wants justice for Taystee.

One common sentiment is that Lorna is going to lose her baby. "I will be very shocked if the baby survives considering the fact that she's lost so much blood," wrote one Redditor. "Losing the baby will likely snap her psyche," said another. Indeed, it wasn't looking good for Lorna at the end of Season 6, which doesn't bode well, for sure.

Other commenters worry about Alex's safety. "I'm worried for Alex. Piper's whole 'promise me you'll get out of here' thing sounded like extreme foreshadowing," a Redditor wrote. But another one predicts that Alex will become "top dog," so who knows? Only time will tell.

Could Orange Is the New Black return again someday?

It remains to be seen if everything will be wrapped up in a bow by the end of Orange Is the New Black Season 7. Of course, you would hope so, but, if that doesn't happen, it certainly wouldn't be the first time a show left some loose ends.

As for the future of OITNB, does this really have to be the end? Actress Danielle Brooks, who plays Taystee, thinks there could be another option. "I think it could go a long way," she shared in an interview with Digital Spy. "But you never know. With Netflix, the model has always been different from the norm. They could take a break for five years and come back. You never know what the plans are." So maybe there will be a revival somewhere down the road?

Additionally, some shows have been rescued by other networks after Netflix canceled them, such as One Day at a Time, which was picked up by Pop TV, according to NPR. So maybe we'll get to return to Litchfield again someday. After all, if there's one thing we've got, it's time.