'Orange Is the New Black' Is Losing Alex? Say It Ain't So!

OMG 4

Orange Is the New BlackYou've been watching Orange Is the New Black, right? As in the original Netflix comedy-drama series loosely based on a memoir by Piper Kerman, which tells the story of a Piper Chapman, a self-described WASP who's sent to federal prison after being convicted of being a drug mule for her former lesbian lover? As in the critically acclaimed show that's been racking up great reviews for its sharp writing, amazing supporting cast, and gratifyingly multi-faceted approach to unraveling archetypes?

I absolutely loved the first season of Orange Is the New Black and can't wait to see what happens in season 2, which is why I'm kind of blown away to hear that one of the main cast members -- Laura Prepon, who plays Alex Vause, Piper's ex-girlfriend -- is leaving the show. I mean, seriously. WHY WOULD ANYONE LEAVE THIS SHOW?

Let me start by acknowledging that this news hasn't fully crossed from rumor to confirmation territory yet ... but it's being reported all over the place, so I'm thinking we can't file it under complete bullshit. We do know for sure that Prepon has not signed on as a series regular for season two of Orange Is the New Black, and more specifically, Buzzfeed reports that she's only going to appear in a limited role for a handful of episodes before wrapping up her storyline altogether.

Word on the street is that the door will be left open for Prepon to return in the future, but she hasn't signed a contract tying her to the show. According to Buzzfeed, Prepon's agent says he can't discuss the show, and her publicist didn't respond to a request for comment.

When pressed for a response on Prepon's rumored exit, Netflix would only say,

Our season is still developing and nothing is confirmed.

Honestly, I'm sort of at a loss for why Laura Prepon would step away from this project, assuming it's true (and assuming it was her choice, rather than the decision of executive producer Jenji Kohan). It took me a while to warm up to her character, but now I really like her, and I think she's given an excellent performance on the series so far. It really seems like this is the sort of high-profile role she'd be thrilled to have, particularly since prior to OITNB she was best known for playing Donna on That '70s Show.

Alex isn't necessarily mission-critical to the story, and I can easily see them addressing her absence by moving her to a different facility, but her relationship with Piper has been one of the central points of the series. The good news is there are plenty of wonderful existing characters to explore (more Crazy Eyes, please!), and I'm sure new faces will arrive as prior inmates are released. Still, what a bummer to completely set aside the fascinating on-again, off-again dynamic between Piper and Alex -- not to mention losing a character who's been extremely relevant to the story thus far.

What do you think about the possibility that Laura Prepon is leaving Orange Is the New Black?


Image via Netflix

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Angela Carnes Rua

I think most speculation for her taking a back role is because of the lesbian part of the character. She's a scientologist or former scientologist, no one really knows for sure if she's still active. And their views on homosexuality are very negative. Could be her own beliefs, or the church putting pressure on her.
For whatever reason, it's a horrible decision on her part.

nonmember avatar Sista

Hey, Linda. Great article. Love the show, even tho I'm only on episode 3 of season 1. I'm definitely not a fan of Alex at this point.

Your acronym should read OITNB. I believe you've got a couple of letters transposed.

Linda Sharps

D'oh! Thanks Sista, I've fixed it.

Nancy... NancyJ422

I'm not crazy about Alex in the first place - I don't know whether it's because I "see" her in her That 70s show role (and I barely watched that show) or just Laura Prepon herself in that role.


I'm not upset though about the character (Alex) being less of a main character because in the real story she didn't have that large a role at all - especially in the beginning of her prison term.  I know it's "based on actual facts" but I'm ok with Piper's other relationships within the prison.


I thought it was a great book and I might just read it again!

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