One of "Orange Is the New Black's" biggest stars is getting out of prison.
Buzzfeed reports that Laura Prepon, who plays inmate Alex Vause on the Netflix series, will only return for a "limited number" of episodes in the show's upcoming second season. (The Hollywood Reporter has since confirmed the news.)
The second season, scheduled to launch next year, is currently in production in New York City, and Buzzfeed says that though Prepon is not under contract and will depart the show, the door is being left open for her to return.
But a Netflix rep tells Yahoo! TV the story is "not accurate. Our season is still developing and nothing is confirmed."
If "That '70s Show" alum Prepon is stepping out of the series on a temporary or permanent basis, it could be storyline-dictated. Her Alex is the former (and once-again) lover of Piper (Taylor Schilling), who's in prison because of a drug-related offense that happened a decade earlier when Alex and Piper were a couple.
The duo has since recoupled in prison, but the relationship hasn't been without its problems or critics. Prison official Healey (Michael J. Harney) has made no secret of the fact that he is no fan of lesbian relationships… maybe he'll have Alex transferred to another prison?
In a far less likely theory, AfterEllen.com posted a story that questions whether Prepon, a Scientologist, might be leaving the show because of Scientology's unfriendly attitudes about homosexuality.
But if she had a problem with the series content — which included love scenes between Alex and Piper in Season 1 — why would she have signed on for the "OITNB" role at all?
Meanwhile, with "Orange Is the New Black" returning with 13 new episodes for Season 2, other cast changes have been confirmed.
Uzo Aduba, who plays scene-stealing Suzanne, aka Crazy Eyes; Taryn Manning, who plays the insane Tiffany, aka Pennsyltucky; and Danielle Brooks, another scene stealer as Tasha (Taystee), were on recurring status for Season 1, but will all be promoted to series regulars in Season 2.
And more good news for fans: "Any Day Now" actress Lorraine Toussaint is joining the cast as Vee, a new inmate who ran her own drug business and used children to run her drugs.
Season 1 of "Orange Is the New Black" is streaming now on Netflix.
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