**Spoilers for Orange Is the New Black season six**
Orange Is the New Black star Taylor Schilling’s time as Piper Chapman looks like it’s coming to an end. After THAT season six ending which (spoiler alert!) saw Piper walk out of Litchfield prison early, a seventh season is on its way – but could that be it for the show?
Netflix commissioned seasons five, six and seven ages ago, but executive producer Tara Hermann says it’s not yet been decided if OITNB will go on past that point.
And either way, it seems Schilling thinks Piper’s journey is almost over.
“Just me as an actor getting ready to say goodbye to a role that I’ve lived with for six years,” she told the Hollywood Reporter, “it’s very poignant.
“It’s a very poignant moment in time because we’re not done. I’m about to go back and shoot season seven. So it’s a very kind of surreal time. It’s as surreal as it was when the thing came out of the gate and was so powerful those first few seasons.
“It’s equally as surreal now to be ending it all.”
She added: “I’m prepared. The thing about acting, to me, is that everything is so fleeting. It all feels like being circus performers and setting up a tent and then tearing it down after a few shows. So it just feels like our run has been extra long.
“We’ve had a lucky run, but there’s always this part that’s sort of ready for the end. You go in and you begin it ready for the end. It’s a very bittersweet and also beautiful way to exist in the world. So the answer is, yeah. I think I’m ready. I have all the feelings. I’m very excited for what comes next.”
Season seven will follow Piper’s path after prison as she navigates the outside world – while less fortunate and privileged inmates remain behind bars.
Asked how she feels about Piper leaving prison, Schilling explained: “It certainly is an end of an era. Orange has been such a huge chapter in my life, personally and professionally. I’m so grateful to have been able to play this part of Piper.
“I’m excited to let Piper go and put her to rest beautifully, as I’m sure Jenji [Kohan, the creator] will do, and let her kind of live on in her own world, when that time comes.
“As her time at Litchfield is coming to an end, it’s just about reflecting upon how grateful I am to have participated in something that has brought so much visibility to the prison system in our country. How much needs to be fixed, how much is broken and how no one is immune from its reach, but there are certainly particular populations of people in this country that are being used and abused in ways that need a voice. So I’m really grateful that that’s an element of this show, because it feels like it’s given me a platform for my own activism.”
Orange is the New Black season six is available on Netflix now