Orphan Black returns in a little more than a month, and two sets of clones are about to collide.
When last we saw the clone “sestras” of Project Leda – Sarah, Alison, Cosima and Helena (all played by Tatiana Maslany) – they were finally united … or so they thought.
Indeed, with the abduction of wild card Helena at the hands of the new, male clones of Project Castor, the women are about to find themselves – as a season 3 promo ominously previewed – in the throes of war, and PEOPLE can exclusively debut two new First Look portraits that reveal both clone factions as they prepare for battle.
According to co-creator Graeme Manson, the fallout of season 2’s finale “poses a really interesting question [for the women] right off the top of season 3, which is: We just drew Helena into our fold and defeated Rachel at the end of last year. … Is she worth saving?”
Of Helena, Manson told PEOPLE, “There’s no doubt she’s the psycho sister. She’s a handful, probably not to be trusted.”
Now that she’s missing, Leda leader Sarah and ailing geneticist Cosima must decide whether to ignore those red flags while weighing out that reality that “If we’re going to save Helena, we have to go up against the Castor Project.”
As for the diabolical Dyad operative, Rachel (also played by Maslany) – whose left eye was gouged with a pencil in the season 2 finale – Manson will only tease cryptically, “I would hesitate to say our Rachel is down and out.”
As for the new clones, Manson promises, “This journey of discovering who Castor is, what they’re up to and how they apply to us is really a season-long trip that we’re taking.”
He resists comparing them to Project Leda. “They’re definitely their own little family,” he says, adding with a laugh, “Every family has its quirks, and these ones are not pleasant.”
Other than Mark – who fled to elope with Gracie (Zoé de Grand’Maison), a member of the Prolethean cult on which he was spying – we’ve gotten the clearest picture of “Scarface” Rudy, whom Manson describes as “really an alpha and a proper psycho.”
We also caught a glimpse of military man Miller in the season 2 finale, but the season 3 premiere will offer more details on the final brother Seth, who sports a mustache and whom Manson places “a little below Rudy in the pecking order.”
More important, though, Manson urges Clone Clubbers to pay close attention to how the male clones play off one another as season 3 progresses.
Unlike the ladies, who didn’t discover one another until adulthood, the men of Castor “were raised like a little wolf pack in a military-type setting,” he says. “They’re self-aware and aware of each other and aware that they’re multiples and different and special and that they have their own purpose. … The differences in how they relate to each other is one of the coolest things about it.”
As the clash of the clones escalates with each episode, Manson says, “One of the main themes of the year is, Are we stronger together? We’ve pushed them to that point in the first episode. Crisis abounds in the premiere, and that question is definitely at the fore.”
He adds, “Those questions of ‘How far will you go to protect the ones you love?’ are big questions for us this season.”
Orphan Black will premiere April 18 on BBC America.