If you’ve been taken with Netflix’s new sci-fi drama The OA — co-created by and starring Brit Marling as a young blind woman who disappears and returns years later with her sight restored — you’re clearly not the only one. In the month since its release, fans and theorists alike have taken to Reddit to parse out the enigmatic series — down to the tiniest of details. And while it’s something Marling and co-creator Zal Batmanglij anticipated, Marling explained on this week’s episode of EW’s What to Watch podcast how the collaborators were still surprised by just how deep the digging went.
“Some of the research people do — it’s amazing. Someone found right away the one mine in North America that’s 8,000 feet deep, which is the location that we had been inspired by based on this Harper’s article,” she said of the location of her character’s captivity. “So that part of it is fantastic, the sort of forensic aspect of fandom. We did, in the beginning, in collaboration with Alex DiGerlando the production designer, who really is sort of the third Musketeer in terms of storytelling with Zal and I, we felt like, How do we make a show that can stand up to that kind of scrutiny? Because now you can stop and start, you can watch it three times, you can screengrab and share it and be on Reddit. So you have to have a narrative that’s robust enough to live up to that expectation. So we really tried to think about that and make sure every image and every frame was honest, and if we should get more than one season out, you could go back and watch the first season again and go, It was all there.”
Speaking of a second season, Marling and Batmanglij do have a road map, but whether they’ll get to take the journey is another question.
“The truth is, before Zal and I started doing this, we thought you could potentially get caught up in doing something like this for many years. So you better be sure all those years of your life are going to be interesting, so that’s why we spent a good year and a half upfront before we even wrote the first chapter, designing the labyrinth and making sure there was something at its center that would feel worthwhile to arrive at,” Marling said. “So there is a there there, but whether or not we’ll be able to get there is another question. But we always had an intention for where a second season would start and where it would end. it was important to know all those things upfront. So I guess we’ll just have to see if we get to tell it.”
Marling had much more to say about The OA, including how they cast Inside Out star Phyllis Smith, learning all the “movements,” and researching high school life (which might have been the scariest part of all!). Listen below to hear the full What to Watch podcast episode – and don’t forget to subscribe for the latest TV news and exclusives each week.