Orphan: First Kill: Plot, Cast, and Everything Else We Know

For fans of the iconic 2009 horror film Orphan, the wait is finally over. The prequel film Orphan: First Kill (originally titled Esther) is headed to theaters and streaming. It follows Leena Klammer (Isabelle Fuhrman) as she pretends to be a young girl named Esther to escape Estonia. However, the mother she is “reunited” with catches on that something isn’t quite right. Audiences will see what started it all.

William Brent Bell (The Boy, The Devil Inside) directs the film, while the screenplay was written by David Coggeshall. Coggeshall’s work is based on a story by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and the writer of the original film Alex Mace. It was confirmed in September 2021 that Paramount had snagged the distribution rights. Since then, viewers have been waiting with bated breath for the release date.

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Details have steadily been released, from the first image to behind-the-scenes photos of the characters in costume. With the release information finally at our fingertips, here is everything to know about Orphan: First Kill.

Orphan: First Kill: The Plot

Paramount Pictures

As fans return to the world of Leena Klammer, they’re introduced to how the woman with proportional dwarfism started her scams. Tricia and Allen Albright (Julia Stiles, Rossif Sutherland) are met by a law enforcement official (Hiro Kanagawa), letting them know their missing daughter was found. At this point, their daughter Esther has been missing for four years. As they are reunited with her, things seem to be going well. The family has arranged for their daughter to speak with a child therapist to work through her trauma, though it isn’t clear what that trauma is.

What do they think happened to Esther when she disappeared? Is there some outlandish tale about how she was kidnaped and got away? Whatever story Leena is peddling to them is probably as far from the truth as it gets.

As the story progresses, there are several clues that Esther isn’t who she seems. Tricia and Donovan, the official that reunited the family, both catch on that something isn’t right. But can they figure out what happened to the real Esther and what to do with the imposter before it’s too late? Will the Albrights suffer the same fate as the Colemans? Or do they become the reason Esther seems to always make sure she’s the lone survivor?

It seems that even though her “mother” figures out Esther isn’t who she says she is, she and the audience likely never find out what happened to her real daughter. Based on the trailer, it isn’t for lack of effort on Donovan’s part, as he seems concerned both with where the real Esther is and who the fake Esther actually is. While it isn’t necessarily important to the plot, closure is never a bad thing, especially considering what the Albrights are about to go through.

Orphan: First Kill: The Cast

Paramount Pictures

Isabelle Fuhrman is reprising her role as Leena Klammer, moonlighting as Esther. Since she was in the original film, Fuhrman was a tribute in The Hunger Games, had a recurring role in Masters of Sex, and stayed close to her roots in the thriller The Novice. Joining her as the first family she terrorizes is Julia Stiles (The Jason Bourne franchise, Hustlers) as Tricia Albright and Rossif Sutherland (Reign, ER) as Allen Albright. Matthew Finlan (My Fake Boyfriend) is Gunnar Albright. Kennedy Irwin is young Esther and Fuhrman’s body double.

Other additions to the cast include Hiro Kanagawa (iZombie, Altered Carbon) as Donnan, the law enforcement employee that reconnects “Esther” with her family but seems suspicious of who she actually is, Morgan Giraudet as James Klammer, Jade Michael as Madison, Samantha Walkes (Murdoch Mysteries) as Dr. Segar, Kristen Sawatzky as Federica, Andrea del Campo as Betsy, Alicia Johnston as Karen, Sarah Luby as Claire, Lauren Cochrane as Officer Leahy, and Bradley Sawatzky​​​​​​​ as Officer Kusnetsov​​​​​​​.

Release Date

Orphan: First Kill will be available in theaters, for digital purchase, and to stream on Paramount+ starting August 19, 2022.

Everything Else We Know

Paramount Pictures

One concern among fans is how they planned to de-age Fuhrman after it was confirmed the actress would return to the role. While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, she confirmed they did not use CGI to do it. Fuhrman even admits they didn’t “use any crazy makeup tricks” to make it happen. Instead, old-school techniques like lighting, angles, and a well-placed body double give the illusion that the now-25-year-old Fuhrman looks nine years old. However, it is clear the actress has aged, which is okay, considering the audience is in on her secret for this installment.

The film’s plot is reminiscent of the story of Frédéric Bourdin, a French man who pretended to be a missing thirteen-year-old from San Antonio. His family, thrilled that their son had been found, disregarded the different eye color and accent their child now had. Like Leena, Bourdin pretended to be a child, tricking orphanages and hospitals. Eventually, Bourdin was found out, which could hint at how Orphan: First Kill ends.

While waiting for the film’s release, avoiding black lights may be a good idea. You never know what they could reveal.