'Orange Is The New Black' Leak: Will Netflix Release 'OITNB' Season 5 Early?

The leak of the upcoming Orange Is The New Black Season 5 has many questioning whether Netflix will push forward the release date in an attempt to cut their losses and appease fans. An organization of hackers going by the Twitter handle "thedarkoverlord" came to light early Saturday when they announced they had leaked the first episode of the upcoming season, and were ready to leak the remaining episodes pending an undisclosed payment from Netflix.

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The cast of "Orange is the New Black" at a Television Academy Screening at the Director’s Guild of America in Hollywood, CA. [Image by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Netflix/AP Images]

Posting updates to the group's Twitter account, the hackers announced that they would be releasing the remainder of the first 10 episodes of the 13-episode season.

"We're back again. Did you miss us? Of course, you did. We've decided to release Episodes 2-10 of 'Orange Is The New Black' Season 5. Perhaps Netflix will consider releasing the season earlier now that the cat's out of the bag?"

It appears that failure by the network to engage with the hackers resulted in the second leak, if the hacker's statement is to be believed.

"Netflix clearly received our message considering they've made public statements and was [sic] one of the first people to download a fresh copy of their own property -- yet they continue to remain unresponsive. With this information in mind (and the fact that leaving people on cliffhangers isn't fun) we've decided to release Episodes 2-10 of 'Orange Is The New Black.'"

For their part, after releasing a brief initial statement on Friday night, Netflix has remained silent on the matter.

"We are aware of the situation. A production vendor used by several major TV studios had its security compromised and the appropriate law enforcement authorities are involved."

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Taylor Schilling and Laura Prepon attend the Season 2 premiere of Netflix's "Orange Is The New Black" at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York. [Image by Scott Roth/Invision/AP Images]

Meanwhile, the hackers have continued to heckle the network publicly.

"It didn't have to be this way, Netflix. You're going to lose a lot more money in all of this than what our modest offer was. We're quite ashamed to breathe the same air as you. We figured a pragmatic business such as yourselves would see and understand the benefits of cooperating with a reasonable and merciful entity like ourselves."

It was earlier reported that the hack is thought to be caused by a breach at Larson Studios – a third party post production studio used by Netflix and many other networks – that occurred in late 2016. It is believed that while Larson Studios originally agreed to pay ransom for the leaked material, they failed to come through with the cash.

Netflix executives have stated in the past that OITNB continues to be its most watched original series, and is a veritable cash cow for the network who are aiming to add an extra 3.2 million subscribers between April and June this year. This is a significant increase on the 1.8 million jump in subscribers the network has seen over the past five years. While it remains to be seen what impact the leak will have on the network's subscriber numbers, historically, any dip in these numbers has resulted in a drop in the company's share price.

While it remains unclear whether this was a simple shakedown or if the motivation behind the hack was something more sinister, the reference made to "cliffhangers" suggest the hackers are familiar with the series. Writer Jenji Kohan is notorious for finishing each season on a dramatic note, with many story lines up in the air. It was no surprise that the show was renewed for a fifth season. Cleverly tied in with topical real life issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement, the Season 4 finale saw the death of popular Litchfield inmate Poussey Washington, played by Samira Wiley, while leaving viewers with the image of Daya (Dascha Polanco) holding a prison guard at gunpoint, wondering whether she will pull the trigger.

Currently, Orange Is The New Black Season 5 is scheduled for release Friday, June 9, 2017.

[Featured Image by Eric Chabonneau/ AP Images]