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Orphan: First Kill’ Ending Explained: The ‘Orphan’ Prequel Comes with a Morbid Twist

Back in 2009, movie audiences were introduced to a creepy little girl named Esther in the horror movie Orphan. Now, 12 years later, we’ll finally learn about Esther’s backstory in Orphan: First Kill, a prequel that opened in theaters and began streaming on Paramount+ and digital today.

If you’ll remember the twist in the first Orphan film, Esther is actually not a little girl, but an adult woman with a rare disorder that prevents her body from physically aging. Perhaps that’s why, though it’s slightly absurd, the now 25-year-old actor Isabelle Fuhrman has reprised her role, with her head super-imposed onto a smaller body double.

But Orphan: First Kill has its own plot twist up its sleeve. If you were confused, or simply want to know what happens before you watch, read on to learn about the Orphan: First Kill summary and the Orphan: First Kill ending, explained.

Warning: Major Orphan: First Kill spoilers ahead. Obviously.

What is Orphan: First Kill about? Orphan: First Kill plot summary:

The year is 2007—two years before the events of Orphan— and a 31-year-old woman named Leena (Isabelle Fuhrman) is living in a psychiatric hospital. Leena has a rare hormone disorder that prevents her body from aging, so she looks like a little girl.

One day, Leena escapes the hospital, killing doctors, guards, and her new art therapist. She peruses a list of missing children and discovers a little girl named Esther, whom she resembles. Leena positions herself to be deliberately discovered by the authorities and tells the police her name is Esther.

We learn that the real Esther has been missing for four years. Her mom, Tricia (Julia Stiles) has given up on ever finding her and wants to focus on her remaining child, a fencing champion named Gunnar (Matthew Finlan). But her father, Allen (Rossif Sutherland) has never given up on finding Esther. Both parents are overjoyed when the police tell them Esther has been discovered. The official story is that she was kidnapped and held prisoner in Russia until Esther was able to escape.

Allen is overjoyed to have his daughter back, but Tricia notices her daughter is being… weird. She has an accent, for one. She also seems to misremember a lot of things from her past. And she is freakishly good at painting now. Meanwhile, Esther (aka Leena) notices a strange man watching her—the police officer who helped the family when the real Esther went missing. It’s clear that the officer is on to Esther. He shows up at the house on a night when both parents are away, and Gunnar is throwing a party instead of babysitting his sister. The officer gathers proof, via fingerprints, that Esther is not who she says she is. But then Esther kills the officer in cold blood… with an assist from Tricia, who shows up and shoots the officer in the chest.

What is the Orphan: First Kill twist?

Surprise—Tricia knew that Esther wasn’t her daughter all along. As it turns out, the real Esther was accidentally killed by her brother when some sibling rough-housing went too far. Tricia was determined to help Gunnar avoid the consequences of his actions, so she helped him hide Esther’s body, and told the authorities her daughter was missing. Tricia never told Allen, so he believes his daughter really did go missing.

Tricia tells Esther that having his “daughter” back has made Allen happy again, and so she won’t let Esther leave. Tricia also knows that Esther has a secret crush on her husband. Mother and fake daughter start playing psychological games with each other.

ORPHAN: FIRST KILL, Isabelle Fuhrman,
Photo: ©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

What is the Orphan: First Kill ending explained?

Esther tries to kill both Tricia and Gunnar at a train station while saying goodbye to Allen, who is off on a business trip. Esther briefly manages to escape but is caught by the police. The police call both Tricia and Allen. Allen decides to come home, even though Tricia insists everything is fine.

Tricia decides enough is enough. She enlists Gunnar to help stage Esther’s suicide. But Esther escapes before they can kill her, and she kills Gunnar with his own fencing sword. In the chaotic fight between Esther and Tricia that follows, the house catches on fire. Esther and Tricia both end up dangling from the roof, clinging for their lives. Allen returns to the house, climbs onto the roof, and offers a hand to his wife and fake daughter to rescue them. While Tricia shouts to her husband that Esther is not who she says she is, Esther manages to grab his hand. Tricia falls to her death.

Allen hugs Esther but is disturbed when her fake teeth fall out, revealing the gross, yellowed teeth of a 31-year-old woman who has never been to the dentist. He demands to know who Esther is… so Esther pushes Allen off of the roof, too.

Of course, the authorities know none of this. All they see is a poor girl who was kidnapped and then lost her entire family in a fire. But they are certain someone will want to adopt this poor little orphan… thus setting up the premise of the 2009 movie, Orphan.

And there you have it! Now we all know the creepy origins of Esther.

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