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Why Renée From The Order Looks So Familiar

If you're a fan of high-concept horror with more than a few spoonfuls of contemporary fantasy thrown in, then you're probably watching the Netflix original series The Order. The show's second season dropped on June 18 and picks up after the amnesia-fueled chaos of the first season's wild finale. Just like the its predecessor, it's packed full of innovative werewolf lore, arcane magic, and even more secrets of the Hermetic Order of the Blue Rose.

If you've been catching up on the show's first season before jumping into the newest installment, there's a chance a prominent guest star caught your eye. In the season 1 episodes "Homecoming Parts One & Two," viewers met necromancer Renée Marand and her twin sister. The two were once members of the Order before being banished for a series of nefarious deeds. After their return, they wreak havoc on the Order before being defeated at the end of the second part of the episode.

Both women are played by Canadian actress Jewel Staite. Even if that name doesn't ring any bells, if you're tuned in to the world of sci-fi and fantasy TV, there's a good chance you've encountered her before. Here are just a few of her best-known roles.

Jewel Staite had a breakout role on Firefly

Although Firefly was far from Staite's first TV gig, it is arguably the one for which she's best known. She was cast as Kaylee Frye, the mechanic on the Serenity who was known both for her bubbly personality and her ability to fix just about any problem on the ship. After Firefly was canceled after just one season, she went on to reprise the role in the follow-up film, Serenity.

Kaylee's complex characterization defied stereotypes, and made her a favorite among fans of the cult-classic series. In an interview with Radio Free Entertainment, Staite identified what was at the heart of Kaylee's character, saying, "She's pretty sweet! And it's very genuine. That's what I love the most about her, is that she's completely genuine in that sweetness ... She has no secret agenda."

Part of the genuineness that Staite identified is Kaylee's carefree sexuality. When asked by Radio Free Entertainment about a now-infamous scene from Serenity in which Kaylee complains about the sexual dry spell she's experiencing, Staite saids "I love that she's a little crass. I love that she's not the classiest girl in the world. I love that she loves sex even though she's this doe-eyed, innocent sweetie."

Despite its short-lived nature, Firefly was a bonafide phenomenon, and it marked Staite as an in-demand actress in the genre. When the show ended, she found herself on another hugely influential 2000s sci-fi series.

Jewel Staite pulled double duty on Stargate: Atlantis

Most fans of Stargate: Atlantis will likely remember Staite for playing Dr. Jennifer Keller on the show's fourth and fifth seasons. Actually, however, she had previously made an appearance on the show as a completely different character. In the season 2 episode "Instinct," Staite played Ellia, a vampiric wraith who wants to suppress her instincts to feed on humans. The physical appearance of the wraith species was quite stylized, which meant Staite was almost unrecognizable in the role due to prosthetics.

This probably made the decision to cast her in a completely different role a few seasons later even easier. In the finale of the show's third season, Staite returned, this time as Dr. Keller, who became Chief Medical Officer on the Atlantis. Staite described Dr. Keller, much like Kaylee from Firefly, as a character of complex traits. "She has this apprehensive side to her...She's not a very violent person; she scares easily," Staite said. "But she's also courageous when she really needs to be. She's also a bit of a romantic, and has a funny, quirky side to her as well" (via Gateworld).

Staite was nominated for a Gemini Award (the Canadian version of the Emmys) for her performance on Atlantis.

Jewel Staite locked up Santa Claus on The Magicians

Netflix's The Order isn't the only contemporary fantasy series about secret societies on which Staite has guest-starred. Beginning in the fourth season episode "The Bad News Bears," she made multiple appearances on SYFY's dearly departed Lev Grossman adaptation The Magicians.

Staite played Phyllis, who sits on the Governing Council of the Order of the Library of the Neitherlands. The library, which exists in a multidimensional nexus, is a pretty important spot in the lore of the show, as it contains all the known knowledge of the multiple universes that exist in the series. As a member of the council and a librarian, Phyllis has one of the most important jobs in the world of The Magicians.

Although she only made a few appearances on the series, Phyllis was a part of some important events. Most notably, Phyllis helped imprison Santa Claus (Tom Wright) in the Library after he sent elves to try and steal prohibited poisons. After his capture, Phyllis then witnessed him escape via his reindeer-drawn sleigh while she was having a smoke break. That sounds like just another day on the job when you work in an interdimensional library filled with all the knowledge of the multiverse!

Whether she's fixing ships in space or meddling in the work of secret magical orders, Jewel Staite has established herself as one of the sci-fi and fantasy world's go-to actors.