Alara Kitan was a Xelayan Lieutenant and former Chief of Security aboard the USS Orville. According to Admiral Halsey, she served with the Orville under the previous captain as Chief of Security prior to Ed Mercer assuming command.
Due to the high gravity of her homeworld, Xelaya, Alara possessed incredible strength and endurance, making her one of the most effective Security Officers aboard the ship. She won the Sapphire Star for bravery when she led the Orville in a bold rescue of Ed and First Officer Kelly Grayson from the Calivon.
Alara is portrayed by Halston Sage.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career under Captain Ed Mercer
- 3 Conquering Fears
- 4 Resignation
- 5 Alternate Timeline
- 6 Personal life
- 7 Personality
- 8 Production
- 9 Trivia
- 10 Appearances
- 11 Notes
- 12 References
I joined the Fleet because I never had a family and I wanted to belong to something larger than myself.— Alara Kitan
When Alara was less than eight months old, a fire broke out in the family home while Drenala slept and Ildis attended a symposium. Alara's wailing woke Drenala, saving them both. Alara was subconsciously petrified of large fires ever since.
Alara was below the average intelligence of Xelayans, a fact her father frequently reminded her of. Alara joined the Planetary Union instead of pursuing an academic degree. Her parents believed her decision to join the Union's military was because she was less intelligent than her peers. They were unsupportive of her career, and often tried to persuade her to return to Xelaya.
Career under Captain Ed Mercer
Alara met Captain Ed Mercer in September 2419 during introductions with the senior staff. She made it a point to tell Captain Mercer that even though she was the youngest department head on board, she took her job seriously and that he and the USS Orville could count on her.
Her first test came several days later in the Battle of Epsilon 2. She accompanied Ed, First Officer Kelly Grayson, and Doctor Claire Finn to the Epsilon Science Station on Epsilon 2. When the Krill raided the station to steal a quantum accelerator, a device capable of accelerating the rate of time within a quantum bubble, Alara used her superior strength to break open a sealed door and then leapt an incredible distance with the accelerator to the shuttle.
Rescue of Ed and Kelly from the Calivon
The Calivon used a buoy to trick Ed and Kelly Grayson into visiting a holographically generated version of the USS Blériot, which teleported them to a zoo on the Calivon homeworld. With Second Officer Bortus on leave to nest an egg, Alara was acting captain.
Alara initially tried to coax Bortus to assume command, but he was unmoved. After a shot of Xelayan tequila, she ordered Helmsman Gordon Malloy to retrieve the buoy by tractor beam (dismissing the caution of Isaac). Once the buoy neared the Orville's spatial tensor coils, it exploded, badly damaging the coils and Shuttle Bay and injuring several members of the crew.
Upset her first command decision led to casualties, Alara begged Doctor Claire Finn to relieve her of duty, but Claire refused, telling her to learn from her mistakes.
Isaac discovered the commanders were teleported to the Calivon. Alara begrudgingly obeyed Admiral Tucker instructions to return to Earth, but she grew distraught after the Bridge officers (especially Gordon) openly criticized her. In private, Claire told Alara that she must choose either to follow orders and live with the crew's resentment, or to disobey orders and risk ruining her career. In the Mess Hall, Gordon told Alara that, were Alara captive, Ed would have broken Union orders to rescue her. Emboldened, Alara ordered the ship fly to Calivon.
Alara and Isaac met the zoo's administrator. Though the Humans were their most popular exhibit, Alara traded Ed and Kelly in exchange for archives of 21st Century Earth reality television. Ed awarded Alara with the Sapphire Star; and Ed and Kelly played "office politics" to protect her from serious punishment.
The Orville encountered a massive bio-ship in November 2419. Alara joined an away team into the ship to discover an enormous interior ecosystem, so Ed split the team in two: Ed, Isaac, and Claire in one group and Kelly and Alara in the other.
Kelly and Alara were stopped by police of a theocratic dictatorship led by Hamelac. They shot Alara and left her for dead and kidnapped Kelly. Hamelac tortured and interrogated Kelly, believing her to be a Reformer, a member of secretive group of religious dissidents. Alara woke up and contacted Ed; and the other team located her. Claire used a Foreign Object Retractor to remove slugs from Alara's chest and a Dermoscanner to heal her.
Regrouped and recovered, the away team and the Reformers stormed Hamelac's headquarters and takes Kelly by force. As the Reformers had now taken over the ship from Hamelac's government, the Union rescued the population on the bio-ship and settled them on a planet.
Rescue of John LaMarr
Around late December 2419, Alara joined Kelly, Claire, and Navigator John LaMarr on a search for Union anthropologists Tom and Lewis, both of whom went missing during an undercover mission on Sargus 4. Alara wore a Nefolo to hide her Xelayan features. John grinded on a statue of Mella Giffendon, and a video was uploaded to the planet's Master Feed. The police arrested John for his offense and he was forced to undergo an apology tour. Kelly followed John through his tour, and she explained the repercussion of failing an apology tour - Social Correction - which terrified John.
Kelly, Claire, and Alara met Lysella, a native Sargun barista who witnessed Claire attempting to hide Alara's forehead ridges, and recruited her to find Lewis, who was socially corrected a month prior. (Tom was killed attempting to escape Social Correction.) Kelly and Alara brought Lyslla to the Orville and, along with Ed, Gordon, Second Officer Bortus, and Isaac, successfully manipulated the Master Feed to change the Sargun opinion of John. As John received too few downvotes for Social Correction, he was freed and returned to the ship.
Around January 2420, the Orville supervised research on an ancient birthing bucket discovered on the planet Lopovius. Ownership of the world was claimed by the Bruidian and Navarian species, resulting in a protracted and bloody conflict. As the birthing bucket contained genetic material of the first peoples of Lopovius, both sides agreed to honor the analysis of the Planetary Union as proof of one species' right to the planet.
Compounding the problem was that the Union forensic archaeologist joining the Orville was a Retepsian named Darulio who was currently producing pheromones that generated powerful amorous attraction in Claire toward Lieutenant Yaphit and in Ed and Kelly toward Darulio.
Alara recognized that the officers were compromised, unable to lead even as the Navarians and Bruidians threatened war, and forced Darulio to go to Sick Bay. Nurse Henry Park synthesized his pheromones which they planted on the Navarian and Bruidian ambassadors, lulling the two into a temporary romance. Both sides called off hostilities, and the officers recovered from the effects of Darulio's pheromones.
- Alara participated as Kelly's witness in Tribunal regarding Topa's sex. She demonstrated her sheer physical strength by deforming a cube of titanium.
- Kelly persuaded Alara to illegally search Pria Lavesque's quarters on the hunch that Pria was not a Vega Mining Consortium captain as she claimed. Ed was furious: sharply chastising Alara and placing a letter of reprimand on Kelly's file.
I was gonna grab the fallen bulkhead, but when the fire started, I just I froze. I have no idea why. I just I've never been so scared in my life.— Alara Kitan
A plasma storm struck the USS Orville in early 2420. In Engineering, a bulkhead fell on Lieutenant Harrison Payne. Chief Engineer Steve Newton summoned Alara to lift the debris, but a large fire momentarily paralyzed her with fear. She recomposed herself only to discover Harrison was dead.
Doctor Claire Finn determined Harrison had already died by blood loss by the time Alara arrived, but Alara was devastated she did not come sooner and requested to be relieved of duty. Captain Ed Mercer rejected her request. Drenala Kitan, Alara's mother, told her that her fear probably sprung from a house fire that occurred when she was less than eight months old.
Alara decided to test whether she was truly fit to serve as Chief of Security. She ordered Isaac to write an Environmental Simulator program where the Orville slowly succumbs to a variety of dangerous terrors: A killer clown, a fear of heights, a swarm of large tarantulas, homicidal Claire and Isaac, and, finally, escape from the Orville by flying a shuttle through an enormous blaze in the Shuttle Bay. Once written, Alara tricked Claire into wiping her memory then initiateed Directive 38, preventing any other officer from deactivating the simulation.
At great risk to her own life, Alara surmounted each fear and escaped, completing the program. Ed and the rest of the senior staff had observed her completing the program, powerless to stop it. Alara recovered in Sick Bay. Ed was irritated she so brashly abused Directive 38, but agreed to abstain from reprimanding her. Alara slept in peace that night, proud she overcame her fears and deserved to be Chief of Security.
Alara's strength slowly deteriorated under constant Earth-like gravity. By September 2420, her muscle mass had decreased by 20 percent and her bone density by five. "When I first got here, I could lift 100 kilos more," she told Captain Ed Mercer while lifting weights. After Alara broke her arm arm-wrestling Isaac, she returned to Xelaya to regain her strength.
Alara stayed with her family while the USS Orville remained in orbit for the next few days. She was very weak under Xelaya's gravity and forced to use a hovering chair. Old tensions about Alara's intelligence and career in the Planetary Union re-surfaced, so the family visited their island beach house to bond.
Floratta and Cambis Borrin tracked the Kitans to their beach house and posed as neighbors whose house was recently burgled. The Borrins sought revenge for the loss of their son Galdus Harona, a professor who committed suicide after Ildis showed his research linking Mellara vaccine to Torin's syndrome was deeply flawed.
That night, the Borrins held the Kitans at gunpoint, forcing Ildis to recant his work and apologize for Galdus' death. They were interrupted when Ed arrived by shuttle. With Cambis distracted, Alara wrested Floratta's PM-32 free and killed her. Cambis pursued Alara upstairs, but she shot and killed him from the bathroom.
Days later, Chief Engineer John LaMarr told Alara that he developed gravity treatments that would have allowed her to recover while staying aboard the Orville. However, Alara decided to remain on Xelaya to mend her relationship with her family, and she retired from the Union. She told Ed:
- Sir, I joined the fleet because I never really had a family. And I wanted to belong to something larger than myself. Captain, the Orville has been so much more than I ever could've wished for. It was warm. It was welcoming. I was needed. You were my family. You and this entire crew, but I found something on Xelaya. Something I'd only ever seen from afar. I always thought it was just for other people, but not for me. And now I have a chance to experience it for myself. I've already missed out on so much time. I don't want to miss out anymore.
In an alternate timeline where Kelly Grayson refused a second date with Ed, Alara served aboard the Orville as its Chief Security Officer under Captain Griffith. She developed a romantic interest in John around September 2419. By September 2420, she decided to leave Xelaya due to her accelerating weakness. Unlike Ed who maintained that Alara became Chief of Security due to a variety of qualifications, Griffith was "pretty clear that the only reason [she] had this job was because [she] was Xelayan." Before she departed, she shared a passionate kiss with John. It is implied that Alara had a brief relationship with John.
When the Kaylon downed the Orville in the Battle of Earth, Alara fled by escape pod. She joined with other surviving Union officers to form the Resistance, becoming a local leader of a Resistance base.
Kelly and her crew visited the base around October 2421 to secure beta-secretase. The Kaylon attacked soon after. Alara rejected John's offer to leave with them, choosing instead to fight Battle of the Resistance. She and her Resistance members are presumed killed in the ensuing skirmish.
For most of her life, Alara had a strained and difficult relationship with her family, who believed that joining the Planetary Union was out of desperation. "If you hadn't been slower than the other children, you wouldn't have felt trapped into joining the Fleet," her father Ildis Kitan told her.
While she served aboard the Orville, Alara sporadically kept in touch with her sister Solana, sharing stories of her travels. Alara became visibly jealous when her parents said they love to brag about Solana's PhD.
When Alara returned to Xelaya, Ildis encouraged her to obtain an academic degree, even going to so far as to speak to fellow professors at his university on her behalf. After Alara protected her family from Cambis and Floratta Borrin in September 2420, her parents recognized the value of their daughter and her decision to join the military. "I don't know you," Ildis confessed. "I never did." Alara answered, "I wanted you to know me, Dad. All I ever wanted was for you to be proud of me." Alara resigned from the Union and stayed with her family.
Alara dated at least three men while aboard the Orville.
Alara dated Josh until November 2419. While initially "really into him," she lost interest after realizing he had "a massive hang-up" that she could "beat the crap out of him with one finger." She debatably showed interest in Ed soon after leaving Josh (see footnote), though Kelly seems to have dissuaded her.[n 1]
She briefly dated Andy in December 2419, whom she dumped "mostly" because he was insecure about her abilities but also because he danced "too grindy." (Note that in December 2419, Navigator John LaMarr stated that Alara broke up with two men in two months, one of whom being Andy. By comparing timelines, the other man was almost certainly Josh.)
Second Officer Bortus set Alara up with a blind date in August 2420. When she discovered the mystery date to be Lieutenant Dann, Alara originally tried to politely cancel but changed her mind when she realized that both of them struggled to find love. The met at Mooska's for dinner. Dann read a romantic poem and insisted upon criticism, but was crushed by her feedback. She excused herself to the bathroom and even then Dann sent her a comscanner message stating, "I miss you." Evidently, their relationship did not continue.
Relationship with the crew
Alara seems to have had a close bond with First Officer Kelly Grayson. Kelly taught Alara to box in the Environmental Simulator, Kelly spoke frankly to Alara of her marriage and affair, and it was Alara who convinced Kelly to date Cassius. Alara even agreed to conduct a "radiation check" as an excuse for them to search quarters of Pria Lavesque, despite lacking a valid cause. Pria caught both women in the act, and Alara took responsibility on Kelly's behalf.
Alara looked to Captain Ed Mercer as a man who valued her abilities: "[Ed] doesn't even seem to care, you know? I mean, whenever I open a hatchway or lift something heavy, he just gives me this gratified look like I just cleaned up his dog's puke."
When speaking to her father, Alara later said that Ed and Kelly were two people who believed in and supported her career decision when her family doubted her.[n 2]
During her time aboard the USS Orville under Captain Ed Mercer, Alara was deeply insecure about her ability to lead as Chief of Security. She was acutely aware that she was promoted to department head of Security because she is Xelayan; she believed her anxiety, such as her fear of fire, would jeopardize lives; and she linked her physical strength to competency so that, as her strength declined, she worried other officers would resent or disrespect her (which ultimately spurred her to return to Xelaya).
Alara surmounted each insecurity by challenging herself. She gained confidence in her ability to lead when, as acting captain, she rescued Ed and First Officer Kelly Grayson from the Calivon; she conquered her anxiety by risking her own life in an Environmental Simulator program designed to exploit her deepest fears; and she learned that, despite being far weaker than other Xelayans, she could still protect others when she protected her family from Cambis and Floratta Borrin.
Alara, in the pilot, was meant to appear very alien with a large forehead, no eyebrows, and more obvious nose ridges. Seth MacFarlane gave very detailed sketches to the art department of the show for how he wanted Alara to look, even showing fine details to the shape of her earlobes. After filming the pilot, MacFarlane and Howard Berger, then the make-up department head, agreed that her alien look should be toned down in future episodes to "add a sense of humanity" to the character. Actress Halston Sage was given a smaller prosthetic forehead, redone make-up, and her eyebrows were restored.
Berger was frustrated because he had sunk so much time into designing Alara's original appearance, but came to love the new design. Even then, gluing her wig, applying prosthetics, and adding make-up took a surprising three-four hours to each day. Sage admits she wishes she could have walked into Starbucks in costume to see people's reactions.
Adding eyebrows to Alara created a thorny continuity problem for the show's creative team: it was too expensive to re-shoot scenes in her updated costume, and digitally adding eyebrows looks unrealistic. Howard Berger, the make-up department head in Season 1, recalls that some crew members even floated the idea to retcon the problem by having Alara turn 24 in the second episode and someone saying that Xelayans grow eyebrows on their 24th birthday. With no feasible alternatives, Berger concluded that no one would notice the error. The change in Alara's appearance is never referenced on screen, although reshoots did not occur; a number of publicity images depicting scenes from Old Wounds show Sage in her updated makeup.[n 3]
Supervising producer and science consultant André Bormanis proposed to the writing team that Alara's private quarters on the Orville hosts a special device that simulates the high gravity of her planet to prevent her muscles from atrophying, and the gravity device is a reason she has trouble dating men. At the close of Season 1, it was uncertain even to Bormanis whether the idea has been adopted by the other writers.
When asked at Paleyfest what direction Alara's story should take in Season 2, Halston agreed with sentiments that having her settle down with a stable romantic relationship would be interesting. She also added on her desire to see Alara develop from her experiences in Season 1 by gaining more confidence in herself and her position as Chief of Security.
Alara Kitan leaves the Orville for her home planet of Xelaya in Season 2's third episode, Home. Her departure was necessitated by the real-world departure of actress Halston Sage; who had left the series for unknown reasons. Although the possibility was left open for the character to return, it is uncertain whether she will. Two episodes later, Talla Keyali replaced Alara as Chief of Security. Alara would return in a brief cameo in the second season finale The Road Not Taken.
- Alara is one of the few non-Human characters in The Orville to have an established surname.
- Whenever Alara was called upon to use her strength to open something heavy, Ed asks, "Alara, you wanna open this jar of pickles for me?" He made the joke in Old Wounds and If the Stars Should Appear, but it disappeared after the first few episodes. The joke resurfaced in Home when Alara's goodbye present to Ed is an unopened jar of pickles.
- Alara is unfamiliar with the 21st Century science-fiction franchise Star Wars on Earth as she was confused when Claire Finn volunteered to be her "Obi-Wan."
- As of Season 2, Alara was one of only two characters whose exact age is known, the other being the physicist Janice Lee.
- The Sapphire Star Alara earned in Command Performance can be seen on display in her office during Pria.
- It was Alara who suggested to Kelly that she ask out Cassius, the classroom teacher.
- Alara arm-wrestled Isaac 31 times.
- There are hints in the episode Home that Alara might have resented her Xelayan body, or at least wanted to be Human: She called her father's Xelayan ears 'stupid,' and that night, she dreamt of riding an eevek as a Human.
- Cherry Chevapravatdumrong, who wrote the script for that episode, directed that Alara ride an eevek without her Xelayan features.
- According to Jon Cassar, director of the episode, "That was in the script. Some people online thought maybe it was a mistake and we forgot to put makeup on her. ... Maybe that was her hidden secret that she wanted to be Human. ... It put a little question mark on it, and I thought it was great."
- At least one person has been named Alara after Alara Kitan, a girl born June 27, 2020.
- Alara: "A lot of guys are weird about it, yeah? ...But then there's the captain, and he doesn't even seem to care, you know? I mean, whenever I open a hatchway or lift something heavy, he just gives me this gratified look like I just cleaned up his dog's puke." Episode 1x04: If the Stars Should Appear
- Alara: "All I ever needed to hear from you was, 'You can do it.' That's all. Just once. And-and maybe it would've beena lie, but I needed that, Dad. I really needed it. And do you know who said it to me instead? Captain Mercer, Commander Grayson and everyone on the Orville, but not my own father." Episode 2x03: Home
- There is precedent in Star Trek for "evolving" makeup: Spock's makeup also underwent significant changes between the two pilot episodes and the regular series.
- Episode 1x01: Old Wounds
- Episode 1x01: Old Wounds
- Episode 1x02: Command Performance
- Episode 2x03: Home
- Episode 1x10: Firestorm
- Episode 1x02: Command Performance
- Ed Mercer. Episode 1x02: Command Performance
- Kelly Grayson. Episode 1x02: Command Performance
- Episode 1x03: About a Girl
- Episode 1x05: Pria
- Alara Kitan. Digressions, Pt. 1
- Digressions, Pt. 1
- Episode 2x14: The Road Not Taken
- Episode 1x04: If the Stars Should Appear
- Episode 1x07: Majority Rule
- Episode 2x01: Ja'loja
- Episode 1.5x01: New Beginnings, Pt. 1
- Episode 1x05: Pria
- Episode 1x02: Command Performance
- Berger, Howard & Maxine Morris. "Space and Beyond". The Artisan. 2018.
- ""Orville" Comic Con 2017 panel-like interview". Sromba. July 23, 2018.
- "Halston Sage Talks THE ORVILLE Season 1, Alara's Makeup & More | Interview". Shine on Media. Sept. 21, 2017.
- "PLANETARY UNION NETWORK: EPISODE 20". Planetary Union Network. June 17, 2018.
- "The Orville Fan Podcast “THINK”sgiving Episode w/ André Bormanis". Planetary Union Network. Nov. 21, 2017.
- Is ‘Alara’ Halston Sage Leaving Orville Season 2?
- Episode 2x05: All the World is Birthday Cake
- Episode 1.5x01: New Beginnings, Pt. 1
- Gordon Malloy: "Alara's won 16; Isaac's at 14." Episode 2x03: Home
- "PLANETARY UNION NETWORK: EPISODE 26". Planetary Union Network. Jan. 13, 2019.
- /u/packguy88. "My daughter was born this morning, baby Alara is here!". Reddit. June 27, 2020.