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Look, Admiral, ever since I was a kid, I have wanted to serve on an exploratory vessel. And for you to put me in the captain's chair... yes, I'm ready.— Ed Mercer to Admiral Halsey[1]
Ed Mercer is the Human Captain of the USS Orville. Since his days at Union Point, Mercer was respected as a gifted, young officer who seemed destined for admiralty. However, an affair between his wife, Kelly Grayson, and another man leaves him emotionally devastated and his performance suffered. A year later, Mercer is given command of the Orville based on Kelly's secret recommendation to Planetary Union Central.

From early into his career, Ed is involved in some of the Planetary Union's most important political and military missions: infiltrating and capturing the Yakar, leading the Orville in the Battle of Earth, and representing Earth at the Planetary Union Council's vote on the Moclan sanctuary.

Ed is portrayed by Seth MacFarlane.

Early lifeEdit

ORV101 PROMO STILLS 2017-05-10 003-2

Admiral Halsey promotes Ed to captain.

Ed Mercer was born to Bert and Jeannie Mercer in Boxford, Massachusetts on Earth sometime in the late 24th century.[2] As a child, he dreamed of commanding his own starship.[3]

Ed enrolled in the academy Union Point, where he became "drinking buddies" with Gordon Malloy.[3] One of his flight instructors was Marcos, the eventual captain of the USS Roosevelt during the Battle of Earth.[4] He got a 'B+' in Temporal Theory, later stating no student received an 'A' in the course. "It's time travel, no one really gets it."[5] Ed excelled academically and graduated top of his class,[3] and he enlisted in the Planetary Union's Fleet.

Ed began dating Kelly Grayson, an officer several years his junior, in 2413.[5] Ed and Kelly married in 2414 and rented an apartment in New York City, New York.[6]

The two were friends with another couple, Jeff and Maureen. (In fact, Ed and Kelly each hated them, but assumed the other like them.) When they invited Ed and Kelly to an opera, Kelly made Ed smoke marijuana beforehand, knowing he hates opera. Kelly mixed up joints and accidentally gave him her "weapons-grade weed." The marijuana took effect in the middle of the theater, and Ed grew intensely paranoid he would be paralyzed if he stayed in his seat for longer than two minutes. He jumped out of his seat and "bashed" Maureen's head, giving her a massive bruise on her face. Jeff and Maureen stopped hanging out with Ed and Kelly.[6]

Ed worked tirelessly to advance in rank and commuted to Epsilon Eridani every day, much to Kelly's dismay, who felt ignored.[7]

Ed and Kelly's marriage strained. Kelly later said that she tried on "numerous occasions" to talk to her husband, but Ed simply shut her out. Ed claimed she never showed appreciation for working for their future.

Around September 2418, Ed came home to find Kelly in bed with Retepsian archaeologist Darulio. Dumbstruck and at a loss for words, Ed left, refusing to listen to Kelly as she begged for a chance to explain.[3] The couple divorced, and Ed moved out of the apartment[6] to live with Gordon.[8]

Ed grew depressed following the affair. His work ethic collapsed, and he began self-medicating with alcohol.[3] He showed up late to work, his work became "sloppy," and was reported six times for working hungover.[9] Admiralty was going to consider Ed for command, until his recent unprofessionalism alarmed them.[10] In 2419, Kelly secretly recommended Ed to Admiral Halsey for command.[11]

Halsey promotes Ed to captain of a mid-level exploratory vessel as his "one last chance."[3] As the Orville's helmsman had departed with her previous captain, Ed quickly hires Gordon.[3]

Early career as captainEdit


Ed sits in his captain's chair for the first time.

I just want to say I am thrilled to be your new captain. I want this to be an efficient ship, tightly run, but also one that you're glad to be serving on.🔈ℹ︎— Ed Mercer[1]
Ed becomes captain of the USS Orville in the morning of September 10, 2419.[12] After introductions with his new crew, he spearheads their first mission to resupply the science station on Epsilon 2. Along the way, they pick up their new first officer, Kelly. Ed is incensed. Kelly tries to apologize, which angers him further, and she agrees to request a transfer to another ship.

The Orville arrives at Epsilon 2 the next day. Ed leads an away team to the Epsilon Science Station with Kelly, Chief of Security Alara Kitan, and Doctor Claire Finn. Their mission is sabotaged by Derek Ashton, a researcher and spy, who hails the Krill military to steal a quantum accelerator from the scientists.

The away team manages to return to the Orville with Doctor Aronov and the device. Outclassed by the heavier Krill ship, Ed and Kelly cunningly send the accelerator to the Krill destroyer with the seed of a redwood tree. Ed remotely activates the device, causing the seed to erupt in growth and destroy the Krill ship.

After their narrow victory in the Battle of Epsilon 2, Ed asks Kelly to remain First Officer.

Imprisonment in a Calivon zooEdit


A Calivon woman and her son, Nidal, watch Ed and Kelly at the zoo.

Around September or October 2419, the Orville picks up a distress call from the USS Blériot. When they arrive, a battle with the Krill has just ended and Ed learns his parents, Jeannie and Bert, are aboard. Ed and Kelly take a shuttle over, leaving Alara acting captain.

The Blériot is actually a Calivon buoy with a teleporter, disguised by a holographic generator. The buoy sends Ed and Kelly to a zoo exhibit, an exact replica of their old apartment in New York City. Within a few days, Ed and Kelly devolve to bickering about each other.

Meanwhile, the Orville traces Ed and Kelly to Calivon space. Alara and Isaac negotiate their release. (Alara nearly gets Ed and Kelly killed when she tells the Calivon Zoo Administrator that the pair are sick.) Once freed, Ed resumes command of the ship.

Dorahlian bioshipEdit


Ed Mercer rescues Kelly Grayson from Hamelac's torture.

Captain, it seems we have encountered a dictatorial theocracy.
Oh, great, those are always fun.
🔈ℹ︎— Isaac and Ed Mercer[13]

The Orville encounters a massive bioship in November 2419. He leads an away team into the ship to discover an enormous interior ecosystem, so he splits the team into two: himself, Isaac, and Doctor Claire Finn in one group and Kelly Grayson and Alara Kitan in the other.

Ed's group finds a couple with a small farm. Their son, Tomilin, believes the officers to be from "Beyond" and takes them to the Reformers, a group of religious dissidents under a theocratic dictatorship led by Hamelac. Elsewhere, Hamelac's police shoot Alara and take Kelly to Hamelac for interrogation. Alara manages to contact Ed, who rescues her and leads a rescue mission to save Kelly.

The group storms Hamelac's headquarters and take Kelly by force. Kemka, leader of the Reformers, then takes the away team to the Bridge of the bioship. Ed orders the ship's sunroof to be opened so that the people will realize they do not live in the world Hamelac preached.

Pria Lavesque and the theft of the OrvilleEdit

Theron Lavesque Pria

The time-travelling thief Pria Lavesque takes control of the Orville away from Ed.

Ed loses control of his ship in late November or December 2419 when the Orville picks up the distress signal from the Horizon, a ship trapped on a nearby sundiver. Ed, Gordon Malloy, and Alara take a shuttle and rescue its captain, Pria Lavesque. Ed invites Pria to a cocktail party later that evening and the two soon begin dating.

Pria claims to be a Vega Mining Consortium worker but is secretly from the 29th century. During a tour of the ship's Engineering, she installs a small device which grants her control of the Orville. Kelly and Alara suspect Pria is not who she says she is and illegally search her quarters. Ed is furious and reprimands them both. Chief Engineer Steve Newton discovers Pria's device, and Ed confronts her.

Pria reveals her true identity: an antiquities dealer from the future who traveled through a wormhole to steal the Orville. She takes the Orville to the 29th century for sale to a Benzian collector, but the Orville's crew manages to wrest control back and flee to the 25th century.

Ed vows never to mistrust his First Officer, Kelly again, then summons Pria to his office. She pleads with him to return to the 29th century and not disrupt the original timeline, but Ed orders the Orville to fire upon the wormhole, destroying it and erasing Pria.

Other missions Edit

Moclan Tribunal Jury

Tribunal on Moclus.

Infiltration of the Yakar Edit


Ed undercover on board the Yakar as "Chris"

Ed, they're sending you into enemy space, and you're acting like it's some big joke. My God, if you are discovered.
Look, Kelly, why do you think I'm trying to lighten the mood here? I'm scared off my ass.
— Kelly Grayson and Ed Mercer[16]
Ed's most dangerous, and important, mission of his early career as captain takes place in December 2419. In the aftermath of the destruction of the Kakov, a rare Krill shuttle was recovered from the wreckage. Admiral Ozawa joined the USS Orville to give Ed and Gordon Malloy a new mission: pose as Krill survivors from the Kakov, infiltrate a Krill destroyer, and escape with a copy of the Anhkana. The Anhkana is a Krill holy text that preaches the destruction of all other species believed inferior, which Planetary Union Central understands motivates the Krill. Though an Anhkana sits in every destroyer, the Union had not yet procured a copy.

Advanced holographic projection technology recovered from the Calivon[6] was adapted to fashion holographic disguises for Ed and Gordon. Posing as Krill soldiers "Chris" and "Devon," Ed and Gordon are picked up by the Yakar. Captain Haros gives Chris and Devon quarters. The two meet Teleya, a school teacher on the ship.


Ed and Gordon capture the Yakar in one of the Planetary Union's most successful missions against the Krill.

Ed and Gordon manage to make a partial copy of the book, and, later, discover a massive bomb several decks below. The bomb is a protoype to be dropped on the Union colony planet of Rana 3. Ed notices that the Krill are extremely susceptible to UV radiation, and they devise a plan for Gordon to hack into the ship's engineering and cause the ship to emit large amounts of light; enough to kill a Krill but not enough to kill a Human.

Gordon successfully hacks into the ship's computers and sets a timer for the UV blast. Ed finds Teleya and her young students in a classroom, and he destroys the lighting. The Yakar arrives at Rana 3, but a blast of UV radiation is emitted, killing most Krill life on board, excepting Teleya and the students.

Ed and Gordon take the nearly empty, captured Yakar to Planetary Union space. The mission is a rousing success. Not only did the two successfully acquire a copy of the Anhkana, but stole an entire Krill destroyer to boot.

January 2420 through January 2421 Edit


For the sake of the mission, Ed is forced to work alongside Darulio, in spite of their history.

Around January 2420, the Orville supervises research on an ancient birthing bucket discovered on the planet Lopovius. Ownership of the world is claimed by the Bruidian and Navarian species, resulting in a protracted and bloody conflict. As the birthing bucket contains genetic matieral of the first peoples of Lopovius, both sides agree to honor the analysis of the Planetary Union as proof of one species' right to the planet.[17]

Compounding the problem is that the Union forensic archaeologist joining the Orville is Darulio, the man who slept with Ed's then-wife, Kelly Grayson, in 2418. Worse, Kelly sleeps with Darulio a second time when she is supposed to greet the Navarian delegation in the Shuttle Bay.[17]

Ed is outraged and threatens to dismiss Darulio. However, when he confronts the archeologist in Science Lab 1, he is unwittingly exposed to Darulio's sex pheromones and develops an attraction. Ed courts Darulio, ignoring his duties and jeopardizing the peace process, and ultimately sleeps with Darulio as the threat of war looms.[17]

Fortunately, Chief of Security Alara Kitan learns of Darulio's pheromones and, with Nurse Henry Park, use synthesized Retepsian pheromones to lure the Navarian and Bruidian ambassadors into a temporary romantic asttraction. Both sides call off hostilities, and Ed (and Kelly) recover from the influence of Darulio's pheromones.[17]

Discovery of a multiphasic planet and letter of reprimand Edit


Ed is shocked to see the planet is centuries more advanced a mere eleven days later!

Ed's record as captain was marred around April or May 2420 with a letter of reprimand when Ed and Kelly begin dating.[18]

After an away team of Kelly, Helmsman Gordon Malloy, and Isaac crash-land on an uncharted planet, Kelly heals an injured girl with a dermoscanner. The native people witnessed the healing and worship Kelly as a god. Ed, protecting Kelly, neglects to include Kelly's first contact in his incident report to Admiral Ozawa.[18]

The planet's peoples develop a religion around Kelly, invoking her not only as a healer but as a judge of accused criminals; and Ed is forced to inform Ozawa of Kelly's first contact. Ozawa is furious. She declines to strip him of command only because the away team "never intended to go down there in the first place."[19] She places the letter of reprimand in his permanent file at Planetary Union Central.[18]

Ed takes Kelly to the Valondis, the religious head, to disavow her godhood. While the Valondis believes her, he is quickly assassinated by a church leader to preserve power in the Church of Kelly. Ed next sends Isaac in an attempt to steer the people away from Kelly yet, as the peoples eventually surpass the Union in technological prowess, they abandon religion and belief in Kelly irrespective of the Orville's interference.[18]

Rescue of the ChogsEdit

Ed meets bird people

Ed meets the Chogs.

In early June 2420, Ed and Gordon take a shuttle from AXP 1E 1048-59 to Outpost 23 to speak at a tactical conference to brief officers on their mission on the Yakar. En route, they intercept a distress beacon from the BCV Burton, which had crashed onto a nearby planet after a devastating battle with the Tzel, but they are shot down by the Burton's still-active Plasma Cannon. They crash onto the planet's surface, discovering a population of Chogs surviving off of the Burton's Food Synthesizers.[20]

Ed and Gordon investigate the wreck of the Burton. A 100-year-old message left by its acting captain explains that after the Burton crashed, the planet's ecosystems, once verdant, were destroyed by a leaking quantum reactor. The Burton's surviving crew set the Burton up to protect the remaining Chogs. When the Orville arrives, Ed arranges for the Planetary Union to terraform the planet so that the Chogs may thrive once again.[21]

Other missions Edit

Betrayal of Janel Tyler Edit

Janel Tyler 1

Ed meets Janel Tyler at the Mess Hall bar in August 2420.

Ed meets the ship's dark matter cartographer, Lieutenant Janel Tyler, in August 2420 and the two soon begin dating.[28] By about September or October, the two take a romantic excursion to Sensoria 2, but they are waylaid by Krill marauders and taken captive.

Ed and Janel are imprisoned in separate prison cells aboard a Krill destroyer, and guards force Ed to watch them torture Janel until he gives up his Planetary Union command codes. Ed gives them false codes. Satisfied, Janel reveals herself to be Teleya, the schoolteacher from the Yakar. Orver the course of a year, she underwent transcellular micrografting to appear Human, fooling even bioscanners, to enter the Union and eventually join the Orville.

Suddenly, the ship is attacked by Chak'tal, an enemy of the Krill. Ed and Teleya flee the destroyer by escape pod to the nearest habitable planet.

Survival and escape Edit

Nothing Left Excepting Fishes

Ed carries a distress beacon up a mountain.

The planet is empty of sentient life, and a signal is impossible from the lowlands where they landed. Teleya forces Ed to carry a portable distress beacon to the peak of the nearest mountain. Midway, the two realize the sun will rise soon, so they seek shelter in a cave. Ed predicts that if the Krill and the Union do not learn to trust each other, violence and war will leave "nothing left on Earth excepting fishes."

Ed learns that day on the planet lasts the equivalent of 23 Earth days. Without food and fleeing Chak'tal soldiers who pursued them to the planet, Teleya permits Ed to summit the mountain and send the distress signal. The USS Orville picks up the signal. Ed guides Teleya up the mountain, covered by Ed's jacket. Chak'tal begin scaling the mountain and the Orville's shuttle approaches. Teleya, sensing the desperation of betrayal, almost shoots Ed, but she instead hands him the Plasma Pistol to fire upon the Chak'tal and hold them at bay until they board the shuttle.

Aftermath Edit

Back aboard the Orville, Ed makes a highly controversial unilateral decision to release Teleya to the Krill, overriding his First Officer's strong objections and risking a court martial, in the hope that his decision will soften the Krill to the Union.

The Kaylon conflict Edit

Union-Kaylon War

Ed leads the Orville through the brutal Battle of Earth against the Kaylon.

The USS Orville hosted the Kaylon emissary Isaac since September 2419, ostensibly to learn about the Planetary Union and the cultures of biological life in order to determine whether or not to join the Union.[29] The Kaylon remotely deactivate Isaac in late January 2421, having secretly decided that biological life must be eradicated from the universe. When the Orville arrives, the Kaylon commandeer the ship and launch an attack on the Union.[30]

During the journey to Earth, the Kaylon hold Ed and the other senior officers captive in the Shuttle Bay. Along the way, the Kaylon armada is greeted by the USS Roosevelt. Wishing to keep their attack secret, they force Ed and First Officer Kelly Grayson to tell Marcos, now captain of the Roosevelt, that the armada is an ambassadorial envoy as the Kaylon have decided to join the Union. Ed secretly alerts Marcos that his message is a lie by wishing him "a 13-button salute," but the Kaylon know of the code; they destroy the Roosevelt and, as punishment, force Ed to watch them killing an ensign.[4]

Isaac unexpectedly betrays the Kaylon, killing the Kaylon and allowing Ed and the surviving crew to re-take the ship. In the ensuing Battle of Earth, Ed led the Orville through a fever-pitch fight against the Kaylon armada. When several spheres make a break for Earth, Ed orders the Orville to evacuate and to ram the ship in a last-ditch, kamikaze attempt to stop them. Fortunately, a large Krill fleet arrives in time to route the remaining Kaylon.[4]

Lak'vai Pact of Tarazed 3 Edit


The Planetary Union selects Ed to sign the Lak'vai Pact of Tarazed 3.

The Kaylon conflict permanently alters the political relations of the Planetary Union and the Krill, and the two hastily agree to a temporary ceasefire in February 2421. As Ed's experience with the Krill is unmatched by any other officer, the Union sends Ed to the Tarazed system in March to sign a lak'vai pact with Ambassador K.T.Z.

The rogue terrorists Orrin and Leyna Channing attempt to sabotage the signing, but Ed manages to stall for time until sufficient evidence is procured to charge the pair with violating the ceasefire. Ed and the Ambassador sign the Lak'vai Pact of Tarazed 3 several days later.

Moclan sanctuary and representative to the Planetary Union Council Edit


The Human representatives to the Planetary Union Council deliberate.

Several weeks later, the Orville discovers a planet of Moclan women and girls, hidden from their home world's government. While the Orville remains in orbit, Ed and Heveena, now the planet's leader, join Admirals Halsey, Tucker, and Ozawa at the Planetary Union Council on Earth.

Moclus demands the women be delivered home to be forcibly transitioned from female to male, lest the planet exit the Planetary Union and forge an independent alliance with the Krill. With the Kaylon threat imminent, the Union's members are split over acceding to Moclus.

In close-door sessions, Ed argues forcefully for refusing Moclus' demands on human rights grounds. Meanwhile, a Moclan Battlecruiser, led by Captain Dojin, finds the sanctuary planet and begins capturing the female Moclans. After admiralty orders the Orville simply to stand by, Ed indirectly instructs First Officer Kelly Grayson and Second Officer Bortus to stop Dojin's illegal rendition and a skirmish soon breaks out between the Orville and Dojin's soldiers.

The Council agrees to a provisional compromise: the enclave will cease bringing female Moclans and the Moclan government will take no action against the planet's existing inhabitants. Ed tells Heveena that he is dissatisfied with the shaky peace agreement.

Alternate timelines Edit

Ed alternate

Ed in the alternate timeline.

In the original timeline, Ed is killed in late 2419 when the USS Orville is destroyed in a dark matter storm. The timeline is permanently altered when Pria Lavesque saves the Orville in an attempt to steal the ship.[2]

In an alternate timeline where Kelly Grayson declined a second date with Ed in 2413, Ed never becomes captain of the Orville. Instead, Ed focused on his career and became commanding officer of the Epsilon Eridani outpost. Though getting close a couple of times, he never attained command of a starship. He later told Kelly that he anticipated "another year or so" were it not for the Kaylon conflict. The Battle of Earth was a disasterous route of the Union's fleet, with the Kaylon purging Earth of all life before campaigning to wipe out all biological life from the galaxy. Ed and Gordon Malloy somehow acquire the shuttlecraft ECV-342-1 and scavenge for supplies from deserted Union outposts for months until they are picked up by Kelly and her crew to reset the timeline.[31]

Relationship with Kelly Grayson Edit

Retepsian cranium splat

Darulio and Kelly Grayson caught in the act.

Ed met Kelly Grayson in 2413. The two went for drinks for their first date, leaving Kelly very hungover the next morning. Ed called, and she accepted his invitation for a second date. Kelly later recalled Ed had "zero game" for calling at 9:00 a.m. the next morning: "If I had been five years younger, I probably wouldn't have answered. But I had too much fun with you."[32]

Ed and Kelly married in 2414,[33] getting an apartment in New York City, New York.[6]

Ed claims that during this period, Kelly would make Ed drink more than he wanted at parties.[5]

Ed began commuting to the Epsilon Eridani outpost, but his commitment to work taxed their relationship. Kelly recalls experiencing months of loneliness.[5]

They attended counseling. In late 2418, Kelly met and slept with Darulio, a Retepsian archaeologist working as a civilian for the Planetary Union. "Ed had trouble with balance," Kelly later told Alara Kitan. "Between work and home. I just started to feel like I was living alone. Although I regret sleeping with Darulio, in a way I feel it was inevitable."[34] Ed discovered the affair and the two soon divorced.

Working together aboard the Orville Edit

Ed and Kelly did not speak to each other for a full year. Motivated by guilt and a chance at forgiveness, Kelly quietly petitioned admiralty to promote Ed from lieutenant commander to captain and to make her his first officer. Ed takes command of the USS Orville in September 2419 and Kelly joins the next day. Though initially outraged, Ed accepts her as first officer after surviving the Battle of Epsilon 2.

Their former relationship becomes a point of contention on the job. For example, she grows jealous when Ed dates Pria Lavesque and she illegally searches Pria's quarters.

By January 2420, Kelly has accepted that a relationship with Ed would be impossible: "He would never trust me in that way again."[17]

Darulio returns, and a second attempt at a relationship Edit

Darulio is assigned to the Orville in the winter of 2420 to study a Lopovian birthing bucket. Kelly sleeps with Darulio a second time (missing her appointment with the Navarian and Bruidian delegations), infuriating Ed and reopening old wounds. Kelly considers dating Darulio; Ed speaks with Darulio, intending to remove him from the ship. Ed soon grows amourous with Darulio, and the two sleep together. Darulio, as a Retepsian, is in a biological period of producing a powerful, nearly irresistible sex pheromone. When the pheromones wear off, Ed asks Darulio of Kelly was under the influence of his pheromones when she slept with him. Darulio says only, "Maybe."[17]

Ed takes Darulio's answer as confirmation Kelly was not in control of herself when she had the affair and several months later tells her over drinks in the Mess Hall that he is ready to attempt a relationship again. The two date for a month. However, after Ed protects Kelly by failing to notify Admiral Ozawa of first contact with a developing world and risking his career, Kelly decides that a relationship is impossible and breaks up with him around June 2420.

Moving on Edit

Kelly begins dating Cassius, a civilian schoolteacher aboard the ship, in July and reveals their relationship to Ed in August. Ed is hurt and jealous, he even spies on them enjoying wine in her quarters, but slowly accepts her new boyfriend. Ed briefly dates the dark matter cartographer Janel Tyler from August until September, and Kelly breaks up with Cassius around December 2420.

Dating young Kelly Edit

By early 2421, Ed states he is still open to a relationship again, but Kelly remains unchanged. After Isaac's research on the quantum accelerator brings Kelly from seven years ago into the present, Ed begins dating her, which perturbs the older Kelly.

On their first date, Ed and young Kelly go for dinner at Mooska's. Kelly goads Ed into drinking heavily, and the two kiss goodnight. For their second date, Kelly took Ed, Gordon, Bortus, Klyden, and Talla Keyali to a simulation of one of her favorite places on Earth: a nightclub. Ed feels out-of-place in a club at his age.

Ed slowly sees that his feelings for young Kelly are really a reflection of his feelings for the older Kelly. One night, Kelly wears blue lingerie, which Ed recognizes as the article older Kelly wore on their one-year anniversary. After a brief kiss, Ed confesses, "Seven years ago, she was you, and I was completely in love with her. And yes, she's changed a lot, but so have I. We've evolved together. And... I still love her."


Ed, in the eyes of the admiralty, you've proven yourself worthy of that chair. You have validated our trust in you.— Admiral Halsey to Ed Mercer[35]
Ed Mercer is a skilled, if inexperienced, leader. Since his days as a cadet at Union Point, Ed's achieved top scores and worked hard, and Admiral Halsey predicted he would command his own heavy cruiser by the age of 40.[3] Yet Ed's commitment to work came at the cost of personal development, and his early marriage to Kelly Grayson suffered.

Becoming captain of the USS Orville reinvigorates Ed, and he quickly proves a capable, attentive commander willing to risk life and reputation for the sake of others. He risks court martial to release Teleya to the Krill without Union approval.[36] When Captain Dojin forcibly extracts Moclan women from their sanctuary planet for sex reassignment surgery, Ed feigns communication problems so that Kelly, as acting captain, can fight Dojin's soldiers under the shield of plausible deniability.[37]

Ed independent streak derives from a prinicpled understanding of morality where ethical values are more important than blindly following orders; and Ed rarely comes to a decision without examining his own beliefs first. For example, he plays devil's advocate with Kelly when he questions the Moclus' mandatory sex reassignment of Topa.[14]

However, Ed's willingness to jettison protocol for others gets him into trouble. While dating Kelly in May 2420, he declines to inform Admiral Ozawa that Kelly made first contact with a planet's developing civilization. The infraction nearly cost Ed his rank.[18]

Ed consumes alcohol liberally, therapeutically, and socially. Gordon Malloy was Ed's drinking buddy at Union Point. After his divorce from Kelly, Ed self-medicated with alcohol and his job performance suffered.[3] Ed continues to drink heavily even as a captain to the point that Chief of Security Alara Kitan mentions that the crew has noticed he is often seen at the Mess Hall's bar during off hours.[25]

Ed's crisis of self-doubt Edit

Ed Kelly 2-dimensional space

Kelly helps Ed learn to trust himself and accept help from others.

Around March 2420, Ed learns Planetary Union Central promoted him to captain based on Kelly Grayson's recommendation. Though Admiral Halsey tells Ed that he has proven himself worthy of the captain's chair, Ed loses faith in his abilities. After a month of self-doubt and reflection, Ed sees that he should have thanked Kelly for campaigning for him; no single person succeeds without the help of their peers.[11]

Relationship with Gordon MalloyEdit

Gordon Malloy and Ed Mercer have been close friends since Union Point, and Ed even hired Gordon to be helmsman of the Orville.[3] As Gordon is overly laid-back even to the point of negligence, Ed often keeps him in check.

Ed and Gordon work well together on the field. They infiltrate and capture the Yakar[15] and rescue the Chogs from their dying world.[20][21] Their friendship is not perfect. Orrin Channing was once Gordon's best friend before he was captured by the Krill. When Orrin reappears, Ed admits that he feels insecure about his friendship with Gordon.[38]

Relationship with the crew Edit

When Ed first met Alara Kitan as his new Chief of Security, he was put off by her lack of experience.[39] His opinion softens after rescuing Kelly and him from a Calivon zoo, and he awards her a Sapphire Star for her bravery.[6] By February 2420, Ed tells her, "If I was being rushed by an angry Moclan who wanted to kill me, the one person I would want between him and me is you."[39]

Production Edit

Ed Mercer sketch

A concept sketch of Mercer by the show's wardrobe designer Joseph Porro and illustrator Luca Nemolato. Note the name is "Ed Stevens," which was changed only late in production.

Ed Mercer is the first character created by Seth MacFarlane for the show, a reaction against the traditional approach to make captains in science fiction virtuous, wizened leaders.[40] According to MacFarlane: "There's a consistency to the classic starship captain model that they are paragons of virtue, that they are these models of nobility. That is what I was trying to steer away from, because I haven't seen a captain who is kind of that mediocre, accounting kind of guy."[41] Instead, he wrote the character of Ed as a flawed, but ultimately good person, and then added a co-worker who is also his ex-wife to flesh out Ed's foibles and add drama.[40]


Captain Ed Mercer

Promotional image of Ed from the first season.

  • Ed Mercer's original name was "Ed Stevens," but was changed sometime after completing the first draft of the script and before shooting the pilot.[42]
  • According to Admiral Halsey, Ed was not only top of his class at Union Point but was so highly regarded that the admiralty believed he would captain a heavy cruiser by age 40.[3]
  • Ed keeps a plush of Kermit from The Muppets on the desk in his office. He tells Second Officer Bortus, "He's just a leader I admire. Always keeps his cool in a crisis; inspires greatness in people."[6]
  • Ed has hypocritical standards when it comes to the consumption of alcohol. He criticizes Helmsman Gordon Malloy for getting drunk in the morning during Old Wounds, but attempts to have a beer shortly after waking up in Command Performance.
    • However, this may be due to Ed disapproving of intoxication while piloting a vessel, and not an overall resentment towards alcohol consumption.
  • EdPria

    Captain Mercer and Pria Lavesque develop a close bond soon after meeting.

    According to First Officer Kelly Grayson, when Ed is really in pain, he gives straight answers with no cursing.[3]
  • It seems as though Ed Mercer is highly educated on television shows from the 20th and 21st century judging by his continuous references to pop culture from those eras.
  • When he was ten, his mother took him to the Salem history museum, which "scared the crap out of him" due to the holographic recreation of the trial, which caused him to have nightmares for a month afterwards.
  • Ed implies that he had been bullied throughout primary school, even claiming he had an Anti-Bullying law specifically named after him. It's unknown if this is simply hyperbole or a legitimate fact about the Earth's legal stance on bullying.
  • He has arachnophobia, a fear of spiders.
  • He and Lieutenant Dann have the same birthday.
  • Gordon Malloy recounts that when Ed and Kelly were together, Ed called Philippa Jones "Fallopia" at a mixer at Admiral Halsey's house after drinking scotch.[5]
  • Ed might have attended Union Point with someone named "Nick Lewis," but he might have invented the name.[34]
  • Ed decorates his office with the following:
    • Kermit plush doll
    • A picture hanging at the right of the door:
    • Scale model of the Orville
    • Scale model of the Wright Flyer
    • A piece of dead coral
  • He flosses with only Navidian micro-silk because he has "very tight spaces between [his] teeth."[36]
  • He slept wit his shirt on until he was 20.[31]


References Edit

  1. Episode 1x01: Old Wounds
  2. 2.0 2.1 Episode 1x05: Pria
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 Episode 1x01: Old Wounds
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Episode 2x09: Identity, Pt. 2
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Episode 2x13: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Episode 1x02: Command Performance
  7. Kelly makes multiple comments about this in Cupid's Dagger. Ed talks about commuting to Epsilon Eridani in Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow.
  8. citation needed
  9. Halsey. Episode 1x01: Old Wounds
  10. Halsey: "We would have offered you a command earlier but you haven't inspired confidence this past year." Episode 1x01: Old Wounds
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Episode 1x11: New Dimensions
  12. See Timeline, note 18.
  13. Episode 1x04: If the Stars Should Appear
  14. 14.0 14.1 Episode 1x03: About a Girl
  15. 15.0 15.1 Episode 1x06: Krill
  16. Episode 1x06: Krill
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 Episode 1x09: Cupid's Dagger
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 Episode 1x12: Mad Idolatry
  19. Ed Mercer. Episode 1x12: Mad Idolatry
  20. 20.0 20.1 Episode 1.5x01: New Beginnings, Pt. 1
  21. 21.0 21.1 Episode 1.5x02: New Beginnings, Pt. 2
  22. Episode 1.5x03: The Word of Avis, Pt. 1
  23. Episode 1.5x04: The Word of Avis, Pt. 2
  24. Episode 2x02: Primal Urges
  25. 25.0 25.1 Episode 2x03: Home
  26. Episode 2x05: All the World is Birthday Cake
  27. Episode 2x07: Deflectors
  28. Episode 2x01: Ja'loja
  29. See Episode 1x01: Old Wounds; Episode 2x06: A Happy Refrain.
  30. Episode 2x08: Identity, Pt. 1
  31. 31.0 31.1 Episode 2x14: The Road Not Taken
  32. Kelly Grayson. Episode 2x13: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
  33. citation needed
  34. 34.0 34.1 Episode 1x04: If the Stars Should Appear
  35. Episode 1x11: New Dimensions
  36. 36.0 36.1 Episode 2x04: Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes
  37. Episode 2x12: Sanctuary
  38. Episode 2x10: Blood of Patriots
  39. 39.0 39.1 Episode 1x10: Firestorm
  40. 40.0 40.1 Pascale, Anthony. "Interview: Seth MacFarlane Talks Mission Of ‘The Orville’ And Defends Star Trek: TNG’s Replicators". Sept. 4, 2017.
  41. "Brannon Braga & The Orville Cast Full interview 2017 Panel NYC convention". NYC ComicCon. Nov. 20, 2017.
  42. MacFarlane, Seth. Orville 1x01 - Pilot. Fox Broadcasting Co.
  43. The Kermit doll can be seen in the Calivon reconstruction of their apartment. Ed: "This is the one from my office. I took it with me when I moved out." Episode 1x02: Command Performance
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