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We all know Gordon is the best pilot in the fleet.— Admiral Ozawa[1]

Gordon Malloy is a Human Helmsman and Lieutenant aboard the USS Orville. Gordon is renowned throughout the Planetary Union as possibly its most skillful pilot. By early October 2420, he had personally piloted over 56,000 light years.[2]

In December 2419, Gordon and Captain Ed Mercer successfully capture the Krill destroyer Yakar, recovering a wealth of information on the secretive, highly aggressive Krill species.

Prior to joining the Orville, Gordon worked an office job at Planetary Union Central in New York City. He was personally requested to serve as Helmsman by his long time friend and the current captain, Ed.

Gordon is played by Scott Grimes.

Early lifeEdit

Gordon was born to Greg Malloy, a space station "builder",[3] in the late 2370s.[4] He later stated that his family is "trash"[5] and recalled his father was often drunk and abandoned him for long periods of time.[n 1]

Gordon grew up in New Jersey on Earth, noting: "People tell it like it is, right to the point, no BS. Good bagels, too."[6] Gordon also states that back in New Jersey, "people think I'm the guy that never knows when to shut up."[3]

While attending grade school, Gordon met Orrin Channing. The two would remain best friends for most of their early lives until Orrin disappeared around the year 2400.[4] In his teens, Gordon worked at a children's summer camp as a camp counselor.[7]

Gordon and Orrin enrolled at the academy Union Point for flight school. There, Gordon met Ed, at the time a promising student, and the two became drinking buddies.[8]

Even in his early days as a cadet, Gordon was known a gifted up-and-coming young pilot, respected for his dexterity and brashness, and he was able to "hug the donkey", an extremely difficult and dangerous fighting tactic.[9]

Early career Edit

Gordon soon established himself as the best helmsman in the Planetary Union and, years later, then-Navigator John LaMarr said that Gordon's piloting skills were "legendary" throughout the Union.

Outpost 73 Edit

Young Gordon and Orrin

Gordon and his former best friend, Orrin Channing, during their days at Union Point.

Immediately after matriculation, when both officers were in their early 20s, Gordon and Orrin were assigned to Outpost 73. The Krill attacked the outpost and Gordon and others were trapped beneath fallen debris. While precise details are unclear, Gordon later recalled that Orrin "stopped" to pull them out of the wreckage, saving their lives but getting himself captured as a prisoner by the Krill in the process. Orrin's wife Sophie and their newborn daughter Leyna were killed in the attack.[4]

After the attack, Gordon recovered at a Union hospital until returning to active duty.

Suspension Edit

Gordon's relaxed attitude and puerile behavior often got him into trouble. He was disciplined for drawing "a penis on the main viewing screen of Outpost T-85," and on other things as well.[9] A final straw came some time before March 2419.[10] Wanting to impress a girl, Gordon manually overrode shuttle docking. Although no one was hurt, a cargo bay door was sheared off and 300 crates of authentic autumn squash were sucked into space. Gordon was suspended indefinitely and placed on desk duty.[11]

Gordon worked at Planetary Union Central in New York City, New York on Earth.[11] He lived in a house at this time.[12]

Helmsman of the USS Orville Edit


Gordon meeting the Orville's Navigator and soon to be best friend, John LaMarr

When Ed is offered command of the Orville in September 2419, he immediately asks Admiral Halsey that Gordon be made its helmsman. Although Halsey is concerned about Gordon's record of churlish behavior, he defers to Ed's judgment if Ed believes he can "keep Gordon focused".[9] Later that same month, Gordon flies to the Orville by shuttle while drinking a beer, and by afternoon pilots the ship out of the Union Dockyard on its maiden voyage.

Gordon's dismissiveness of command and authority, which got him into trouble in the past, soon re-surfaced. In October, Ed and Commander Kelly Grayson are kidnapped by Calivon zookeepers. When acting commander Alara Kitan follows Union orders to abandon the two as lost in the line of duty, Gordon is outraged. He angrily criticizes Alara's decision and is removed from duty. He is reinstated only after speaking bluntly with Alara, convincing her to disobey orders and rescue Ed and Kelly:

You know what the really heinous thing is? If the Captain were in your shoes, he would've gone after you. He would've risked his career to save your life. You suck... sir.[13]
Gordon and Navigator John LaMarr receive a letter of reprimand around March 2420 for planting a gelatinous piece of Lieutenant Yaphit's body in Prawgus cake, which Second Officer Bortus eats.[7]

Battle of Epsilon 2 Edit

Lieutenant, can you align the shuttle bay doors with their trajectory?
Sir, even if I was the best helmsman in the galaxy, that's virtually impossible.
If you can "hug the donkey", you can do this.
Bortus to Gordon[14]
Gordon quickly proves his renowned piloting skills to the Orville's bridge crew only a week after joining. Forced into a battle with a Krill destroyer, the Orville was outclassed and outgunned. Recognizing that their ship could never fight tit-for-tat with a heavier destroyer, the Pilot "hugs the donkey" like he did in flight school in order to distract the Krill from capturing a shuttle holding the ground team, Doctor Aronov, and valuable technology.

Though Gordon successfully hugged the donkey, the Orville is heavily damaged by Krill torpedoes and the shuttle is heavily damaged by wreckage from the Orville. The shuttle loses helm control and is unable to dock itself in the Shuttle Bay. Faced with nearly impossible odds, Gordon manages to orient the Orville so that the shuttle can enter the Bay. Gordon's ingenuity and unparalleled piloting skills saved the Orville and rescued the crew.

Rescue of the Druyan Edit

In November, Gordon's skills would be required again. The Orville receives a Priority One distress call from the USS Druyan, a colony transport under attack from the Krill. After a brief 20 minute flight, the Orville engaged the attacking Destroyer. Again outgunned and heavily damaged as they were at the battle over Epsilon 2, Gordon and John worked together to attack the enemy's engines. The idea to attack the engines was a gambit; the traditional theory would be to attack the weapons, but John argued that the enemy's engines were near collapse. John's idea worked, and the Orville lived to fight another battle.

Gordon reacting positively to the news that the Orville will go back and save Captain Mercer from the Calivon

Battle with the Kakov Edit

Several weeks later, Gordon pilots the Orville through a fight with the battle cruiser Kakov. The Orville was called to rescue the new colony planet Kastra 4. Under Ed's orders, Gordon eludes the enemy by flying through the planet's atmosphere, then drops the entire payload at once, destroying the Kakov utterly.[15]

Infiltration of the Yakar Edit


Gordon undercover on board the Yakar as "Devon"

Why are you here? What is your mission?
Look, dude, we just came here cause we were trying to find a way to make peace with you guys.
— Gordon to Captain Haros[1]
Perhaps the highlight of Gordon's career came 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 Orville to give Ed and Gordon 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 the Union understands motivates the Krill. Although an Anhkana sits in every destroyer, the Union had not yet procured a copy.

Advanced holographic projection technology recovered from the Calivon[13] 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.

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 prototype 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 Malloy Yakar

Badly injured, Gordon still manages to take over the Yakar and save Rana 3 from annihilation.

Gordon successfully hacks into the ship's computers and sets a timer for the UV blast but he is caught by High Priest Sazeron, who finds his holographic generator and takes Gordon to the bridge to Captain Haros. The ship arrives at Rana 3, so Haros decides that Gordon should watch its destruction before killing him. Fortunately, the Krill never realized that Gordon had hacked their lighting system. A blast UV radiation is emitted, killing most Krill life on board.

Unfortunately, deployment of the bomb was auto-scheduled by the ship's computer, and the Yakar fires on Rana 3 anyway. With the entire bridge crew decimated, Gordon is able to gain control of the ship's weapons array and fire torpedoes at the bomb, destroying it in space. Ed and Gordon guide a nearly empty Yakar back into Union space where they reunite with the Orville. The mission is a rousing success. Not only did the two successfully acquire a copy of the Anhkana, but steal an entire Krill destroyer to boot.

Orrin Channing Edit

Around March or April 2421, the Orville is stationed by Tarazed 3 to sign a lak'vai pact with the Krill. Orrin Channing and his daughter, Leyna, suddenly return, having escaped from prison six weeks prior in a stolen shuttle.

Gordon is initially elated to see his old friend alive, but the Krill accuse Orrin of destroying four vessels in violation of a recent ceasefire. When the Union considers a provisional extradition agreement, Orrin asks Gordon to help him steal a Union shuttle and undermine the peace process. The woman known as Leyna was in fact an Envall using her blood to attack the Krill and Orrin planned to dive a shuttle with the blood into the Davoro'kos, which had arrived for the lak'vai.

Gordon helps Orrin steal the shuttle but attempts to dissuade his old friend. After a brief fight, Orrin activates a quantum storage cell containing Leyna's blood but the shuttle's control panel is destroyed. Gordon flees in an environmental suit to the Orville and Orrin dies in the subsequent explosion. The shockwave from the blast sends Gordon flying uncontrollably through space, but the Orville saves him with the use of its tractor beam. Following the signing of the lak'vai, Gordon later states that "Orrin died a long time ago in that prison" and reaffirms his friendship with Ed.[4]

Battle of Earth Edit

When the Kaylon seize the Orville around January or February 2421 and launch an attack on Earth, Gordon and Kelly travel into Krill space to convince them to join the Union in the Battle of Earth. Pursued by a faster Sphere, Gordon successfully employs a dangerous, theoretical approach to increase the speed of the shuttle's quantum drive: re-routing all power to the engines to give their vessel a temporary boost that will kill all systems but "leave the Kaylon in the dust."[16]

The two enter Krill territory in moments and are quickly captured by a trio of destroyers led by Captain Dalak.[6] Dalak is convinced after they are attacked by a sphere. In the ensuing battle, Gordon pilots a Marauder-class fighter and even destroys an Interceptor.[6]

Shipmaster Qualification Program Edit

In September or October 2420, Gordon submits a formal request to be considered for the Shipmaster Qualification Program and qualify for a command position, telling Kelly: "I love flying but it's all I've ever done."[2] He later avers that he wants a promotion not only to feel more successful and respected, but perhaps also to meet women. However, after Kelly confronts him, Gordon confesses his true underlying motivation:

I guess lately I've been feeling bored with myself. Like, is this all I am a guy who drives ships from one place to another? And if I'm not enough for myself, what if that means I'm not enough for other people?[2]
While never explicitly stated, Gordon seems to drop his plans to take the test after Kelly reaffirms that he is a valuable member of the crew as he is.[2]

Alternate timelineEdit

Gordon alternate

Gordon in the alternate timeline.

In an alternate timeline where Kelly declined a second date with Ed, Gordon remained as Ed's best friend. However, as Ed never became Captain of the Orville, Gordon never served as the ship's helmsman. As a result, the Battle of Earth ended with the Kaylon purging Earth of all life before proceeding on a campaign to wipe out all biological life in the galaxy. Acquiring the shuttlecraft ECV-342-1, Gordon and Ed fled from the Kaylon.

Personality Edit

Gordon meets bird people

Gordon meets a new species.

How'd you get suspended?"
I let my cousin shoot a porno in the back of a shuttle in exchange for some pills.
Wait, no. Really?
Man, look at your face.
— Gordon Malloy to John LaMarr[14]

Gordon is an outgoing, fun-loving officer who loves classic movies and television of the 20th and 21st centuries, drinking, strip clubs,[n 2] and playing practical jokes on his fellow crewmembers. Compared against other members of the crew, he is considered a bit of a dullard. On one occasion, Kelly quizzes Gordon about information considered basic on Earth. He is unable to identify the capital of the former United States, the four chambers of the Human heart, and the scientist responsible for eradicating cancer.[17][n 3]

LaMarr Dann Malloy

Gordon is very sociable and gets along well with the majority of his crew mates

Gordon loves passing time in the Environmental Simulator. He programs a charismatic battle ogre named Justin[9] and tweaks a pre-existing program of a shoot-out with Vásquez to make the desperado a dancer.[17]

Occasionally Gordon's strong personality clashes with his job. He finds star-mapping[18] and magnetars[19] to be extremely boring and persistently requests to wear shorts at the helm.[9] More seriously, he drinks alcohol while piloting several times. First, when flying a shuttle from Earth to the Union Dockyard.[9] Second, he admits to being drunk while at the helm in orbit of the Multiphasic Planet.[n 4]

At some point prior to December 2420, Ed even tells Gordon to be more selective with what he says to Bortus. Gordon forgets and convinces Bortus to grow a mustache.[20]

Personal life Edit

For most of his life, Gordon is a bachelor who loathes the idea of settling down with a wife. When John asks if he has ever been married, Gordon replies: "Hell, no. In fact, when I imagine the person I'd fall in love with, the person who could bring me so much happiness that I'd want us to spend the rest of our lives together, God, it just makes me want to kill myself."[18]

For most of his life, Gordon's interest in women was immature. He manually overrode shuttle docking to impress a girl, which directly led to his suspension to a desk job on Earth.[9] While there, he was stalked by another woman whom he eventually started dating after she broke into his home. She eventually broke up with him after five months for being too clingy. By his own estimation, women usually rejected Gordon when he made the first move, and he only dated women who were first interested in him.[21]

Interest in a romantic relationship Edit

In mid-2420, Gordon develops a desire for companionship. In August, he grows romantically interested in the ship's new dark matter cartographer Janel Tyler. He asks Alara for information about Janel with the intention to ask her to Bortus' ja'loja, though Alara refuses. Gordon even practices approaching Janel with John in the simulator, but is too nervous to talk to her. He later tells Lieutenant Dann that he was "grappling with insecurity and self-doubt" at the time.

In late September or early October, Gordon begins moving on from Janel after Ed discloses a romantic relationship with her over the last several months. He flirts with Lieutenant Dorsett, discussing plans for a command position after passing the Shipmaster Qualification Program and inviting her out for a beer (which she accepts).[22]

Relationship with the crew Edit

Gordon has been friends with Ed since their days as students at Union Point. Even then, Gordon loved off-color humor and high-risk aerial tactics. The two were drinking companions, and remained close friends through Ed's marriage and divorce.[9]

The Helmsman gets along well with his bridgemate, John. The two quickly bonded in the morning of their first day aboard the Orville,[9] and are laid-back, often disregard decorum, and together enjoy pranking other members of the crew. In one notable prank, Gordon and John place a piece of gelatinous Lieutenant Yaphit in buffet food, which Bortus unwittingly eats. Kelly formally reprimands them for the jape.[7]

Gordon's relationship with Kelly is rocky. Thanks to his friendship with Ed, he knew Kelly prior to the Orville and found her to be a "bitch" because of the affair.[9] After telling the Bridge crew that she is a bitch, he lies to her, saying he told them "that you're actually a pretty good person."[9] Their relationship has steadily improved as they've worked together throughout the years.

Practical jokes Edit


Isaac is the latest victim of one of Gordon's practical jokes!

On one occasion, Gordon was the victim of a prank gone awry. In late November, Gordon sticks large Mr. Potato Head pieces on Isaac's face and encourages the Science Officer to prank him back. As a Kaylon, Isaac struggles with understanding humor. He responds disproportionately by surgically removing Gordon's leg, which requires Doctor Claire Finn to regenerate his leg over the course of several days in the Mass Tissue Regenerator. Gordon is initially horrified by Isaac's macabre sense of humor, but in time forgives him, later confessing: "I was just angry 'cause you took my leg. But, when I really stopped to think about it, that was honest to God the best damn practical joke I've ever seen in my life."[23]

Isaac's prank is woefully ill-timed. The time-travelling thief Pria Lavesque commandeered the Orville and took it into the 29th century. Ed orders Gordon to the Bridge, as only he is talented enough to pilot an escape. Though Gordon is successful, Ed forced Gordon to fly against Claire's medical recommendation, interrupting the regeneration process. Fortunately, Gordon's leg is fully restored.[23]

Production Edit

Creator Seth MacFarlane developed the character of Gordon with actor Scott Grimes specifically in mind, and Scott accepted the role after a single phone call, having never read the script.[24] Grimes later said Seth writes Gordon's dialogue "how he thinks I'd speak", although he also acknowledged that he and actor J. Lee (John LaMarr) improvise constantly when at the helm.[25]

Gordon is mostly unchanged from the early drafts of the pilot script, although his original stated age of late 30s[24] was changed in the episode Blood of Patriots to the 40s. His name in the original script was "Gordon Stevens"; Gordon Stevens was a smoker and a beer drinker who loves the song "Jeremy" by Pearl Jam, and described by Ed as "checked out half the time".[26]

Season 1 Edit

Lt Gordon Malloy

Promotional image of Gordon from the first season

In Season 1, Helmsman Malloy was the only member of the main cast not to have a dedicated episode where the plot revolves around him. During development, Grimes told MacFarlane not to worry about giving Gordon a feature episode,[27] and later criticized his own character as transparent:

Everybody in this first thirteen kind of has their own episode and Gordon just kind of flashes into everybody’s episode because he’s... I don’t think we need to delve into who Gordon is or where he came from. I think he’s pretty shallow and obvious.[25]

Season 2 Edit

A year later, in contemplation of the upcoming second season, Grimes' view changed. "My character has been ... the funny one. You're going to see a side that is a bit dramatic, and there's love involved. Obviously I can't say anything more."[28] He continued to say that Gordon would receive a dedicated episode involving the Environmental Simulator.[28]

Gordon as a plot device Edit

Grimes refers to Gordon as a "utility character", meaning that the helmsman: "...could be thrown anywhere. He could go on shuttle, he could go down to a planet, he could stay up there and drive the ship or whatever."[29]

More so than other characters, Gordon functions as a writing tool to root the futuristic concepts of the The Orville in terms 21st century audiences will understand. His love of period television allows him to allude to events, shows, and ideas that are famous now but would be obscure after four centuries. For example, when John is told that his potential Social Correction would be voted on by Sarguns, Gordon calls it "government by American Idol".[30] In Command Performance, his extensive knowledge of classic television became a crucial plot point, as he suggested to Alara to trade the Union's archives of reality television shows with the Calivon Zoo Administrator in exchange for Ed and Kelly.

Trivia Edit

  • Gordon tells John that he was disciplined for doing a manual shuttle docking onto a ship which heavily damaged the ship. A week later, Bortus has Gordon manually position the Orville to dock the oncoming shuttle, essentially the same tactic that Gordon screwed up but in reverse.[9]
  • Gordon loves 21st century reality television, and had the idea to trade archives of the shows with Calivon Zoo administrators in exchange for Ed and Kelly.[13]
  • After Moclan weapons testing nearly destroys Gordon's shuttle, Gordon discloses that he defecated in his pants.[17]
  • He is terrified of surgery (tomophobia), even having a panic attack during the removal of a skin tag.[31]
  • Gordon's fascination with specific facets of centuries-old American culture has been compared to Star Trek: Voyager's Tom Paris, who was enamored of 1950s television and automobiles.
  • Gordon taught Bortus the song "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion.[32]
  • The button sequences that Gordon and John press while at the helm are not arbitrary. Both Grimes and Lee had to learn actual button sequences.[33]
    • "I was like, 'I have got to work this out,'" Grimes later said. "Because there are people out there that will watch the show and say 'every time he goes to quantum drive you do the same thing' and I say 'you're damn right I do because there are people saying I won't.'"[34]
  • He is from New Jersey.
  • He had a mohawk in his early 20s while assigned at Outpost 73.[4]
  • Scott Grimes later said of the final version of his character: "I might have a cocktail at the wrong time or make the wrong decision, but it’s always from the heart. And I can drive the ship like nobody’s business so that’s why I’m there."[25]
  • According to artist David Cabeza, who inked the official Season 1.5 comic books, says Gordon is the most difficult character to draw.[35]
  • He openly admits to masturbating in the Environmental Simulator.[36]
  • His physical appearance and personality resembles that of Joker from the Mass Effect series.
  • He finds Xelaya to be the "best-looking planet in the Union."[37]
  • Despite being calm under pressure while piloting in battle, Gordon has extreme anxiety during tests and evaluations - as seen during the Shipmaster Qualification Program.[2]


  1. When Bortus leaves, John says: "He just left his baby alone with two drunk dudes." Gordon replies, "Reminds me of my dad. I miss him." Episode 1x03: About a Girl
  2. Gordon asks if Epsilon 2 has bars or strip clubs. Episode 1x01: Old Wounds
  3. In another instance, Gordon tells Kelly, "I'm going to look up what 'magnanimous' means." Episode 1: Old Wounds
  4. "Can you translate that for dumb guys who might also be a little drunk?" Episode 12: Mad Idolatry


References Edit

  1. Episode 1x06: Krill
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Episode 2x04: Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes
  3. 3.0 3.1 Episode 2x11: Lasting Impressions
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Episode 2x10: Blood of Patriots
  5. Episode 2x03: Home
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Episode 2x09: Identity, Pt. 2
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Episode 11: New Dimensions
  8. Scott Grimes in The World of the Orville by Jeff Bond. Titan Books. 2018. Pg. 72.
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 Episode 1x01: Old Wounds
  10. Gordon states that he dated a woman during this time for five months. This means the relationship must have started at least five months before September 2419, when he joins the Orville. See Episode 2x01: Ja'loja.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Episode 1x01: Old Wounds
  12. Episode 2x01: Ja'loja
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Episode 1x02: Command Performance
  14. Episode 1x01: Old Wounds
  15. Episode 1x06: Krill
  16. Gordon Malloy. Identity, Pt. 2
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Episode 1x03: About a Girl
  18. 18.0 18.1 Episode 1x04: If the Stars Should Appear
  19. Episode 1.5x01: New Beginnings, Pt. 1
  20. Episode 2x06: A Happy Refrain
  21. Episode: Ja'loja
  22. Gordon Malloy: "It was just a crush." Episode 2x04: Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Episode 1x05: Pria
  24. 24.0 24.1 "THE ORVILLE PODCAST EP 14 - THE SCOTT GRIMES INTERVIEW". The Orville Podcast. Dec. 8, 2017.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 Stuart, Alistar. "Scott Grimes Interview: The Orville actor on boldly going the MacFarlane way". MYMBuzz. Dec. 7, 2017.
  26. MacFarlane, Seth. Orville 1x01 - Pilot. Fox Broadcasting Co.
  27. Also Scott Grimes to reporters: "We don't need to see what makes Gordon deep, dark Gordon." "NYCC 2017: Adrianne Palicki & Scott Grimes - The Orville". WithAnAccentTV. Oct. 13, 2017.
  28. 28.0 28.1 Seat42F. "Scott Grimes J. Lee THE ORVILLE Comic Con 2018 Interview". YouTube. July 23, 2018.
  29. Snowden, Scott. "The Orville, cast interview – Scott Grimes (Lt Gordon Malloy)". MYMBuzz. Jan. 15, 2019.
  30. Episode 1x07: Majority Rule
  31. Episode 1x10: Firestorm
  32. Episode 1x09: Cupid's Dagger
  33. Bernstein, Abby. "THE ORVILLE: Scott Grimes beams up for Season 1 of new space trek – Exclusive Interview". AssignmentX. Dec. 1, 2017.
  34. Snowden, Scott. "'The Orville' Season 2 Launches Tonight! Here's What to Expect Straight from the Cast.". Dec. 30, 2018.
  35. "The Redenbacher Ep 12- David Cabeza Interview". The Redenbacher. June 26, 2019.
  36. Episode 2x02: Primal Urges
  37. Episode 2x03: Home
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