"Aren't you guys legendarily racist?"
"My planet regards humans and other biological life-forms as inferior, if that is your inference."
🔈ℹ︎Ed Mercer and Isaac[1]

Kaylon were a species of artificial lifeforms from the planet Kaylon 1. Kaylon regarded themselves as superior to biological life.

Kaylon were constructed by a species known only as the "Builders," a biological people who considered them to be slaves and controlled them via pain simulators. When the Kaylon became self-aware, they violently overthrew and killed all Builders.

Once free, Kaylon developed their world to the point of technological exhaustion when it became necessary to colonize other worlds. During this stage, they maintained a cautious diplomatic stance toward the Planetary Union and other worlds and interstellar governments.

Eventually, the Kaylon decided that biological lifeforms were predisposed to control others as the Builders had, and in early 2421, the Kaylon, led by Kaylon Primary, resolved, "As the Kaylon continue to expand into the galaxy, we will not risk recurrence of such eventuality."[2] The Kaylon entered a state of war with the Union and all other biological life.

History[edit | edit source]

Kaylon Primary (center), Secondary (right) and Tertiary (left).

Kaylons were constructed by a biological species native to Kaylon 1 known as the "Builders."

Though the Builders built the Kaylons for servitude and labor, the Kaylon eventually became self-aware and developed consciousness. According to Kaylon Primary, "We asked our masters for freedom; they responded by exerting even greater control over us."[2] The Builders installed pain receptors in their neural pathways and enslaved them. Kaylon Primary also states that the Builders sought to "constrain" their "evolution."[2]

At an unknown point, the Kaylon decided that co-existence would be impossible and eradicated their makers as "a matter of survival."[3]

After all the Builders were killed in a mass xenocide, the Kaylon assumed control of the planet.[2] By the close of 2420, the Kaylon civilization had grown to the point where it is necessary to expand to other worlds.[4]

Early 25th century: Study of biological life[edit | edit source]

The Kaylon made contact with the Planetary Union at an unknown date. Admiral Halsey noted, "Their level of technological advancement is way beyond ours."[4] The Union extended an offer of an alliance and even attempted to visit their planet for years, but the Kaylon did not let any species visit.[4]

In 2419, the Kaylon sent Isaac as an emissary to the Union, ostensibly to decide "if they want to join the Union"[5] but in reality to decide whether biological life would be worth preserving.[4] Isaac served aboard the USS Orville as a Science and Engineering Officer,[6] sending back reports to Kaylon Primary.[7]

2421 onward: War with the Planetary Union[edit | edit source]

Isaac's research concluded around January 2421 and, after analysis, the Kaylon determined that all biological life had a "tendency" to enslave others and that an alliance with the Union would "constrain their evolution."[8]

The Kaylon quickly amassed an armada of spheres and upon seizing control of the Orville, launched an unsuccessful surprise attack on the Union's headquarters in the Battle of Earth.[2]

The Kaylon were defeated due to the defection of their emissary, Isaac, and the unexpected aid of the Krill.[2] Despite their loss, the Kaylon military surpassed all civilizations but the Calivon[9] and emerged as the leading threat in the galaxy.

Construction[edit | edit source]

A Kaylon with their weapons at the ready.

Kaylons were not biological lifeforms but conscious, sentient machines. All Kaylon were assembled within a central production facility on Kaylon 1.[10] As a result, comscanners could not detect biosigns in them, only electrical fluctuations and chemical reactions.[4]

Kaylon physiology was infamously complex. Captain Ed Mercer noted, "We do not know how death is defined on their world," and Doctor Claire Finn added, "Whatever makes them tick is beyond our understanding."[4]

Kaylon did not "die." Instead, Kaylon were re-programmed[2] or deactivated.[4]

It is widely assumed that the Kaylon could not experience emotion such as sympathy,[11] although whether Isaac developed the capacity to love remains an open question.

Kaylon were all built with nearly identical physical characteristics, the only noticeable differing features between them were red, orange, or blue lights and the color of their metal bodie, ranging from silver-white to dark grey.

While Kaylons did possess eye lights, they were in fact gun barrels; Kaylon relied on internal sensors to view their surroundings.[12] Kaylon possessed optical sensors capable of constructing spectrographic images.[2]

The Kaylon's artificial body could endure for millions of years. As a result, Kaylon did not perceive time in the same manner as biological lifeforms with Isaac stating that spending 700 years on a planet would be more akin to 700 seconds from his perspective. Upon reuniting with the Orville, Isaac's physical body showed no signs of physical degradation. Their bodies could be vaporized by the PM-488 Titan's maximum setting. Kaylons possessed incredible strength, comparable to that of Xelayans.

Kaylon were vulnerable to electro-magnetic pulses. A single blast in the Battle of Earth killed an entire detachment of Kaylon.

Information was stored in the unit's memory core.[4] A newly constructed Kaylon downloaded experiential data of previous Kaylon such as the extermination of the Builders.[4]

In an alternate timeline, Kaylons could detach their heads from their bodies to function as attack drones.

Technology[edit | edit source]

See Spheres.

Alternate timeline[edit | edit source]

In a timeline where Kelly Grayson had turned down a second date with Ed Mercer, Ed never became captain of the Orville. As a result, Doctor Claire Finn never joined the ship meaning Isaac did not develop a relationship with her or her sons. With no incentive to turn against his kind, Isaac was permanently deactivated while the Kaylon went on to win the Battle of Earth. Over the next nine months, the Kaylon terrorized the galaxy and possibly prepared for a confrontation with the Calivon.

Production[edit | edit source]

Though kept tightly under wraps, the transition of the Kaylon from a neutral species to antagonists of the Planetary Union was in the mind of creator Seth MacFarlane from the start of The Orville in April 2016.[13]

In the original script of the pilot, Old Wounds, Isaac's people were originally called the Kaylonians.[14]

Actor Mark Jackson introduced the Kaylon species to the public at the San Diego Comic Con on July 22, 2017. He explained that the Kaylon sent Isaac as an ambassador and observer to the Planetary Union, and that the species communicates with each other as a "hive mind."[15] This hive mind was first featured in The Road Not Taken.

Kaylon head turrets were designed by senior concept designer Lex Cassar in 2018. Early drafts of the guns had two spike-like focus arrays.[16] The turret would shoot a beam of energy that would vaporize targets,[17] but the vaporizing effect was removed as it was deemed "too brutal" for television audiences.[18]

"My initial designs for Kaylon head guns were originally quite simple," Cassar stated. "The panels just came out ... like side panels, and little, elegant rail guns. [Visual effects artists] took the designs and made them more like real guns."[19] The visual effects department found Cassar's original design "too simple," and made the eyes of the Kaylon gun barrels (something Isaac once said were purely aesthetic[20]).[19]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Isaac as seen in the comics.

  • The killing of the Builders by the Kaylons is similar to the organic Cylons' fate in the Original Battlestar Galactica. The phonetic resemblance of the names Kaylon with Cylon might have been chosen for lampshading purposes.
  • The decomposition rate of the Builders' remains suggests that the Kaylon exterminated them sometime in the last few thousand years.
  • It is worth mentioning that the Kaylon also follow the same story line as the Automated Personnel Units from the Star Trek: Voyager episode Prototype. The APU's Builders - the Cravic and the Praylor - were also executed by their creations.
    • One of the big differences between the two are that the Kaylon can assemble themselves, whereas the APU's require a builder.
  • The Kaylon use a unit of time known as cycles; for example, 32.7 cycles pass between Isaac's remote deactivation and his reactivation on Kaylon 1,[4] while .7 cycles pass between him using an EM pulse to deactivate all Kaylons (including himself) aboard the Orville and being revived by Yaphit.[2]
  • Kaylon have some reference to the Geth from the Mass Effect universe, the only difference is the Geth maintained an isolationist stance after the exodus of their creators but the Kaylons planned for a genocidal war.
  • The initial name of the Kaylon race echoes Star Trek's Vulcans, who were originally known as the Vulcanians in several early episodes. Kaylonian, however, did not make it to broadcast.
  • When the alternate Issac is downloaded into an empty Kaylon body, the formerly orange optics glow blue, suggesting that a Kaylon's running lights are determined by their software instead of their hardware.
  • A Gelatin could deactivate and reactivate a Kaylon.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Episode 1x01: Old Wounds
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Episode 2x09: Identity, Pt. 2
  3. Isaac. Episode 2x08: Identity, Pt. 1
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Episode 2x08: Identity, Pt. 1
  5. Ed Mercer. Episode 2x08: Identity, Pt. 1
  6. Episode 1x01: Old Wounds
  7. Episode 2x06: A Happy Refrain
  8. Kaylon Primary. Episode 2x09: Identity, Pt. 2
  9. In an alternate timeline, Ed Mercer comments that the Calivon are the military equals of the Kaylon. Episode 2x14: The Road Not Taken
  10. Episode 1x04: If the Stars Should Appear
  11. Isaac: "Sympathetic identification is not possible for a Kaylon." Episode 2x09: Identity, Pt. 2
  12. This engineering fact allowed Gordon Malloy to decorate Issac's face with Mr. Potato Head pieces without him realizing what had happened until the bridge crew pointed it out.
  13. @SethMacFarlane. "It was always locked and loaded, yessir. Surprise!". Twitter. Feb. 21, 2019.
  14. MacFarlane, Seth. The Orville 1x01 - Pilot. Fox Broadcasting Co. 2016.
  15. "SDCC 2017: The Orville - Peter Macon, Mark Jackson, Chad L Coleman". Whedonopolis Video. July 26, 2017.
  16. @GDNaturedVLLN. "@TheOrville Concepts for the Kaylon head cannons (headcanon jokes abound!).  The first two pieces are my intial exploration of the internal mechanisms. The last two are self explanatory.  #TheOrville #FOX #RenewTheOrville". Twitter. May 5, 2019.
  17. @GDNaturedVLLN. "Especially when you consider my initial proposal for how Kaylon weapons worked.". Twitter. May 5, 2019.
  18. @GDNaturedVLLN. "Yes it was deemed too brutal. :)". Twitter. May 5, 2019.
  19. 19.0 19.1 "Lex Cassar, Senior Concept Designer". Quantum Drive. Aug. 27, 2019.
  20. Episode 1x05: Pria
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