The Orville Wiki
The Orville Wiki

This is the project that I came out to Hollywood to do. So if it doesn't work out, I'm going into politics.— Seth MacFarlane[1]

Seth MacFarlane is an American actor, comedian, writer, and singer, as well as the creator and executive director of The Orville. While MacFarlane primarily plays the role of Captain Ed Mercer, he also secretly performed the voice of Lieutenant Unk in the episode Primal Urges.[2]

MacFarlane is involved at every stage of development, at times even micromanaging the creative process behind the show. According to co-star J. Lee, MacFarlane wrote the majority of episodes alongside the writing staff, with some input from fellow actors.[3]

Additionally, MacFarlane is the Chief Executive Officer of Fuzzy Door Productions, the production company for the show.


A veteran of the industry, Seth began his career writing for Hannah Barbera before eventually creating the popular television series Family Guy, for which he also voice acts three of the main characters. He has gone on to also produce American Dad and a short lived Family Guy spinoff The Cleveland Show.

Seth MacFarlane has also starred in multiple feature length films such as Ted, Ted 2, and A Million Ways to Die in the West.

The Orville[]

Seth MacFarlane grew up with science fiction media, but by his own description, was most impressed by light-hearted sci-fi television which "casualizes" the future in a fun way.[4] He began tinkering with the idea for a show that would pay tribute to that science fiction with a show falling into a "hybrid" genre of comedy and drama.[4]

There's a casualization of sci-fi that no one does, and when I see it, it just sucks me right in. You should be able to do a show with none of your characters set up right. You should be able to do a show that takes place in one room with just two or three of your characters on the ship, and no space battles, no action, no nothing. You should be able to sustain it; and that, to me, is when sci-fi does it right.[5]

MacFarlane's aim was to create character-driven stories that happen to be set in the future, rather than stories driven by futuristic threats.[6] In March, 2016, MacFarlane penned the first draft of the pilot's script, a show where the central dynamic is the clash of personalities between a divorced captain and his first officer, people who are ex-spouses but forced to work together.[6]

In April, Fox announced that The Orville had been picked up for 13 episodes, with MacFarlane both producing and starring in the project. He later described pitching a hybrid-genre show to Fox as a "tough sell," but the success of Guardians of the Galaxy convinced Fox that comedy-drama science fiction could work on television.[7]

Management style[]

Nearly every production department head has said that MacFarlane as the showrunner actively manages every aspect of development. However, MacFarlane distances himself from the term "micromanagement" and says he simply wants creative output from team members who share his passion for the show:

Look, is it the FDR [Franklin Delano Roosevelt] method or the Hitler method? One of those people trusted his team and delegated and got the best work from everyone, and the other one micromanaged and eventually killed himself in a bunker, so which one do you want to be?[8]

In his article in Variety on MacFarlane's approach to managing projects (including The Orville), Scott Huver wrote:

MacFarlane’s strategy is to put someone in charge of a show and, “if that person is truly in charge,” not “force any creative decisions on them from afar.” That’s how he feels he will get the best work out of his team, as well as achieve “everything without putting myself into an early grave.”[9]

According to music editor Stan Jones, MacFarlane listens to demos of each episode's music without any visual or scripting queues, knowing exactly where the music occurs in each scene in his head. "He's the only person I've ever worked with who's like that."[10]


Seth MacFarlane was nominated for Saturn Awards for Best Actor on Television in both 2018 for Season 1 and 2019 for Season 2.


  • Seth MacFarlane is a fan of Star Trek and the Twilight Zone which he cites as inspiration for The Orville's style.
  • He says he is interested in making another movie after The Orville is over.[11]
  • One of his favorite characters is Teleya.[12]

External links[]

See also[]