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"If you are ready to begin the upgrade, Lieutenant Keyali will show you to engineering."
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I know you guys were close with your last chief of security, and I know my reputation is a bit rough around the edges, but I can promise you both that if anyone comes at you or tries to take you down, I'm gonna mess 'em up first.πŸ”ˆβ„ΉοΈŽβ€” Talla Keyali to Captain Ed Mercer and Commander Kelly Grayson[1]
Talla Keyali is a Xelayan Lieutenant and current Chief of Security aboard the USS Orville.

She is played by Jessica Szohr.

Early LifeEdit

My family's a bunch of black sheep.β€” Talla[2]
Unlike the majority of her race, who typically look down on such positions,[3][4] Talla hails from a long line of Xelayans who served in the military.[5]


Prior to the OrvilleEdit

...quick thinking in a crisis is commendable.
That's my job.
β€” Commander Kelly Grayson and Lieutenant Talla Keyali[1]
At some point during her post preceeding the USS Orville, Talla was responsible for saving the ship she was stationed on after they "had the crap kicked out" of them by the Krill, causing the ship to lose power up to and including life support. As it turned out, the only ship in range to answer the Union distress call was a Janisi cruiser. The crew, however, did not discover the identity of their potential rescuers until the moment screen communication was made with the commanding officer. Talla, being aware that the Janisi are a fiercely matriarchal species who would not acknowledge a male in a position of authority, realized that the Janisi would not answer her male captain and so promptly punched him in the face to assert dominance. Though she broke her captain's nose, this demonstration impressed the Janisi, who repaired the ship's power grid.[6]

Transfer to the OrvilleEdit

You had big shoes to fill, and I'm not kidding. And as far as I'm concerned, you filled them and then some.β€” Captain Ed Mercer to Talla Keyali[1]

Alternate timelineEdit

Talla alternate

Talla in the alternate timeline.


Talla Keyali shares some traits with her predecessor, Alara Kitan, such as sensitivity and loneliness. She quickly bonded with Ed Mercer and Kelly Grayson, was willing to enter a relationship with the Moclan Locar, and exhibited a willingness to be physically aggressive during the episode All the World is Birthday Cake, when she lifted and threatened a Regorian doctor who sought to take a sample of Mercer's tooth to determine his birth date. She appears able to speak her mind and may be more self-assured than Alara, possibly due to her past Union service experiences and the acceptance of her family.


The character of Talla Keyali was written to replace Alara Kitan as actress Halston Sage would be leaving by the third episode.

At an unknown date, creator Seth MacFarlane pitched the character of Talla to Jessica Szohr, describing the Xelayan officer and handing Szohr an episode. She was drawn to The Orville because of how its storytelling confronts contemporary social issues.[7]

In April 2018, leaked photos surfaced of Jessica Szohr's character in the middle of filming All the World is Birthday Cake went viral online. Fans learned she would play a Xelayan security officer not unlike Alara Kitan. In May, Szohr's character's name was inadvertently revealed to be "Talla" in a photo of a gift given to the main cast, wherein the main cast was identified by their character's first name. Days later, the partially obscured surname of "Keyali" or "Kexali" was seen in a photo published by director Jon Cassar.[8] Finally in a mid-December 2018 press release, 20th Century Fox officially affirmed that her name would be Talla Keyali.[9]

Executive producer David A. Goodman revealed the first official details of Talla at a 2018 San Diego Comic-Con roundtable interview: "Her name's Talla, which I think is out already. Xelayan like Alara. And Jessica's a great actress, she brings a lot to this part, and I think fans are really going to like her. That's about all we can tell you."[10]

Szohr has offered her own take on Talla: "[S]he's got a big heart, she's a little spicy, she wants to do the right thing and help people but yet she's like a little badass. ... She's pretty secure and stable in herself then all of a sudden she's literally ripping doors down and picking up things where you're like 'how is she doing that?'"[7]

It takes roughly two to three hours to prepare Szohr's Talla make-up and costume each morning.[11]


References Edit

  1. ↑ Episode 2x05: All the World is Birthday Cake
  2. ↑ Episode 2x07: Deflectors
  3. ↑ Episode 1x01: Old Wounds
  4. ↑ Episode 2x03: Home
  5. ↑ Episode 2x07: Deflectors
  6. ↑ Episode 2x05: All the World is Birthday Cake
  7. ↑ 7.0 7.1 Darwish, Meaghan. "'The Orville' Newbie Jessica Szohr Breaks Down Her Character Talla & Working With Seth MacFarlane". TV Insider. Jan. 25, 2019.
  8. ↑ /u/tqgibtngo. "Szohr's character name might be "Talla Keyali"? – (photo evidence)". Reddit. May 2018.
  9. ↑ Cruz, Rachel. "'The Orville' Major Cast Change To Spice Up Bigger Season 2". Business Times. Dec. 24, 2018.
  10. ↑ Three If By Space. "The Orville EPs Goodman Braga & Cassar - SDCC 2018". YouTube. July 27, 2018.
  11. ↑ Sun - Main Stage | NYCC 2019 | SYFY WIRE. SyFy Wire. Oct. 6, 2019.
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