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"Quick thinking in a crisis is commendable."
"That's my job."
β€” Kelly Grayson and Talla Keyali[1]

Talla Keyali was a Xelayan Lieutenant in the Planetary Union. She grew up in a military family before joining the Union. She served as an Ensign Security Officer on the USS Wilson in 2416 and became Chief of Security of the USS Orville in November 2420, replacing interim security chief Tharl.

Early Life[]

Talla leads a team of security officers.

Talla described her family as "a bunch of black sheep."[2] Unlike the majority of her race who typically shunned the military while pursuing the sciences and arts,[3][4] Talla hailed from a long line of Xelayans who served in the military.[2]

Talla's parents "forced" her to learn the pelpifa, a musical instrument, while in school: "It was pretty much the whole reason I never got laid."[5]


Talla joined the Planetary Union at an unknown date. In 2416, Talla was an Ensign Security Officer assigned to the USS Wilson under Captain Mosley and First Officer Barrett. She spent several days studying the Okudum, a technologically primitive people whose planet featured large amounts of dysonium, and became friends with a local girl, Aki, and her family. Talla advised the Union not to mine the dysonium.[6]

Talla has also recalled that she once served under a male captain on a Union vessel that was badly damaged in a skirmish with the Krill. (This person may have been Captain Mosley.) A Janisi cruiser answered her ship's distress call, "a fiercely matriarchal species... totally dismissive of any and all males who appear to be dominant," but the crew did not know the cruiser was Janisi until the moment the commanding officer appeared on screen.[7] Talla acted immediately and punched her captain in the face, knocking him unconscious and breaking his nose. The Janisi repaired the ship's power grid, but the incident was reported under Talla's official record.[8]

By the time Talla left for the Orville, she described her reputation as "rough around the edges."[8]

Transfer to the Orville[]

The Union assigned Talla to the Orville in October 2420[8] after Captain Ed Mercer "begged the Union for another Xelayan,"[9] and she transferred to the ship by November.[8]

In late 2420, Talla was part of an away team that made first contact with the Regorians of Regor 2.[8]

From late January through February 2421, Talla served in the Battle of Earth on the Orville. When the Kaylon took over the ship, they imprisoned her along with the rest of the crew in the Shuttle Bay.[10][11]

Freeing the Okudum[]

Talla dressed as the legendary folk hero of the Okudum people: Xandia.

In mid-2421, the Orville returned to the Okudum to find the Nazh had enslaved them and forced them to mine the dysonium by hand. Talla found Aki, who said that mining had sickened her father and gifted Talla a book on the folk hero Xandia. Admiral Perry ordered the Orville not to intervene, as rescuing the Okudum could ignite a war with the Nazh. Perry's decision outraged Talla. After reading Aki's book, Talla was inspired to dress up as Xandia and lead the Okudum to freedom.[6]

Talla enlisted Chief Engineer John LaMarr and Doctor Claire Finn's help. Together, the three began a small campaign of frustrating the Nazh's efforts to control the Okudum and destroying their mining equipment. She had hoped her attacks would persuade them to leave, but the Nazh realized that she refused to take another life, and they stayed. The Nazh ultimately captured Talla by killing Aki's parents and using their corpses as bait for an ambush.[12]

Ilis, leader of the operation, nearly executed Talla in front of the Okudum, but she was saved by Aki, who had donned a Xandia costume of her own and assassinated Ilis. The surviving Nazh fled the planet. Talla apologized for being unable to save Aki's parents; Aki coldly ordered her to leave. Though Aki harbored no ill will against Talla, their friendship had dissolved and Aki was not the same.[12]

Personal life[]

Talla stated that she had been in relationships[13] and said she used to date a human.[2] As a result, she knew human-style dancing.[2] She had a policy of breaking up with her boyfriends by the summer to avoid gaining weight.[13]

She went on a date with Locar, a famed engineer, in either December 2420 or January 2421, but he was imprisoned by Moclan authorities for his heterosexual relationship.[2]

Alternate timeline[]

In the original timeline where Pria Lavesque did not rescue the Orville from a dark matter storm, the Orville and its crew were destroyed in the storm, so Talla never joined the ship.[14]

Talla in an alternate timeline.

In an alternate timeline where Ed Mercer did not become captain of the Orville, Talla never became chief of security of the Orville as Alara Kitan never left her position on the ship in September 2420. After the disastrous Battle of Earth where the Kaylon defeated the Planetary Union. Talla joined a crew of former Union officers led by Kelly Grayson. The group traveled by scavenger ship to obtain the materials needed to send Claire Finn back to the year 2414 to reset the timeline.[15]


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 Ed Mercer and Kelly Grayson[16]

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.

Creator Seth MacFarlane came up with the name 'Talla' after seeing the word talla appear on the tags of James Perse t-shirts (talla is Spanish for "size"). "I’m like, β€˜Talla? I don’t know what that is. It sounds like a name for an alien,’" MacFarlane recalled. "So, thank you James Perse for your contribution to The Orville."[17]

At an unknown date, 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.[18]

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.[19] Finally in a mid-December 2018 press release, 20th Century Fox officially affirmed that her name would be Talla Keyali.[20]

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."[21]

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?'"[18]

It takes roughly two to three hours to prepare Szohr's Talla make-up and costume each morning.[22] Szohr says that she sleeps through nearly the entirety of the make-up and costume application.[23]


  • Talla stated that in all of her past relationships, she gained weight: "You go out, you drink. You come home, you eat more, you drink more."[13]
  • Her security code to access the Environmental Simulator's recordings was Keyali-alpha-3-0.[2]
  • She had "a little" experience with handling a sword.[24]



  1. ↑ Episode 2x05: All the World is Birthday Cake
  2. ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Episode 2x07: Deflectors
  3. ↑ Episode 1x01: Old Wounds
  4. ↑ Episode 2x03: Home
  5. ↑ Talla Keyali. Episode 2x10: Blood of Patriots
  6. ↑ 6.0 6.1 Episode 2.5x03: Heroes, Pt. 1
  7. ↑ Talla Keyali. Episode 2x05: All the World is Birthday Cake
  8. ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Episode 2x05: All the World is Birthday Cake
  9. ↑ Kelly Grayson. Episode 2x05: All the World is Birthday Cake
  10. ↑ Episode 2x08: Identity, Pt. 1
  11. ↑ Episode 2x09: Identity, Pt. 2
  12. ↑ 12.0 12.1 Episode 2.5x04: Heroes, Pt. 2
  13. ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 Episode 2x06: A Happy Refrain
  14. ↑ Episode 1x05: Pria
  15. ↑ Episode 2x14: The Road Not Taken
  16. ↑ Episode 2x05: All the World is Birthday Cake
  17. ↑ Rawden, Jessica. "The Ridiculous Way The Orville's Seth MacFarlane Came Up With One Character Name". Cinema Blend. Oct. 15, 2020.
  18. ↑ 18.0 18.1 Darwish, Meaghan. "'The Orville' Newbie Jessica Szohr Breaks Down Her Character Talla & Working With Seth MacFarlane". TV Insider. Jan. 25, 2019.
  19. ↑ /u/tqgibtngo. "Szohr's character name might be "Talla Keyali"? – (photo evidence)". Reddit. May 2018.
  20. ↑ Cruz, Rachel. "'The Orville' Major Cast Change To Spice Up Bigger Season 2". Business Times. Dec. 24, 2018.
  21. ↑ Three If By Space. "The Orville EPs Goodman Braga & Cassar - SDCC 2018". YouTube. July 27, 2018.
  22. ↑ Sun - Main Stage | NYCC 2019 | SYFY WIRE. SyFy Wire. Oct. 6, 2019.
  23. ↑ @jleefilm. "In My Trailer! Ep 5! πŸŽ­πŸ’«πŸŽ¬ β€’We welcome one of my favorite people onto the show! Jessica Szohr stops by to talk about playing Talla, dreaming about Will Smith, and how to make a trailer feel like home πŸ’«. Boom! #RunThePoint #InMyTrailer #DoTheWork #TheOrville #Bts @InMyTrailer". Instagram. May 13, 2021.
  24. ↑ Episode 2.5x04: Heroes, Pt. 2
  25. ↑ Episode 2.5x04: Heroes, Pt. 2