The Orville Wiki
The Orville Wiki

Season 1 promotional poster.

It is a future where humanity has got its shit together enough where it can turn its eyes outwards towards space.Brannon Braga, Executive Producer, Director, and Writer[1]

The Orville is an American television series produced by 20th Television and currently airing on the streaming service Hulu, having previously aired its first two seasons on FOX. It follows the adventures of Captain Ed Mercer and the crew of the USS Orville as they explore space, battle enemies, and deal with their personal lives.

While many, including The Orville's own cast, consider the show to be genre-less,[n 1] most consider the series to be allegorical science fiction with comedic elements, intended to be "a return to classical storytelling" where stories parody or criticize real-world events.[2] The inability to fit neatly into a particular genre frustrated television critics, many of whom said the show did not know whether it wanted to be a comedy or science fiction.

Prior to launch, the show was billed as utopian science fiction and an homage to past science fiction television shows, particularly the series Star Trek and the Twilight Zone.[3] Unlike the majority of those shows, The Orville often relies upon comedic elements to create a lighthearted, inviting atmosphere; and the show's main characters are less "paragons of virtue" as they are portrayals of normal individuals in a highly-advanced age of space exploration.

Promotional logo.

The show is also known for its passionate fans and a number of official and unofficial spinoff releases. The series has seen the creation of:

The series was renewed for a second season on November 2, 2017. On June 28, 2018, the show won the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Television Series.[4] The series was renewed for a third season on May 11, 2019,[5] this time given a special title: New Horizons.

The Universe of The Orville[]

New York City in the year 2418.

Four-hundred years in the future, humanity has evolved to the point of space exploration and has developed intricate relationships with other space-faring species. Along with other highly advanced civilizations, Earth creates a federated Planetary Union for the purposes of exploration, scientific development, colonization of new worlds, and defense. By the year 2419, the Union is a rapidly expanding power in the galaxy, and boasts a fleet of 3,000 ships and numerous colony planets.[6]

In the early 25th century, the Union divides the Milky Way galaxy into quadrants, though the Union has colonized only one of them.[n 2] Union ships chart space as they explore, so the edge of explored space is known as the frontier.[n 3] Strange and dangerous uncontacted worlds can be found there, and the frontier is a mysterious territory left to Exploratory-class vessels and intrepid opportunists like miners from the Vega Mining Consortium.[7] On the edge of the frontier are the star J-2837 and a bio-ship, an ancient colony transport from a faraway, empty pocket of space.[8]

Humanity regards its recent past as a "dark time,"[n 4] one driven by greed, consumerism, and religion-inspired hatred for each other.[n 5] Member species of the Union gradually lost their religiosity as they progressed in technological development. The invention of matter synthesis changed the way people viewed wealth. Old media like reality television that glorified ignorance and vice are relics of that darker time.[9]

As technology advances, the Union sometimes probes the nature of time itself. The crew of the Orville caught a glimpse of one possible version of the 29th century,[n 6] where humanity has invented teleportation and a new kind of tractor beam; spacecraft have reached the point that the Orville's own technology seems primitive; and navigation through a dark matter storm—once considered impossible—has become a simple matter of logistics. However, Ed orders his crew to destroy a wormhole to that century which fundamentally alters the course of history,[7] and it is not known if that vision of the future still exists.


The Union was comprised of many member species: Humans, Xelayans, Moclans,[10] Gelatins,[11] Alibar,[12] and Retepsians,[10] and more. All Union species boasted similar levels of technology and worked together to achieve common goals, though not all shared the same values. The conservative Moclans were highly interested in war, and their primary industry was the manufacture of advanced weaponry,[13] while the Xelayans, despite their tremendous physical strength, loathed conflict and praised scientific advancement and the arts.[14] Their differences sometimes led to conflict. On more than one occasion, the Moclans threatened to secede during heated arguments over the status of women and girls.[11] The Alibar exited in December 2401 when the Pret administration decided membership compromised the security of their world.[12]

Teleya, a Krill school teacher.

Until early 2421, the primary antagonist of the Union is the Krill.[6][15] The Krill view all other life as soulless and condemned to be destroyed by their god, Avis.[15] Thus the Krill are in a nearly perpetual state of conflict with other species. Despite numerous military conflicts with the Krill, the Union actively avoids an official declaration of war.[n 7] After the Kaylon emerge as the leading threat to the quadrant, the two sign a historic Lak'vai Pact signifying a new dedication to peace between civilizations.[16]

There are at least two species with levels of technology far surpassing that of other space-faring civilizations: the Kaylon and the Calivon. The Kaylon are an android species capable of enduring millions of years,[17] and currently contemplate joining the Union.[6] The Calivon are a small humanoid species who view any species with less-advanced technology as inherently less valuable, on par with a Human's beloved pet dog or cat.[9] Additionally, Kandarians are assumed to have now surpassed the Union's level of technology.[17]

At the boundary of Union territory lay the Bruidians and Navarians. Both species are in a state of peace with the Union, but are openly hostile to each other. The Navarian-Bruidian conflict lasted many years, but a truce was declared in early 2420.[10]


The Union colony planet of Rana 3.

Space-faring civilizations are highly interested in colonizing uninhabited worlds. The Planetary Union operates colonies to mine valuable resources,[15] for scientific research,[6] and for demic diffusion of agriculture.[n 8] One notable colony is Epsilon 2, which houses the Epsilon Science Station. The Union established the Station as a world for scientists to be free of the pressure to produce results.[6]

Union colonies had weak defenses and are highly vulnerable to attack, especially from the Krill. The Krill believe the colonists of other species lay an unjustified claim to a planet's resources, and the Krill actively raid the colonies and kill the inhabitants.[15] Even the Station of Epsilon 2 was raided in September, 2419.[6]

Economy and resources[]

Matter synthesis is partly responsible for the end of resource scarcity and Earth's transition into a post-scarcity economy.

Union members, including Earth, entered a post-scarcity economy "long ago," where most resources are no longer hoarded and money is a thing of the past.[18] Commander Kelly Grayson explains that money "became obsolete with the invention of matter synthesis." However, she is careful to note that vices such as greed and ambition have not vanished: "The predominant currency became reputation. The only thing that changed was how we quantify wealth. People still want to be rich, only now rich means being the best at what you do."[19]

Food and matter are generated from stock material through matter synthesis. Food Synthesizers and Matter Synthesizers helped usher the Union into its post-economy although items that cannot be synthesized, such as unique goods, continue to be valuable even in the distant future.[n 9]

Some resources are mined, especially dysonium, the fuel source needed for faster-than-light travel.[7][20] Presumably, dysonium is mined because it cannot be synthesized in an energy-efficient manner, and it remains a highly prized commodity. The Union operates at least two mining colonies on Kastra 4 and Chara 3,[15] and permits the Vega Mining Consortium to mine on frontier planets and celestial bodies.[7]

Non-Union species seem to continue vestiges of money. For examples, the Horbalak are notorious for stealing valuable supplies and re-selling them to other species,[19] and the Vega Mining Consortium negotiates for mining rights on non-Union planets.[7]


With the advancement of technology came the improvement of health and general welfare of species. Cancer in Humans was "cured" in 2056 when a genetic engineer learned how to target and eradicate cancer cells.[13] Most species weaken as they travel in zero-gravity space, and ships simulate gravity to prevent loss of muscle volume and power. Xelayans are especially susceptible to muscle and bone atrophy; younger Xelayans who venture into space risk permanent deterioriation.[21]

Characters and Cast[]

The universe of The Orville features individuals from a wide variety of races and species throughout the Planetary Union. The primary characters and cast of The Orville are as a follows:

  • Captain Ed Mercer: Human captain of the USS Orville. Captain Ed Mercer was a bright and upcoming star within the ranks of the Planetary Union until he fell into depression after discovering his wife in bed with another man. His work ethic then became sloppy, leading him to be passed up, until his now ex-wife secretly recommended him for command. He is portrayed by American actor and The Orville creator Seth MacFarlane.
  • Commander Kelly Grayson: Human First Officer of the Orville. She serves under Captain Mercer, but for a time he has no idea that she spoke on his behalf regarding promotion. Grayson dreamed of captaining a ship as a child. She is known for being both level-headed and creative. She is portrayed by American actress Adrianne Palicki.
  • Doctor Claire Finn: Human Chief Medical Officer of the Orville. A family woman, she cares deeply for her two sons, Marcus and Ty, but is long divorced from her husband and former professor, Paul Christie. After divorcing Paul, she never found another man she considered suite to be her husband and conceived her children via artificial impregnation. Claire was a strong-willed and independent, but had a loving nature which made her a good doctor to her patients. She is considered in some ways to be the conscience of the Orville. She is portrayed by American actress Penny Johnson Jerald.
  • Lieutenant Commander Bortus: Moclan Second Officer of the Orville. Bortus is mated to Klyden and together the two raise their son Topa aboard the Orville. Bortus has an extended period of service aboard the Orville stretching back before Mercer's captaincy. His relationship with Klyden has become strained due to Topa having been born female, something forbidden within the Moclan society, which prides itself on being all male. Although Bortus was convinced by his crewmates not to go through with an operation to change Topa's gender, Klyden was adamant that Topa undergo the procedure. Bortus is then shocked to learn that Klyden was born female. He is portrayed by American actor Peter Macon.
  • Isaac: Kaylon Science Officer of the Orville. Isaac is the only member of his species, a species of synthetic life-forms, to serve within the Planetary Union. His role aboard the Orville is ostensibly to observe members of the Union in action to determine if the Kaylons should themselves become members of the Union. Although he is valued by the crew, he sometimes rubs them the wrong way by claiming that his people are superior over organic life. After he saves the lives Dr. Finn's children, the two of them begin an unusual relationship. He is portrayed by English actor Mark Jackson.
  • Lieutenant Gordon Malloy: Human helmsman of the Orville. Gordon is known for his juvenile sense of humor, but nevertheless possesses the skills needed to thrive aboard this advanced starship. He is a talented, if sometimes reckless pilot capable of navigating the Orville or any other vessel he may be flying out of danger in situations that might stymie other pilots. He was forced into manual labor after accidentally destroying cargo, but his old friendship with Captain Ed Mercer led him to tap him for the navigator position aboard the Orville. He is portrayed by American actor Scott Grimes.
  • Lieutenant Commander John LaMarr: Human Chief Engineering Officer of the Orville and the vessel's former navigator. At first glance, LaMarr is a casual man known for a way with women. He has a seemingly relaxed work attitude and is sometimes known for immature behavior, including one notable incident in which he was imprisoned during an away mission on Sargus 4 for dry-humping a statue of an important public figure. Secretly, however, LaMarr came from a culture in which ambition and intelligence were not rewarded, those possessing too much considered to be "too much of an egghead." When Commander Kelly Grayson discovered that he had earned some of the highest marks in the history of Union Point, she recommended him for the chief engineering position. Although some questioned the decision, he quickly settled well into the role, proving himself to also be a capable leader. He is portrayed by American actor J. Lee.
  • Lieutenant Talla Keyali: Xelayan Chief Security Officer of the Orville. She replaced interim chief Tharl, who in turn had replaced Alara Kitan, another Xelayan. Keyali comes from a line of Xelayans who reject the typical Xelayan notion of pursuing science and arts and shunning the military, making her one of only a few Xelayans serving within the Planetary Union. She previously served about the USS Wilson before joining the crew of the Orville. She never seems to have good luck in relationships with men, and describes having been forced to learn a Xeleyan musical instrument as the reason she "never got laid." She is portrayed by American actress Jessica Szohr in seasons 2 and 3.
  • Ensign Charly Burke: Human navigator of the Orville. She serves as John LaMarr's permanent replacement in the position following a series of interim navigators. Charly is notable as a rare individual capable of visualizing space and geometry in four dimensions. She transferred to the Orville following the destruction of the USS Quimby in the Battle of Earth and the loss of her best friend, Amanda. She harbors resentment against the Kaylon species and in particular Isaac as a constant reminder of what she lost. She is portrayed by American actress Anne Winters in season 3.
  • Lieutenant Alara Kitan: Xelayan former Chief of Security of the Orville. Alara Kitan possesses incredible strength, but weakened under the Earth-like gravity of the Orville. Despite this, her strength and skills earned her some incredible achievements, including winning the Sapphire Star for bravery. Alara was below the average intelligence of a typical Xelayan and often came into contact with her family and friends, who disliked her decision to pursue a military career over the more common Xelayan pastimes of arts and culture. Nevertheless, she was forced to return home when she could no longer withstand the effects of the Orville's gravity and finally came to an understanding with her family. She is portrayed by American actress Halston Schrage, known professional as "Halston Sage", in seasons 1 and 2.


Creator Seth MacFarlane, who also plays Captain Ed Mercer, presented a script of Old Wounds to Fox in April, 2016. He took a lead role in virtually all departments of production.

I have been a big sci-fi fan since I was a kid. I think secretly that was the show I wanted to do, but I figured there’s no way in hell anyone would swallow that from me.Seth MacFarlane[22]

Prior to development, Seth MacFarlane became interested in an episodic science fiction television series much like Star Trek of the 1960s through early 2000s. The interest was a long-dormant passion of MacFarlane's - and director Jonathan Frakes later said that MacFarlane had dreamed of creating a space odyssey from the time he was nine years old.[23] "When I was kid, the 90s were sort of a hey-day for thoughtful sci-fi," he later recalled at the 2017 Fox Upfront presentation of the show. "Everything that we were fed was utopian and aspirational, and now all we're getting is The Hunger Games."[24] After matriculation from the Rhode Island School of Design, MacFarlane moved to Hollywood with the goal of one day resurrecting aspirational science fiction.[25]

At least as early as 2011, MacFarlane expressed interest in creating a new Star Trek series: "I'd love to see that franchise revived for television in the way that it was in the 1990s: very thoughtful, smartly written stories that transcend the science fiction audience. I don't know who would give me the keys to that car."[26] After finishing Ted 2 in 2015, he approached CBS to restart Star Trek as a television series. "Hey, you know," he recalled pitching. "If nobody’s doing anything with the Star Trek franchise for TV, I’d love to take a crack at it."[27] The studio passed.

Though MacFarlane's desire never came into being, his interest in science fiction television matured. For several years, MacFarlane had spoken off-and-on with Brannon Braga, a producer on the Star Trek shows The Next Generation and Voyager, and David A. Goodman, a veteran of Enterprise, about creating a new show that reproduced the "Trek" style of storytelling and progressive philosophy;[28][29] a show that "celebrates human advancement and achievement, and intellectual evolution."[30] As modern Trek films moved in a darker, dystopian direction, it allowed a new show to produce lighthearted, prospective science fiction.[n 10]

Even at this very nascent period, years before production, MacFarlane had thought of several distinct concepts that became The Orville:

  • Two divorcees named Ed and Kelly who are forced to work together,[31]
  • An all-male Moclan species,[31]
  • An android with a superiority complex (what became Isaac), and[31]
  • A religious extremist species that regards all other life as inferior (what became the Krill).[32]

Ideally, the different character arcs would be set in a show that blended comedy and drama similar to the 1970s show M*A*S*H and Albert Brooks' 1991 film Defending Your Life.[n 11]

Early development[]

Brannon Braga worked extensively with MacFarlane from early on to produce The Orville.

Several months after CBS turned down MacFarlane's offer to take over Star Trek, the network announced that Bryan Fuller would spearhead a new franchise project: Star Trek: Discovery. In mid-March 2016, MacFarlane called Goodman to complain that Discovery would continue to be dark, action-heavy, and allegory-free. Goodman told him to make his own show instead. MacFarlane was initially skeptical such a show could succeed, but Goodman maintained "if you put people in a uniform on a spaceship, they're going to get it."[33][34]

MacFarlane immediately began working on an initial script for an unnamed feature-length show.[33][35][36] He was reading David McCullough's biography The Wright Brothers at the time and was moved by his description of Orville Wright as the "lesser" of the pair. "My God," he thought to himself, "What a perfect name for our spaceship."[36]

He pitched The Orville to Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, but turned them down after they demanded to release all episodes at once rather than episode-by-episode.[30] MacFarlane turned to network television.

Fox co-chairman Dana Walden recalled receiving MacFarlane's pitch for the show. He felt while Ed Mercer swore too frequently in the first draft, there was "a really broad, fundamental idea at the center of his story that could work for broadcast TV. [MacFarlane] was dealing with subject matter that was very much about current issues, and it felt like the kind of show that would create water-cooler buzz, which doesn’t happen as much these days."[37]

The network was eager to try a science fiction comedy-drama hybrid after the financial success of the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, and was intrigued by the proposal to return to episodic stories.[38] By April, Fox had picked up his idea for 13 episodes with a possible backorder of 13 more,[39] originally set some time after the year 2318.[40][n 12]

At that time, the show was simply titled Orville,[41] and would remain so until just a week before the show's first trailer in May 2017.[n 13] The last-minute name change came at the insistence of Fox studios, who felt The Orville to be a more accessible name.[41]

MacFarlane sprung the good news on Goodman and Braga suddenly, just two-to-three weeks after the pivotal March 2016 phone call when Goodman had convinced his friend to make the show.[33]

Last March, I'm having a conversation with Seth, he's saying, "I'm thinking of writing this script, sort of sci-fi with comedy." I said that's good. April: "I wrote that script and Fox picked it up for 13 episodes." So that's how it came together.[34]

He quickly wrote another script, If the Stars Should Appear, which later became the show's fourth episode. (At this early stage, MacFarlane wrote If the Stars Should Appear as the show's second episode.) MacFarlane showed the script to Goodman for feedback,[42] then the two collaborated on a third, which became About a Girl.[29]

Joseph Porro was hired early as the show's wardrobe designer.

When he completed About a Girl's script, MacFarlane enlisted Braga and Goodman as Executive Producers and Writers, and assembled a writing staff of Cherry Chevapravatdumrong, Wellesley Wild, Liz Heldens, and André Bormanis, which Goodman later described as a team of "half comedy writers and half drama writers."[29] Braga elaborated: "There can be no doubt we are paying tribute to the Star Trek ethos – and others such as The Twilight Zone ethos – but we don’t just want to rip shit off."[43]

Though kept tightly under wraps, one early idea was a transition of the Kaylon species from a neutral race to powerful enemies of the Union. The idea was set aside until Identity, Pt. 1 in Season 2.[44]

In early drafting, the staff proposed to change the Orville to a ragtag ship or its crew to a cadre of mediocre workers, but MacFarlane quickly shot that down.[23] He insisted the show reflect real life: Orville's crewmembers were skilled professionals who happen to have personal problems much like everyday professionals deal with their personal lives.[23] While the writing staff developed new scripts, MacFarlane began expanding the team to include other production roles, enlisting the people who would become the heads of various departments: Jon Favreau was signed to direct the pilot episode, Stephen J. Lineweaver as production designer, Marvin V. Rush as cinematographer, Natasha Francis as the visual effects producer, Luke McDonald as visual effects supervisor, Howard Berger as makeup artist, and Joseph Porro as wardrobe designer.[28] Nearly all of them had worked on Star Trek in the 1990s or with MacFarlane on projects like Family Guy.

MacFarlane micromanaged nearly every department from early on. Porro described the process: "This is how The Orville works: I am not the costume designer; Seth is the costume designer. The same is true with production design, special effects, music, scripts, a lot of the directing."[45] MacFarlane has said, "I don't micromanage for the sake of micromanaging. My favorite thing in the world is when I cast an actor, and I don't have to do anything. ...Some directors have to pee on everything. I'm not one of those people. It's a gift when someone helps us pee."[46]


Executive producer David A. Goodman recalled the creation of the show: "Last March, I'm having a conversation with Seth, he's saying, 'I'm thinking of writing this script, sort of sci-fi with comedy.' I said that's good. April: 'I wrote that script and Fox picked it up for 13 episodes.' So that's how it came together."

Writing The Orville is, I think, the happiest that I've been.— Seth MacFarlane[47]

The initial stages of writing began in March 2016 by MacFarlane and a working script for the pilot was finished at some point by April of that year. Under Fox's pressure, scripts were written in a six-act structure, corresponding to commercial breaks. "It's driving me crazy," MacFarlane complained. "You can't have a cliffhanger six times in an hour."[48] Executive producer Liz Heldens advised him to use emotionally turbulent moments to end acts instead, a tip she learned from her time on Friday Night Lights.[48]

By the end of the year, all of the first season scripts were finished. Actor J. Lee, who later went on to play John LaMarr, interviewed MacFarlane at the time. "Are you nervous?" Lee asked. "In some ways, I suppose," he replied.

From a writing standpoint, I've never experienced a smoother process. Why wasn't I in this genre from day one; why have I been in half-hour comedy? This feels like an old glove. There's a lot of money riding on it, but we've written 13 scripts. There isn't a giant red flag that makes me think, 'We've made a terrible mistake.'[48]

But MacFarlane also recognized that some times the things "you throw yourself into hardest" are the ones that also fail.[48]

Filming would not take place until 2017, which meant that the writers had unusual flexibility to tweak and perfect the scripts until filming began. "I think I’ve done more actual draft writing on the show than I ever had on the animated shows [like Family Guy]," MacFarlane reflected in September 2017. "Here we had all 13 drafts written before we even started shooting. I was able to go off and write about seven or eight of them. That was a real joy."[27] The reason for the early writing dates was strategic. MacFarlane wanted to be actively involved in the writing process but, because he plays Ed Mercer, knew he could not be present when filming.[49]

All scripts are written in advance of filming and writing rooms "shut down" once shooting begins.[50] Nevertheless, the writing staff continued to forge scripts during filming and post-production, completing scripts for four new episodes in Season 2 by November 2017 when the show was renewed by Fox for a second season.[29] Stories were written around Ed and Kelly's tumultuous professional and romantic relationships, which quickly became an "emotional epicenter" for the writers.[51]

The first few episodes of the first season turned out to be more comedic and spiritful than later episodes. This was no accident. MacFarlane penned lighthearted scripts to secure funding from Fox. "[T]he early episodes were an experiment to get the response we wanted from the studio," he later recollected while filming Season 2. "And they’ve given us more time and resources to film more complex scenes."[52] Although a year later, MacFarlane said the early, funnier scripts reflected his own anxieties. "A lot of it, initially, was fear that no one would take me seriously if I wrote a sci-fi show."[35]

MacFarlane later recalled sensing a "self-imposed" pressure to bring Family Guy-esque humor to the show. Director Jon Favreau after reading the pilot script, told MacFarlane that the heavy comedy in the script told him that MacFarlane was scared to tell the serious story he had written. "I took that to heart as the show went along," MacFarlane added.[53]

The Orville is written as an episodic, semi-serialized television show with allegorical themes. Roughly 30 to 40 percent of each season is serialized content that draws from earlier episodes, such as character arcs and long-running narratives like the Union's battle with the Krill. Most episodes are allegorical and criticize facets of culture, especially of American culture.[54]

Crew and cast have repeatedly described said that deviations from the originally written script are rare. Actors sporadically pitch ideas during table reads but, as Penny Johnson Jerald (Claire Finn) later remarked, "it's got to be a really great pitch."[55]

While the writing staff was initially recruited to be half comedy writers and half drama writers, by Season 2, the ratio became closer to 30:70 as producers valued drama over comedy.[50]

The writing process[]

Legendary director Jon Favreau joined the set to direct its pilot and remain as a consultant.

According to MacFarlane, an idea for an episode begins with a strange "alien custom" that will function as a plot vehicle or an allegory.[56]

Goodman described the writing process behind each episode as starting with the question, "What are the dramatic elements?," then writing the episode, and lastly peppering the script with humor.[57] On the other hand, Braga said that the writers sometimes draw inspiration from small things like the nuance in someone's make-up or a little detail remembered from an earlier episode, while other times "we sit around and just go ‘what the f*** are we gonna do?'"[58]

Names, technobabble and languages[]

When asked about how he invents the names of characters from alien worlds, MacFarlane said that the names have no real meaning but that he randomly types letters on his keyboard. "If I'm looking for an alien name I go like this," MacFarlane said, while closing his eyes and pretending to type blindly on his keyboard. "And try to make something of the jumble of letters that come up on the screen. There's no art to it."[59]

Writers took a range of stances regarding technobabble, using nonsense words that sound specialized to advance the story. Braga claimed to actively resist the use of technobabble[43] while Bormanis embraced it "part of a long tradition of science fiction storytelling bring real science and engineering credibility to their stories."[60]

Writers created unique languages for each world visited by the Orville, the most complex of them is likely "Krillain," the language of the Krill. Numerous Krill writings may be found on the walls of the Krill chapel and an entire page of the Anhkana, the Krill holy text.

Scripts for actors came with a "mini-dictionary" in the front to help them understand their lines.[61]


For more information on season-specific production, see main articles: Season 1; Season 1.5; Season 2; Season 2.5; Digressions; Artifacts; Season 3 (also known as New Horizons); Season 4.

Propmaster Bryan Rodgers stands behind many items he designed and built for the show.

With many episode scripts written, the larger Orville crew began to take the writers' ideas and turn them into sets, props, costumes, and more. Preparatory meetings were held with department heads that the crew called 'long lead' meetings, "It was a time for department heads to discuss design and solve creative challenges within an individual episode and for us, as a team to generate solutions," Producer Jason Clark later recalled.[62]

According to Braga, the universe of The Orville is not completely mapped out. Rather, details are developed as each episode is written. "Finely detailed specifics [are] one of those things where we don’t have everything figured out. Very much like other shows I have done, the backstory is invented along the way."[43] Writers frequently modified the script during later stages of production, making minor tweaks to the script and fleshing out ideas, and using material to write new episodes. By November, 2017, writers had completed 16 scripts.[29]

In a table interview on July 23, 2017, between producers Clark and Goodman, Clark explained that the show is episodic yet strives to maintain strong character memory, where character storytelling runs across the entire season or seasons. Goodman continued the thought by contrasting The Orville's storytelling process against classic sci-fi like Star Trek: "The Seth MacFarlane plan means that the interaction of these characters is original. You haven't seen this kind of interaction between characters in this kind of show before, and that's what makes this show really special.[3]


Some roles were written with particular actors and actresses in mind. In particular, MacFarlane to play Ed, Kelly for Adrianne Palicki, Navigator John LaMarr for J. Lee, and Helmsman Gordon Malloy for Scott Grimes. Others were open to audition from the start, such as Second Officer Bortus, his mate Klyden, and Science Officer Isaac.[39] (To date, it is not known whether the characters of Chief of Security Alara Kitan and Doctor Claire Finn were intended for these actresses.)

During the first cast meeting, MacFarlane outlined his vision for the characters: "This is a show with an ensemble. I may be the captain, but I am not the star of the show. You may find some episodes where you are actually the star of the show, but you may also find some episodes where I’m probably giving you free money."[63]

Actors were cast six-to-eight weeks before shooting so that the wardrobe and makeup departments had time for measuring costumes and molding prosthetics.[64]

Animation and Modelling[]

Animating Lieutenant Yaphit, an entirely CGI character, quickly became an expensive process that forced writers to limit the number of scenes in which he appears.

MacFarlane insisted on utilizing physical models of spaceships as much as possible. "There is still something artificial and cartoonish about CGI," MacFarlane remarked.[65] Production relied upon an in-house team of artists and Halon Entertainment to construct actual models of the USS Orville and other vessels. However, space battles and certain effects like explosions were too difficult or expensive to reproduce in real life, and CGI was used for more challenging shots.

Make-Up, Costumes and Wardrobe[]

As soon as Howard Berger was recruited for make-up department head and visual make-up effects artist in 2016, he envisioned a highly creative make-up team that created highly technical and complex aliens. According to Berger, MacFarlane was unaware this was possible, expecting instead simple nose- and forehead-pieces seen in Star Trek. In late November, Berger turned his wife and two male co-workers into Krill and presented her to MacFarlane. "Dude, this is fucking unbelievable," he said. "Are we going to do this every week?" Berger replied, "No, we are going to do this every single day."[66]

Various alien headpieces displayed during the August 8, 2017 press tour of the set.

Over the course of a year, visual effects artists created roughly 5,000 prosthetic pieces for characters. Items were first drawn by Berger for approval from MacFarlane; and then sculpted in clay to form a mold, which allowed the team to fashion synthetic prosthetic. Bortus was especially challenging, taking five months to create.[67] Science consultant André Bormanis later reflected on the creative process of MacFarlane and Berger:

Seth did a lot of work and brainstorming with Howard Berger, our brilliant makeup designer/artist. Seth had very clear ideas about how the alien species on the show should look, and since he's also an artist, he's very good at visualizing his concepts. He never wanted the look of an alien to be intentionally funny. The idea was always to make our aliens look believable, to have a plausible biological reality.[68]

By the middle of August, Berger's team made over 40 different alien species who live on the ship.[69]

Porro observed that MacFarlane was highly interested in particular aspects of costume design: "The thing he really cares about is the uniforms, the badges, the ranking. We went through 50-60 uniform designs," later adding that MacFarlane took a keen interest in the costumes of the Krill and Moclans, "but for the really crazy aliens, he just lets me do them."[45] The demands were even higher for the uniforms of the Planetary Union. Porro went through over 100 designs before MacFarlane was satisfied.[70]

Various costumes showed off during the press tour, including Valondis's and Pria Lavesque's above.

Costumes were tailored to match the architecture of an alien's world;[70] others were designed as a "hat-tip" to the uniforms of Star Trek.[71] Some costumes were half mechanical and the other half prosthetic and makeup. For example, the costume of Ock'or is in fact a bear suit with an alien head; its enormous mouth is operated by a cable. Kanoot is also mechanical: opening and closing the eyes of his costume by internal cables.[72]

For authenticity, the wardrobe department worked with high-tech fabrics rather than traditional fabrics like wool. Pieces were fashioned in China and then more accurately tailored by an in-house costume department. Tailoring the costumes was especially stressful. From the time the clothes arrived from China, staff had only eight days to create every outfit.[45][73] Because The Orville features 30-40 new background characters each episode, costume turnover was extremely high. For single-episode alien creatures like the Calivon, after each episode, the costumes were destroyed.[45]

The artists fit costumes and apply hair and make-up on actors in a rented studio trailer called "The Pegasus."[74] Application of the prosthetic pieces and make-up is an hours-long process. For example, turning Macon into Bortus took about four hours, which was gradually whittled down to 90 minutes as the artists became more experienced. For Sage, it took between two-to-three hours to become Alara Kitan.[75]


General, non-music audio was created and added by supervising dialogue and ADR editor Joel Shryack and supervising sound designer Jon Greasley of King Soundworks. To create the sounds of The Orville, MacFarlane and editors brainstormed general ideas of what sounds they wanted and then let supervising sound designer Greasley work from there. Footage was often sent in advance to give him time to craft new noises and receive feedback.[76]


Seth MacFarlane (above, far left) was happy to give wide creative leeway to composers Bruce Broughton, Joel McNeely, Andrew Cottee (above, left), and John Debney. The four would later win the IMFCA award for television score for their work in Season 1.

The Orville leadership decided early on to insist on thematically composed music performed live in studio to give the show a movie-like feel.[77] Music is scored by four separate composers, Joel McNeely, John Debney, Bruce Broughton, and Andrew Cottee, and performed by a 75-piece orchestra, one of the largest in Fox's television history.[77]

Composition of an episode's score takes roughly three weeks to complete,[78] but recording the live orchestra takes only three days.[79] For the pilot episode, MacFarlane returned to Broughton. The composer had only composed for feature-length film, and he later recalled the challenge of writing for episodic television:

[T]here were some scenes that were obviously lighthearted and I tried to more or less ignore that and focus on the drama ... The last thing I wanted to do was step on any comedic lines or timing, and this seemed like a good way to do that.[23]

Theme song[]

The show's theme song was written by Broughton, who was given the freedom by MacFarlane to simply compose a dramatic work and conduct the orchestra, with no other contractual obligations.[23] At MacFarlane's request, Broughton composed the theme music based on the music the show Lost in Space[80] and to feel "a little bit like a march."[77]


With a production crew of roughly 300 union workers, hand-made sets and costumes, and resplendent alien worlds, the show was expensive relative to other Fox productions and the set alone cost $5 million to erect.[64]

The California Film Commission's stated that Season 2 cost $69,168,711 million - or about $5.7 million per episode.[81] (Note that the Commission's figures are obscure: $69 million per 13 or 14 episodes is not $5.7 million.) Regardless, Season 2's final costs were far below third-party estimates of roughly $80 million.[64]

To keep production costs low, the show's producers originally considered filming in New Mexico and Colorado until the Californian government approved The Orville for tax credits through the state's Film and Television Tax Credit Program.[64] It is unknown how much money was approved by the state of California for the show's first season. California granted $14.5 to film Season 2. On December 10, 2018, California granted another $15.8 million to The Orville for a third season.[82]

Under the program, The Orville receives tax credit for filming outside of southern California's 30 Mile Zone, filming outside of greater Los Angeles, and doing visual effects inside the state. That meant that the show filmed in uncommon counties like Kern and Ventura and, for snow scenes, in Mammoth.[64]


For more information on filming, see the sub-section Production of specific episode articles.

According to director Jon Cassar, as directors for the show were hired, MacFarlane and others sought only directors with backgrounds in drama, not comedy.[83]

Filming for the first season began in January 2017 and ended on August 23. According to Penny Johnson Jerald (Claire Finn), the entire cast fell silent when they stepped onto the massive set of the Orville for the first time.[84] Filming for the second season began in late January 2018.

Each episode shoots about 30–40 hours of footage on two or three cameras, with some as much as 60–100 hours.[85]

To film with motionless CGI characters, crew use a tennis ball or an eyeline tool to indicate to the actors where the character will sit. For moving CGI characters, crew use a laser pointer or nothing at all.[86]

According to Palicki during filming in Season 1, the cast followed a schedule of Monday through Friday, and then enjoys dinner together on Saturdays.[71] By Season 2, the show adopted an eight-day schedule with five-to-six days on set and two-to-three days on location.[64]

In January 2019, Jackson was asked if the cast hangs out after filming. He affirmed they do, but that it happens mostly at the start of a season before increasing demands "snowball" and the cast becomes too busy. "[I]f you’ve been on set for 15 hours a day for five days, the last thing you really wanna do is hang out in a bar with each other! But we do, there’s often a day when we’re like shall we pop round to the hotel next door for a drink and we go out to dinner and those are really special nights, we really have a good time."[87]


While first half of Season 1 was funny and lighthearted, that balance evolved into darker episodes like Into the Fold. MacFarlane recognized that he felt the tonal balance was at its best in late Season 1 episodes like New Dimensions, and he sought to recreate that balance for the next year.[46] By the close of Season 2, the show had become noticeably graver than it began. "We set out to do a sci-fi show that had comedic elements to it," MacFarlane reflected.

How we intended for it to manifest itself changed a lot from Season 1 to Season 2. The stories we told in Season 1, I stand by. The way we executed some of them, I wince a little bit because we settled into this self-admission that we are a dramatic sci-fi show with comedic elements that come through the personalities of the characters.[46]

MacFarlane himself stated that he penned lighthearted scripts to secure funding from Fox. "[T]he early episodes were an experiment to get the response we wanted from the studio," he later recollected while filming of Season 2. "And they’ve given us more time and resources to film more complex scenes."[52]

Editor and associate producer Tom Costantino said in an interview that - as he understands from others - in the early stages of development, MacFarlane and the writing staff worried that audiences would not accept anything less "than Family Guy in space."[88]

The shifting tonal balance impacted staff as well. Even as filming of the pilot progressed, the cast and crew expressed concerns about the mix of comedy with drama. "There wasn’t just confusion on the actors parts, there was confusion across the board even with Seth. We still knew what we were making we just didn’t know if it would work. Let’s say that," actor Scott Grimes (Gordon Malloy) said.[89]

In a 2019 interview, Grimes recalled long conversations with MacFarlane and Favreau every day about the degree of "comedic exaggeration" from Gordon: "[W]e wanted people to take it seriously and the dramatic tone and the science. But, we also wanted to make a different show."[89] He went on to say that the appropriate tonal balance was made clear only halfway through the first season, and that mid-season balance became the tonal foundation for Season 2.[89]

Season 3 has been noted for a further shift towards more dramatic and serious storytelling. In another interview, Scott Grimes stated that he felt that this was the right move for Seth MacFarlane, from a creative standpoint. He felt that had they stuck with the model for the first season, the series would have not gone anywhere, that it "...would have just been another American Dad or Family Guy but live-action, and there’s just nowhere to go with that."[90]


There are eight of us who are series regulars, but I have to say that special effects really is our 'ninth' regular person.Penny Johnson Jerald[91]

Editing of the episodes began as soon as filming of the pilot finished in January and continued at least through November 20, when Goodman and MacFarlane admitted that they were still editing the final episode, Mad Idolatry.[92]

Season 1 was edited by three lead department heads, Tom Costantino, Scott Powell, and Shonnard Hedges, on seven computers with Avid editing software[85] and an iMac used for dailies transfers.[54] Hedges left in Season 2.

True to his close management style, MacFarlane was personally involved in the editing process. "Seth will come in to look at an early cut of a show, and go through it, discussing what he intended," visual effects editor Rob Kraut recalled. "He is a collaborative person and wants the best ideas on the screen. He’ll decide what the best idea is, but he will take suggestions from us."[54] According to CineMontage,

MacFarlane’s detailed interest in editing, visual effects and audio runs so deep that he will often sit with the team and ask them to experiment, even doing temp audio mixes, just so he can have the sensibility 'of someone in tune with the picture,' including his evaluation of the soundtrack, visual effects and more.[93]

The first season featured roughly 4,000 visual effects shots for editing with up to 600 shots in a single episode, while the second increased to 7-8,000 shots.[54]

After an episode's post-production was completed, the material underwent what the team called a 'Seth pass' wherein MacFarlane would make final comments. According to Costantino, Fox executives make very few comments or suggestions, and largely grant MacFarlane free reign over the project.[94]

Preparing to air[]

The May trailer and disagreement[]


The Orville trailer

The first trailer for the show heavily promoted it as a comedy.

It was my only bump with the initial campaign.Seth MacFarlane, on the May 2017 trailer[95]

As late as early 2017, most of the crew remained tight-lipped about the show, but Fox began to promote it as primarily a comedy. Fox aired a promotional video in May, which clashed with the show's producers' vision of a drama laced with comedic elements. To their chagrin, The Orville's crew found themselves portrayed by their own company as a lighthearted, screwball comedy.

Their disagreement came to a head at the first public unveiling of The Orville at the Fox Upfront presentation on May 16. In Seth MacFarlane's first public comment he stated only that The Orville "is not Family Guy in space, it's kind of its own show."[96] Minutes later adding that "the show is being promoted leaning on the comedy, and we like the promo a lot. I think that people will be surprised that we're digging a little deeper."[97] While the show cannot be defined by a particular genre, he continued, the writers aimed first for thoughtful science fiction, and Fox inaccurately cast the show as comedy-driven.[24] After the Fox Upfront presentation, MacFarlane and others returned to production of the show until July.

Once Fox renewed The Orville for a second season, the cast grew more vocal about their early disappointment. Braga complained that Fox "made it look like it was a satire and wall-to-wall comedy, and it's not."[n 14] MacFarlane said that the May trailer "was my only bump with the initial campaign ... it was pretty to look at, but it didn't represent the tone of what we were doing."[98]

"The show was a little misrepresented in Season 1," MacFarlane reflected a year later.

It was marketed ... as a hard comedy. I'm not sure why. Maybe there was a bit of worry that this was something so weird and different that it would land if it wasn't put into a box. ... The nice thing is, the fans stuck with it and they saw what we were, the tonal balance we were riding, and they embraced it.[99]

Editor and associate producer Tom Costantino reported that after the May trailer, all promotional materials were forwarded to the producers for approval before release.[94]

Summer 2017[]

Building up to the show's premiere, Fox, the cast, and the crew worked to generate enthusiasm, but on July 11, Deadline broke the news that famed actress Charlize Theron would guest star.[100] Theron's appearance was supposed to be kept tightly under wraps, but the crew decided to confirm the rumor the day before San Diego Comic Con.[101] (Fascinatingly, it was Seth MacFarlane who first revealed on May 10 that Theron would appear on the show, two months before Deadline's story.[102])

Fox scheduled the show's premiere to air after Sunday night football, a tremendous lead-in that Palicki called "the best night in television."[103] Hopes were high that the show would be a strong ratings success and potentially last for years.[104]

San Diego Comic Con[]

No one seems to know what the show is going to be like, which we all love because you guys need to tune in and find out for yourselves.Mark Jackson[105]

With eleven episodes completed, the main cast and executive producers appeared at the San Diego Comic Con on July 22 for panel and round robin interviews.[106] It marked the first time the cast discussed particulars of the show's story, promising an allegorical show that highlights clashes of culture and different moral values,[103] and none commented on the news of Theron's guest appearance aside from acknowledge her presence.[107] When Entertainment Weekly asked about her upcoming appearance, MacFarlane interrupted, "I know. You guys leaked it; you tell me what happens. You got that one scoop, now get the rest of it."[103]

The Comic Con was the first time actors introduced their characters to the public,[n 15] but they also made deliberate, tantalizing hints about the show:

  • MacFarlane revealed that a character named Bortus is the focal point in a social criticism of gender and sexual identity, the episode About a Girl.[25]
  • Halston Sage (Alara Kitan) hinted slyly of the plot of Firestorm, saying audiences will learn that "not everything is as scary as it seems... or could be," followed by laughter.[108]
  • Scott Grimes (Gordon Malloy) re-enacted a scene from Pria where Gordon's voice gets high pitched and strained due to nervousness, akin to Steve Smith from the show American Dad![104]
  • J. Lee (John LaMarr) said that the episode most recently filmed, New Dimensions, would show John develop and mature as an individual.[109]

MacFarlane told reporters that the goal of The Orville is to rediscover the joy of cinematic television while discovering something brand new each week.[25] "We want a tale well told," said Brannon Braga. "Standalone episodes. A rarity nowadays, a novelty."[110]

One reporter told the executive producers that the trailer clashed with the crews' descriptions of the show as a drama-laden: "The marketing conveys this is a comedy, guys." Braga replied that marketing just started and messaging would change; Goodman noted that it is easier to show snippets of comedy than drama.[110]

Cryopreservation contest[]

First revealed at the San Diego Comic Con,[111] Fox launched the website (archived) with a sweepstakes promising one lucky winner the chance to be cryopreserved for 400 years through Alcor Cryonics, or a check for $25,000. Additionally, the winner and a guest would receive a free flight for a 3-night, 2-day stay in Los Angeles, California to attend "The Orville premiere event," and a check for $1,000. The website estimated its total value at $29,000. Nine other winners would receive prize packs including a signed poster, t-shirt, and water bottle.

While it is uncertain who won the contest a web forum user "patricjames" claims to have won and took the $25,000 check.[112]

Television Critics Association presentation[]

MacFarlane presented the first three episodes to a bevy of professional critics at the Television Critics Association.[113] "Each week you are seeing a little movie," he promised.[113] As time drew near to the show's premiere, MacFarlane acknowledged he was growing nervous about the fans's reactions, but added that everyone has "a healthy degree of nerves with anything that you care about."[114]

Lead-up to premiere[]

By mid-August, cast and crew interviewed more frequently. Fox released promotional videos, and sponsored vloggers and YouTube personalities to visit the show behind the scenes and watch the pilot.[115]

As the series premiere date of September 10 neared, understandably nervousness for the success of the show increased as well. "I don't know [if Fox will give The Orville a chance]," MacFarlane answered a reporter's question.

If we are in that middle area where we are still finding ourselves and there seems to be something great, but we just haven’t hit on it yet? Then I think that is the hardest area to be in because how hard do you fight. I am hoping that we come out of the box that we are so different than anything that is on TV today that we hit our stride on day one, but you never know.[116]

On September 9, he voiced his anxiety that what he wrote may be too lighthearted for modern audiences. "Does optimism still have meaning for people? It could feel outdated, like a nineteen-thirties musical that’s devoid of cynicism and is looking at the world through rose-colored glasses and is oblivious to what’s going on."[30]

Series premiere[]

The series premiere was a ratings success. Old Wounds debuted on a Sunday night to 8.56 million television viewers, a very high number and the strongest series premiere for Fox since Empire in 2015.[117] "It's really exciting," actress Halston Sage (Alara Kitan) said shortly after the numbers came in. "Just because we've been working on this show for so long. It's finally out there and people are liking it; it gives you butterflies."[118]

Science fiction fans and television audiences alike thoroughly enjoyed the premiere, although professional critics gave generally negative reviews. The marked disparity between critics and audiences quickly became a running theme for the rest of the series, and The Orville is now regarded as one of the most asymmetrically reviewed modern television programs.

Move to Hulu[]


The Orville was originally the intellectual property of 20th Century Fox television and film studios, a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox, for Season 1 and most of Season 2. On March 20, 2019, The Walt Disney Company purchased 21st Century Fox for $71.3 billion, acquiring assets such as The Orville.[119]


In response to an audience question at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, MacFarlane stated that the production team keeps open the possibility for a feature length film,[56] a comment echoed by executive producer David A. Goodman, director Jon Cassar, and the main cast at the 2019 New York Comic-Con.[120]

MacFarlane recognizes the possibility of spin-off television show, though he downplays its likelihood.[56]


Season 1[]

In addition to the list below, Fox unsuccessfully submitted the following to the Emmy Awards for nomination consideration: The Orville for best drama series; Seth MacFarlane for best actor; Adrianne Palicki and Penny Jerald Johnson for best supporting actress; Chad L. Coleman, Scott Grimes, and Peter Macon for best supporting actor; and Rob Lowe for best guest actor.[121]

Year Award Category Nominees Result
2018 International Film Music Critics Association Awards Best Original Score for Television Bruce Broughton, John Debney, Joel McNeely, Andrew Cottee Won
Saturn Awards Best Science Fiction Television Series The Orville Won
Best Actor on Television Seth MacFarlane Nominated
Best Actress on Television Adrianne Palicki Nominated
Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards Best Special Make-up Effects - Television and New Media Series Howard Berger, Tami Lane, Garrett Immel Nominated
Publicists Guild Awards Television Erin Moody Nominated
Broadcast Digital Awards Best Television Acquisition The Orville Nominated
Young Entertainer Awards Best Recurring Young Actor 11 or Under - Television Series Kai Wener Nominated
Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Television Series - Recurring Young Actor Kai Wener Nominated

Season 2[]

Year Award Category Nominees Result
2019 Emmy Awards Outstanding Visual Effects (Identity, Pt. 2) Luke McDonald, Tommy Tran, Kevin Lingenfelser, Nhat Phong Tran, Brooke Noska, Melissa Delong, Brandon Fayette, Matt Von Brock, Joseph Vincent Pike Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Science Fiction Television Series The Orville Nominated
Best Actor on a Television Series Seth MacFarlane Nominated
Best Actress on a Television Series Adrianne Palicki Nominated
Dragon Awards Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series Seth MacFarlane, Brannon Braga, David A. Goodman, André Bormanis Won
Hollywood Professional Association Outstanding Visual Effects - Episodic (Over 13 Episodes) Tommy Tran, Kevin Lingenfelser, Joseph Vincent Pike, Brandon Fayette, Brooke Noska Won
2020 ASCAP Screen Music Award Bruce Broughton, Joel McNeely Won
International Film Music Critics Association Awards Best Original Score for a Television Series John Debney, Joel McNeely, Andrew Cottee Nominated


  • The original name of the show was simply Orville,[41] and would remain so until just a week before the show's first trailer in May 2017.[n 13]
    • The last-minute name change came at the insistence of 20th Century Fox, who felt The Orville to be a more accessible name.[41]
  • The Orville as seen in the night sky above Spooner Street.

    MacFarlane and Adrianne Palicki have confirmed that alcoholic beverages on film were in fact really alcoholic, usually whiskey.[59]
  • According to Peter Macon, English is no longer used as a first language in the 25th century.[122]
  • The name of the show comes from David McCullough's portrayal of Orville Wright in his book The Wright Brothers, which MacFarlane was reading at the time he wrote the pilot script.[36]
  • When MacFarlane was asked why characters on The Orville listen to music from the 20th century, he asked in reply: "Have you ever seen a sci-fi show that did 'future music' well? Better to embrace 'the classics.'"[123]
  • The iconic font used in the credits is called Space Age,[124] originally created before 2005 and based on the logotype of Epcot's "Mission: Space" ride in Disney World.[125]
  • Composer Bruce Broughton's wife Belinda Broughton was concertmaster for the recording of the show's music.[126]
  • Broughton's theme music features the famous blaster beam instrument created by Craig Huxley for Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
    • Huxley himself played the blaster beam for the recording of The Orville's theme music.[127]
  • Director Jon Cassar recounted an anecdote when creating wedding rings for the show. The "prop guy" (probably Bryan Rodgers) approached MacFarlane "with these crazy, wild ideas for wedding rings." MacFarlane looked at Cassar and said, "No, in the future when do we use the wedding rings? Don't be stupid."[120]
    • Funnily enough, it is unknown which characters were intended to wear the wedding rings:
      • Ed and Kelly may seem like obvious candidates, but Cassar only joined the show in time to direct Krill. Back then, the show had recruited Cassar as a guest director to manage a single episode. Scenes of Ed and Kelly as a married couple were shot by director Jon Favreau many months before he joined, and there are no scenes where Ed and Kelly would wear wedding rings after. His anecdote has not yet been dated to a particular married couple or episode.
      • The most likely pair are Bortus and Klyden as their Moclan alienage might explain why Rodgers felt compelled to design eccentric rings. On the other hand, this explanation suffers from the same problem as Ed and Kelly: Cassar would not have been present for that conversation because Bortus and Klyden already had significant character episodes before Cassar joined (especially About a Girl); and there is no reason the crew would have added wedding rings to their costumes later on and break continuity.
      • An unmarried character may have been intended to be married in early drafts that were changed prior to filming. The best candidate would be Talla, as Cassar directed or was present for all of her episodes.
      • A final possibility is an unfilmed scene that was either planned and then scrapped or will be shot for an upcoming season.
  • Several Orville flags were scheduled to be stored inside a Grumman Cygnus spacecraft on an Antares rocket and delivered to the International Space Station on September 2020.[128] The date was later pushed back to October to fly out on the Cygnus NG-14 launch, and then to February 2021 (the delays were due to the global Covid-19 pandemic). Finally, on February 20, 2021, the Cygnus NG-15 successfully took the flags to the station.[129]
  • At least one person has been named after a character from the show: Alara, named after Alara Kitan, born June 27, 2020.[130]

References in media[]

  • Logic_-_Still_Ballin'._Wiz_Khalifa)_(Official_Audio)

    Logic - Still Ballin'. Wiz Khalifa) (Official Audio)

    Seth MacFarlane later called this song "perfect music for the Kaylon-Khalifan in Season 3."[131]

    The Orville was the answer in a February 2020 episode of Jeopardy: "Led by Capt. Mercer, this sci-fi series on Fox sees its title ship & crew boldly going where no comedy has gone before".[132]
  • The show has been mentioned thrice by Family Guy:
    • In the Season 17 premiere episode of Family Guy, Jess lists the Orville as one of the places she wants to have sex in before she dies.[133]
    • MacFarlane normally voices the part of Peter Griffin on the show. In Season 17, Episode 5, Peter and his son Chris watch television when an announcer says, "We now return to The Orville on Fox," and Peter shoots the TV with a pistol. Chris asks, "Why did you do that?" Peter, obviously voiced by someone other than MacFarlane, replies, "Because it's preventing me from doing my work here at Family Guy."[134]
    • In Season 17, Episode 15, the Orville hovers in the sky above a crowd of "literally everyone" from Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show.
    • In Season 17, Episode 16, Peter recognizes Seth MacFarlane as the "Captain of the Orville".
    • In Season 18, Episode 14, Meg chooses American Dad! over The Orville when faced with the prospect of being traded.
  • The Orville opens fire on the Planet Express ship.

    The show has been mentioned twice by The Simpsons:
    • In the episode "Treehouse of Horror XXIX," the Planet Express ship from the show Futurama briefly holds up a sign reading "BRING BACK FUTURAMA" before it is destroyed by the Orville.[135]
    • In "101 Mitigations," an angry Comic Book Guy confronts Homer, who stole his car. Finding that his car now has a scratch on it, Comic Book Guy rages "I gave you the USS Enterprise, and you returned with the Orville!"
  • The Orville was the subject of a comic strip by Penny Arcade entitled "Orvillainy."[136]
  • The show was mentioned by the rapper Logic in his song "Still Ballin' (feat. Wiz Khalifa)," saying, "'Cause that's Seth MacFarlane shit - Orville, we on that outer space."
    • In response, MacFarlane joked, "Perfect music for the Kaylon-Khalifan battle in season 3."[137]
  • The show has a fan film spin-off: A Planetary Step.
  • The Orville has been the subject of two books:
  • During the Covid-19 pandemic, MacFarlane considered making several animated episodes to appease fans during the wait, but plans fell through due to lack of enthusiasm.[138]

See also[]


  1. Scott Grimes at a table interview in 2017.
  2. In the original script, the Union colonized two quadrants.
  3. Mapping is conducted as the Orville travels in the episodes If the Stars Should Appear and Mad Idolatry.
  4. Gordon Malloy calls the 21st century a "dark time" in Episode 7: Majority Rule
  5. Kelly Grayson notes that the era when people desired wealth vanished with the invention of matter synthesis. Episode 11: New Dimensions
  6. Ed Mercer: "[A]s long as the wormhole exists, the quantum potentiality is open. Many sets of future events are possible. But, if we destroy it, we choose a path." Episode 5: Pria
  7. Admiral Ozawa: "And if we went to war, they'd see it as a holy crusade, which means it could last decades." Episode 6: Krill
  8. John LaMarr says he grew up on a farming colony, which means that people settled a planet simply to farm. Episode 11: New Dimensions
  9. Note that in the 29th century, an unidentified Benzian antiques collector bartered with Pria Lavesque for the USS Orville. Episode 5: Pria
  10. Seth MacFarlane:
    If you look at the Iron Man franchise, at a certain point, James Bond decided to do something alternative to what James Bond had traditionally done, and it opened the window for somebody else to sort of step in. I feel like that’s sort of what Iron Man did. That Iron Man sort of said, 'Hey, you know, if James Bond is doing something new at this point, why don’t we do James Bond?' In many ways, that’s how I feel about the type of science fiction in this show.
    Star Trek has chosen to go along a different path or try something different than what they’ve done before, which is great. But it’s also left a wide, open space for the kind of episodic science fiction that they used to do, and I still have a huge appetite for that. I feel like a lot of people, a lot of fans do as well.
    Erik Kain, "Interview: Seth MacFarlane On The Orville's Unique Tone, 'Star Trek' Roots", Forbes (Sept. 16, 2017).
  11. In fact, MacFarlane later said that Defending Your Life had a "profound influence" on him and that he actively sought to recreate the balance of comedy and drama for The Orville. "Seth Macfarlane Google Questions answers". ThePatrickShow. May 18, 2018.
  12. An article announcing Bruce Broughton would compose for the show reflects the old date. "Bruce Broughton Scoring Fox’s ‘Orville’". Film Music Reporter. April 13, 2017.
  13. 13.0 13.1 The show was still called "Orville" on May 11, 2017. See Flemmons, Heather W. "Small Town Goes Big Time: Sean Cook". Life in Minnesota. May 11, 2017. But the name was changed to "The Orville" by the time the first trailer released on May 15, 2017. The Orville | official trailer (2017). YouTube. May 15, 2017.
  14. MacFarlane's comments were echoed by many members of the cast, especially the producers. For example, in early November of that year, Brannon Braga said:
    I'm very encouraged to hear that [the Planetary Union Network] and others have embraced the dramatic elements of the show, because the way the show is being marketed - and Fox did a great job, but they kind of made it look like it was a satire and wall-to-wall comedy, and it's not. Would the audience accept an episode like Into the Fold, which is largely dramatic?
    See "The Orville Fan Podcast w/ Brannon Braga (08)", Planetary Union Network (Nov. 5, 2017).
  15. For Seth MacFarlane introducing Ed Mercer and Adrianne Palicki introducing Kelly Grayson, see "SDCC 2017: The Orville - Adrianne Palicki, Seth McFarlane", Whedonopolis Vidoes (July 26, 2017).For Peter Macon introducing Bortus, Mark Jackson introducing Isaac, and Chad L. Coleman introducing Klyden, see "SDCC 2017: The Orville - Peter Macon, Mark Jackson, Chad L Coleman", Whedonopolis Video (July 26, 2017). For Halston Sage introducing Alara and Penny Jerald Johnson introducing Claire, see "SDCC 2017: The Orville - Halston Sage, Penny Johnson Jerald", Whedonopolis Videos (July 26, 2017). For J. Lee introducing John LaMarr and Scott Grimes introducing Gordon Malloy, see "SDCC 2017: The Orville - J Lee & Scott Grimes", Whedonopolis Videos (July 26, 2017). For executive producers Brannon Braga, David A. Goodman, and Jason Clark, see "SDCC 2017: The Orville - Brannon Braga, David Goodman, Jason Clark (Executive Producers)", Whedonopolis Videos (July 26, 2017).


  1. [[1]]
  2. Brannon Braga in The World of the Orville by Jeff Bond. Titan Books. 2018. Pg. 11.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Brannon Braga, David A. Goodman, Jason Clark THE ORVILLE Interview Comic Con HD". Seat42F. YouTube. July 23, 2017.
  4. Lovett, Jamie. "'The Orville' Wins Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Television Series". Comicbook. June 30, 2018.
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  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Episode 1: Old Wounds
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Episode 5: Pria
  8. Episode 4: If the Stars Should Appear
  9. 9.0 9.1 Episode 2: Command Performance
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Episode 9: Cupid's Dagger
  11. 11.0 11.1 Episode 2x12: Sanctuary
  12. 12.0 12.1 Episode 2.5x01: Launch Day, Pt. 1
  13. 13.0 13.1 Episode 3: About a Girl
  14. Episode 10: Firestorm
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 Episode 6: Krill
  16. Episode 2x10: Blood of Patriots
  17. 17.0 17.1 Episode 12: Mad Idolatry
  18. Claire Finn. Episode 2x05: All the World is Birthday Cake
  19. 19.0 19.1 Episode 11: New Dimensions
  20. Episode 8: Into the Fold
  21. Episode 2x03: Home
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