Yaphit was a Gelatin Lieutenant and Engineer aboard the USS Orville. According to Admiral Halsey, Yaphit had already been an engineer "for years" on the Orville prior to the arrival of Ed Mercer as captain. In April 2420, Yaphit was passed over for promotion to Chief Engineer of the Orville, for which he was considered next in line, in favor of John LaMarr.
Yaphit's voice is provided by Norm Macdonald, who also portrays his human form.
Life[edit | edit source]
Yaphit was "born" and raised on an unnamed home world. The way Yaphit came into being was somewhat convoluted. His mother created a novel Gelatin being via mitosis and, later, the new gelatin split via mitosis into Yaphit and his brother. 
Career[edit | edit source]
For most of his tenure aboard the Orville, Yaphit worked directly under Chief Engineer Steve Newton in Engineering. By measure of experience, Yaphit is the seniormost engineer of the ship, aside from Newton himself, and was considered next in line for promotion to chief engineer when Newton left in April 2420.
To Yaphit's dismay, that promotion never came. When First Officer Kelly Grayson discovered that Navigator LaMarr boasted some of the highest performance scores in Union history, she became John's strongest advocate. She convinced Captain Ed Mercer to place John at the head of a joint Science and Engineering task force to research a nearby spatial anomaly. 
Yaphit quickly picked up that John was being tested for Chief Engineer - otherwise Yaphit would be in charge of the task force. He filed a complaint with Captain Mercer, claiming discrimination against gelatinous persons.
Meanwhile, the spatial anomaly turned out to be a pocket of two-dimensional space. With enemy Krill destroyers advancing from all sides, Yaphit came up with the idea to escape into two-dimensional space by placing the Orville inside a quantum bubble that preserved three dimensions inside. The plan initially worked, but the "aperture" allowing the Orville to exit two-dimensional space closed early, leaving the ship stranded inside the spatial anomaly. Worse yet, the Orville was unable to preserve the quantum bubble. John convinced the Captain to project the bubble from a shuttle, and the shuttle towed the Orville to a new distant aperture to return to normal space.
John's plan worked brilliantly. Unfortunately, the crisis could not have come at a worse time in Yaphit's career. His idea to enter two-dimensional space was perceived as a mistake by the rest of Engineering, and sharply criticized. Even though John defended Yaphit by saying that he approved Yaphit's idea, and thus shared responsibility, Ed promoted John to Chief Engineer as soon as they returned to normal space.
Conflict and relationship with Claire Finn[edit | edit source]
Since Doctor Claire Finn's arrival at the Orville in September 2419, Engineer Yaphit developed a profound romantic interest in her, often singing to her with a guitar or giving her gifts. After all, Yaphit preferred sexually and romantically human women of color.[n 1] Claire, on the other hand, found Yaphit's persistent wooing to be uncomfortable and annoying.
In November 2419, Yaphit began feigning illness as an excuse to meet Claire in Sick Bay and ask her out on a date, which he attempted three times over the span of a week. After she turned him down, he made a crude, sexual pass, after which she angrily demanded he leave. His persistence grated on Claire, eventually threatening to file a formal complaint.[n 2]
In January 2420, Yaphit learned that Doctor Finn's shuttle did not arrive as scheduled at Arboreus Prime, distressing Yaphit to know the object of his affections has gone missing. Claire's shuttle was damaged after a trip through an uncharted spatial anomaly, and she was forced to crash-land on a nearby moon. Yaphit urged LaMarr not to get them lost as John left to search for her using star charts in lieu of the navigational array. Claire was later rescued.
A month later, Yaphit tried once again to woo Doctor Finn, and she rejected him - further insisting she would file a complaint if his unwanted advances continued. However, Yaphit had bumped into Darulio on his way to see Claire. Unbeknownst to Yaphit and Claire, Darulio, a Retepsian, produced powerful pheromones that sparked sexual attraction between carrier and recipient. Yaphit transmitted the pheromones to Claire, creating a powerful romantic and sexual interest in Claire towards Yaphit.
Claire and Yaphit began a sexual relationship lasting several days until the pheromones wore off. During that time, Claire grew increasingly obsessed with the Engineer, which becomes dangerous during the Navarian-Bruidian conflict. Claire detained Yaphit at gunpoint from erecting a special barrier between the Navarian and Bruidian war fleets. Claire avoided punishment as she was under the overwhelming influence of alien pheromones, Yaphit left Claire alone after the incident.
Kaylon conflict[edit | edit source]
After the Orville was commandeered by the Kaylon in January 2421, Yaphit provided a crucial role in taking the ship back and defeating them. As the crew was held captive in the Shuttle Bay, the gelatinous lieutenant was entrusted by Commander Grayson to navigate an access conduit, only half a meter wide, which led him to the armory. Finding a single Kaylon standing guard, Yaphit distracted it by tossing aside a metal bolt, allowing him to claim a PM-488 Titan. After terminating the Kaylon guard, Yaphit returned to the Shuttle Bay, handing the gun to Commander Grayson, who in turn gave it to Second Officer Bortus, who used it to terminate the two Kaylon guarding the Shuttle Bay. In the time it took for reinforcements to arrive, LaMarr and Keyali were able to open the Shuttle Bay doors, allowing Grayson and Malloy to escape the ship in Shuttle 1, proceeding to enlist the aid of the Krill.
With only two minutes before additional Kaylon arrived in the Shuttle Bay, Captain Mercer entrusted Yaphit to use the conduit to access the communications array, where he was to send a message to Union Central without being detected. Ty Finn, who was small enough to navigate the access conduit, volunteered to join Yaphit, as he needed someone to scramble his frequency to mask his work. Though Claire protested against her son's life being endangered, Yaphit assured her that he would do everything he could to keep him safe.
Upon making it to the communications array, Yaphit instructed Ty to punch in random frequencies as he transmitted the message to Union Central. Unfortunately, the pair were interrupted by a pair of Kaylon. Attempting to cover Ty's escape, Yaphit physically assaulted one Kaylon by entering its body, only for the other Kaylon to capture Ty while Yaphit was incapacitated. However, Yaphit was successful in getting the message to Union Central, resulting in the fleet being assembled for the Battle of Earth.
Thankfully, Isaac later saved Ty as he turned against the other Kaylon, deactivating himself as well as all the Kaylon aboard the ship. Following the Union's victory at Earth, Yaphit, having almost been "fried" and put "out of commission for a bit", eventually recovered and entered Sick Bay. Recalling that he got a good look at the Kaylon's "guts", Yaphit suggested that he could jump-start Isaac's inert body by connecting the right pathways. Ultimately, Isaac was successfully revived by Yaphit.
Honor[edit | edit source]
All in a day's work, Captain.— Yaphit receives the Sapphire Star.
Over a month following the Battle of Earth, a special ceremony is held in Yaphit's honor in the Mess Hall where Captain Mercer, with the authority vested in him by the Planetary Union, presented the Lieutenant with the Sapphire Star medal for extraordinary heroism beyond the call of duty during the Kaylon conflict.
Some time later, LaMarr requested a conduit buffer cap from Yaphit in engineering only to find that he was absent. A crewman suggested that he had gone to the bathroom
In engineering, Yaphit assisted LaMarr and Malloy in restoring a mobile phone taken from the 2015 Saratoga Springs time capsule. He suggested getting in "through the back door" by running a decorrelation algorithm on the secondary memory cache, only for LaMarr to reveal that he already tried and failed. LaMarr then got the idea to use launch "old school binary input filter," which granted access to the data within, but with an unresponsive keypad. Yaphit then suggested turning the phone off and on again, which completely restored the device, revealing it to have been donated by a Laura Huggins.
Alternate timeline[edit | edit source]
In an alternate timeline where Ed Mercer never became captain of the Orville, Yaphit served on the ship under Captain Griffith. Yaphit fled the Orville at the disastrous Battle of Earth and joined a Resistance cell led by Alara Kitan.
Less than nine months later, Yaphit was at a Resistance base when they were visited by the scavenger ship crew. Yaphit answered the door to John LaMarr, whom he initially failed to remember, explaining that a piece of him had been blasted of last week and a little bit of his memory was in it. The Kaylon attacked the base soon after, and Yaphit probably was either captured or killed in the Battle of the Resistance.
Production[edit | edit source]
From the outset, creator Seth MacFarlane wanted "utterly non-human" aliens for the show to more realistically portray futuristic, sentient life. "It's a sci-fi show," he explained in July, 2017. "And budgetary constraints mandate that sci-fi characters be humanoid. But if you talk to physicists they'll tell you, 'It's most likely nothing will look like a human if we find life in space.'"
MacFarlane named Yaphit after actor Yaphet Kotto. Kotto starred as Mr. Kananga in the James Bond film Live and Let Die, which MacFarlane watched while writing the pilot script. Kotto also stars in the 1979 movie Alien . In the original script, Yaphit is described merely as a gelatinous blob with a "sloppy hole of a mouth."
MacFarlane sketched the character of Yaphit on paper, which was fleshed out by Howard Berger. According to executive producer Jason Clark, "[MacFarlane] wanted to know if we could feature a CGI character that is essentially a gelatinous blob with a sloppy mouth hole." Armed with MacFarlane and Berger's designs, Clark approached Tippett Studios to turn the drawing into a fully-fledged, renderable model. Once Tippett's model of Yaphit was ready to be used, visual effects supervisor Luke McDonald made a 3-D printing of Yaphit for final approval.
Unfortunately, the budgetary concerns that limit other science fiction shows eventually limited The Orville, and Yaphit became prohibitively expensive due to computer rendering costs. "[Yaphit] looks good on paper," MacFarlane later recalled. "But when you write this character every week, it starts to become expensive, so you write him back a bit."
Casting Norm Macdonald as Yaphit was remarkably easy and, it appears, without auditions. MacFarlane called Macdonald and asked, "Norm, you want to be a blob?" To which Macdonald replied, "Hell yeah, I'll be a blob." MacFarlane called the casting process a "ten-second phone call" with Macdonald.
Propmaster Bryan Rodgers places a microphone where Yaphit will be added during editing so that actors have an idea of where to look. A second object, also made by Rodgers, was a more lifelike wooden model of Yaphit that would be dragged by crewmembers on a skateboard so that actors could get a sense of the creature's physical form prior to filming. At Jerald's request, an object was not used for scenes between Claire and Yaphit. Meanwhile, MacDonald spoke his lines from a corner of the studio to the actors while filming.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Yaphit's original quarters were supposed to be in the scaffolding of Engineering.
- Yaphit is sexually attracted to Human women, but strongly prefers non-white women such as Doctor Claire Finn and the engineer Celeste. In fact, the only white woman he ever finds attractive is Pria Lavesque.
- Why Yaphit, a being that reproduces asexually through mitosis, would be sexually attracted to anyone at all is unexplained.
- During table reads, Yaphit's lines are read by executive producer David A. Goodman.
- Yaphit is the only character to have entered onscreen into other characters, namely Bortus and Isaac--Bortus to retrieve part of himself that was eaten during the course of a practical joke perpetrated by Gordon and John; then to restart Isaac after he had deactivated himself and the other Kaylons aboard the Orville to free the ship.
- Yaphit says he has suffered from depression in the past.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Yaphit to Pria: "You know, this may sound blunt, but you are the only white woman I've ever found attractive." Episode 1x05: Pria
- Claire threatens to file a formal complaint if he doesn't stop his inappropriate displays of unrequited affection. Episode 1x09: Cupid's Dagger
References[edit | edit source]
- Cupid's Dagger
- The World of the Orville
- Episode 1x01: Old Wounds
- John LaMarr. Episode 2x14: The Road Not Taken
- Episode 1x11: New Dimensions
- Episode 1x03: About a Girl
- Episode 1x08: Into the Fold
- Episode 1x09: Cupid's Dagger
- Episode 2x09: Identity, Pt. 2
- Episode 2x10: Blood of Patriots
- Episode 2x10: Blood of Patriots
- Episode 2x11: Lasting Impressions
- Episode 2x13: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
- Episode 1x05: Pria
- Episode 2x14: The Road Not Taken
- "How Seth MacFarlane Got Charlize Theron To Be On 'The Orville' | SDCC 2017 | Entertainment Weekly". Entertainment Weekly. July 26, 2017.
- @SethMacFarlane. "You got me. I watched Live and Let Die while I was writing the pilot.". Twitter. June 16, 2018.
- MacFarlane, Seth. The Orville 1x01 - Pilot. Fox.
- Bond, Jeff. The World of the Orville. Titan Books. 2018. Pg. 67.
- "Seth Meyers Explains to Seth MacFarlane Why People Resent Him". Late Night with Seth Meyers. Sept. 8, 2017.
- Bryan Rodgers self-identifies in this interview. Owen, Rob. "Tuned In: Seth MacFarlane readies his own ‘Star Trek’". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Aug. 7, 2017. The item is identified by Penny Johnson Jerald as a microphone in a separate interview. See Jordan DesJardines, "NYCC 2017: What’s Up Doc? Penny Johnson Jerald Talks ‘The Orville’", ScienceFiction.com (Oct. 13, 2017).
- "The Orville Fan Podcast w/ Bryan Rodgers (23)". Planetary Union Network. Dec. 6, 2018.
- "Penny Johnson Jerald #TheOrville on #FOX interviewed at 35th #PaleyFestLA TV Festival in Hollywood". Red Carpet Report on Mingle Media TV. March 17, 2018. The item is identified by Jerald as a microphone in a separate interview. See Jordan DesJardines, "NYCC 2017: What’s Up Doc? Penny Johnson Jerald Talks ‘The Orville’", ScienceFiction.com (Oct. 13, 2017).
- DesJardines, Jordan. "NYCC 2017: What’s Up Doc? Penny Johnson Jerald Talks ‘The Orville’". ScienceFiction.com. Oct. 13, 2017.
- Bond, Jeff. The World of the Orville. Titan Books. 2018. Pg. 71.
- Episode 1.5x03: The Word of Avis, Pt. 1
- "PLANETARY UNION NETWORK: EPISODE 26". Planetary Union Network. Jan. 13, 2019.
- Episode 1x04: If the Stars Should Appear