1. Season two debuts December 30th
The second season of The Orville arrives on Sunday, December 30th, on a special night following an NFL double-header (approximately 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT live to all time zones). The rest of the episodes will then air on Thursdays at 9:00 PM, starting on January 3rd. The main reason FOX moved the show to a mid-season position is due to their acquisition of Thursday Night Football, which debuted in September.
More recently, Fox announced it will premiere season two on January 10 for viewers in the UK.
2. Season two will be preceded by a DVD release of the first season
Season one of The Orville will be released on DVD on December 11th in the U.S. Fox Home Entertainment has not yet announced full details, but it is expected to include the same special features as the UK release. You can pre-order the 4-disk set on Amazon, discounted to $19.96. Sadly, it does not appear The Orville will be released on Blu-ray, as Fox Home Entertainment generally only releases Blu-rays of its feature films, not its television shows. If you do want the show in HD, you can purchase a digital version on iTunes or on Amazon for $24.99.
3. Season two will have 14 episodes
The second season of The Orville will be a bit longer than the first with a total of 14 episodes. This includes one originally produced for the first season, “Primal Urges,” which was pulled due to scheduling changes. While The Orville structures its show for episodes to be standalone, some additional shots and edits were made to this episode to make it fit into the second season. It will now be one of the early episodes of the new season. We also know that there will be at least one two-part episode towards the middle of the season (with both counting towards the total of 14).
4. There is one change in the main cast
While there has been no official word about changes in the main cast, it has become apparent that Halston Sage’s Alara Kitan will not be present for the entire second season. She will definitely appear in the early episodes, including one titled “Home” featuring a visit to her home planet of Xeleya and the return of Star Trek: Voyager alumnus Robert Picardo playing her father.
There will, however, be a new character: Talla Keyali played by Jessica Szohr, who (like Kitan) is also Xelayan and a security officer on board the USS Orville. Sage was in production on the Netflix film Last Summer during much of the time the second season of The Orville was being shot, and it isn’t clear at this time if she will return to the show. Details on how they’ll transition between Alara and Talla are unknown, but speaking to TrekMovie at SDCC executive producer David A. Goodman said, “I think you are going to be intrigued to see what we do with both of those characters. I don’t want to spoil it, but it is unexpected.”
5. More Trek veterans have come on board
The Orville is unabashedly an homage to Star Trek: The Next Generation and creator Seth MacFarlane went out of his way to bring in a number of Star Trek veterans to work on the show, including executive producers Brannon Braga and David A. Goodman, cinematographer Marvin Rush, science advisor and writer Andre Bormanis, and directors Robert Duncan McNeill and Jonathan Frakes, all of whom are back for the second season. Also joining the team is writer and producer Joe Menosky. And a number of Star Trek series stars will have guest roles, including Marina Sirtis, Tim Russ, John Billingsley, and the aforementioned Robert Picardo.
6. Some big-name guest stars are stopping by
Season one had some big names pop up. Oscar winner Charlize Theron had a guest starring role as the titular “Pria,” Rob Lowe made a brief appearance in the pilot and then came back as a full-fledged guest star late in the season as the blue skinned Derulio, and Liam Neeson even got in a quick appearance.
Season two looks to be on track to have quite a few big names as well, including Ted Danson (Cheers, The Good Place), F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus and Star Trek: Insurrection), Tony Todd (multiple Trek roles and Candyman), and Carlos Bernard (24). There may be even more well-known actors; back in the spring, actor J. Lee teased that a “legend” was under the alien makeup seen below.
7. Episodes will be longer
The Orville is one of the shows in which Fox is embracing the idea of reducing commercial time. This means shorter commercial breaks, and a projected 5 minutes more content than the first season episodes.
8. Season two will have more action
Recently MacFarlane told Australia’s SBS:
It’s more of an anthology show so if we get it right, you won’t know what to expect. Also, there is more action as it continues because the early episodes were an experiment to get the response we wanted from the studio and they’ve given us more time and resources to film more complex scenes. We also brought in (24 producer) Jon Cassar, so there’s nobody better at doing action than that guy.
Cassar was active on social media during the filming of Season 2, often posting behind-the-scenes photos.
9. There will be more of a focus on science fiction and more allegories
At San Diego Comic-Con, creator Seth MacFarlane said that this season The Orville can “really be a sci-fi show,” with the comedy as “a garnish.”
Writer/Producer David A. Goodman expanded on this idea:
We definitely have some episodes which are allegories. We go back to Moclus, which was obviously was an allegory last year, and we explore a little bit more of that. And there are new worlds as well, where we explore.
Writer/Producer Brannon Braga also weighed in:
If we find a topic that hasn’t been explored in a particular way, it is a story idea. At the end of the day, we are looking for good stories. We knew we wanted at least a couple of the episodes to be new cultures, that were interesting in some way. Otherwise it is just people with funny makeup.
10. More Dann!
Lieutenant Dann (AKA the elevator alien) was a fan favorite last season, even though he only appeared in two episodes. On social media, we could see that Dann actor Mike Henry was on The Orville set fairly frequently, and TrekMovie has confirmed that we can expect to see quite a bit of him this season.
Mike Henry is best known as the voice of Cleveland Brown from Family Guy and The Cleveland Show, and voices a number of other characters on Seth MacFarlane’s shows, so he’s a natural fit for some latex-masked comic relief in The Orville.
Orville returns this month
The second season of The Orville debuts on Sunday, December 30th, in a special night following an NFL double-header.