SDCC19: ‘The Orville’ Panel Promises Season 3 Will Be Most Surprising + Watch Season 2 Deleted Scenes

Over the weekend we reported the big news from San Diego Comic-Con about The Orville moving to Hulu for the third season. But there was more about season three revealed at the panel, as well as some deleted scenes from season two, which are now online. We have a full update on all the SDCC Orville news, including photos from “The Orville Experience.”

Why Hulu?

The Orville creator and star Seth MacFarlane kicked off the panel with the announcement about the move of the show to Hulu for the third season. He explained the move was primarily driven by giving them more flexibility when it comes to scheduling:

We are very excited about this. As you are no doubt aware watching the show, The Orville has become more ambitious as it has gone along production-wise. That can create a bit of a challenge when you are working within a scheduled broadcast model. So our very good friends at Fox Broadcasting have been working with us to make the transition to Hulu for season three, which will be our new home.

Seth MacFarlane at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 (photo: @arrowofshield)

A surprising third season, including more celebrity cameos

As for the third season itself, MacFarlane revealed that he and his fellow writers were currently breaking the season in the writers’ room. During the Q&A he was asked a specific question on if Claire and Isaac will reconcile in season three. MacFarlane joked that he wasn’t just going to start giving out spoilers for season three, but did make a promise, saying:

As we are breaking new stories, I am confident that this is going to be the most surprising yet. It is not going where you think it is going.

Answering another question, MacFarlane did commit to continuing to bring in big-name stars for guest roles, saying:

Yes, to answer your question, yes. That is always on the agenda. I think it is always a fun thing to sprinkle celebrity surprises in the show. It is a fun show. People love coming to do a sci-fi show and play on the spaceship. You will see a fair amount of that in season 3.

Penny Johnson Jerald and Adrienne Palicki at San Diego Comic-Con 2019

More allegorical stories, but probably not a musical

MacFarlane also committed to the third season exploring more allegorical stories tied into contemporary social issues:

Yeah…We found that is what really works. As we progressed through our second season, we really felt there was a connection with the audience and they wanted to see more of what we liked to write. So, yeah I think you are going to see a lot more of that. The challenge is always to keep it relatable. You will see more exploration of relevant material presented in a way that is just like people going to work.

Even though music has been an important part of the show, one thing MacFarlane was not ready to commit to was a full musical episode:

We get asked that often. I have no idea how that would work. Buffy did it, but that is a very different show. There would have to be a reason for it. It would feel very fourth wall and maybe a little self-indulgent.

J Lee at San Diego Comic-Con 2019

Will Alara and Xeleya return?

The second season saw the departure of actress Halston Sage (Alara) as a series regular, and the introduction of Talla (Jessica Szhor), who, like Alara, is from the planet Xeleya. MacFarlane responded to a fan question on if we will see Halston back and/or a return to Xeleya. While he didn’t confirm either, based on his response, both seem to be good possibilities:

The door is always open for Alara to make an appearance. We love that character. We don’t know yet if she will appear in season three, because we are not finished writing the shows, but it is always a possibility. The audience loves her. We love her. And I think a cameo here or there, I think is fun for the audience.

As far as to whether Talla is going to go back to Xeleya, I don’t know. We are still in the process of hashing everything out. It is an interesting planet, that we want to learn more about. We know a lot about Moclan, but not a whole lot about Xeleya. So, it is possible that Talla will take us back there at some point in the near future.

Jessica Szohr and Chad Coleman at The Orville panel, San Diego Comic-Con 2019

“Identity” was Orville’s “Best of Both Worlds” pivot, will lead to more serious sci-fi

Season two saw the two-part episode “Identity,” which included the Kaylon invasion and attack on Earth. Executive producer and Star Trek veteran Brannon Braga talked about how he saw a parallel with “Identity” and a seminal two-part episode from his time with Star Trek: The Next Generation:

My first day on Star Trek: The Next Generation was when “Best of Both Worlds, Part 1” had just aired and the comparisons to “Identity” are obvious. We were taking a big narrative risk with a major character. We knew it would be a disaster or a real turning point for the show. The real question is, would you guys accept this turning point, with Isaac becoming a bad guy. And you did!

When asked about his biggest challenge on The Orville, Seth pointed to writing “Identity”:

[The biggest] written [challenge] was probably “Identity, Part 2,” because it scared the hell out of me when I was writing the second part of it. There was this massive space battle. If I had to have directed it myself I would have probably written it a lot smaller, but I figured [Jon] Cassar will take care of it [laughs] which he did. It scared the hell out of me the whole time because I wasn’t sure people were ready to accept that level of serious sci-fi from us, so more to come.

Executive producer and director Jon Cassar talked about taking on the challenge of directing “Identity”:

When Seth and the writers gave me the script they said, this is going to be a game-changer, this is where we pivot the whole show. It was a two-parter, but we shot it as one piece. It was kind of like a movie.

Cassar had high praise for members of the team putting in the extra effort including actor Mark Jackson who had to train 50 extras how to act like a robot in “Kaylon school.” The director also discussed the extra challenge the big space battle provided:

Seth wrote a space battle that he wanted to be Star Wars quality and we did everything we could to get it there. We had a meeting very early on and brought as many people as I could with a bunch of models and we designed what it was going to look like, and went through storyboard stage. Then [visual effects producer] Brooke [Noska], [dfx supervisor] Brandon [Fayette], [writer/science advisor] Andre [Bormanis], [co-producer] Tom Costantino…everybody got involved. It was an unbelievable group effort to get what you saw. And I am happy to say we got nominated for an Emmy for it.

Jon Cassar and Brannon Braga at The Orville panel, San Diego Comic-Con 2019

Debating Picard and if Star Trek is part of ‘The Orville’ universe

Seth was asked if Star Trek and Star Wars (as fiction) are part of the universe of The Orville. MacFarlane demurred on answering this at last year’s SDCC, but this year he did answer:

Penny has a line in season one where she refers to Obi Wan. So, I think the history of Earth is the history of Earth. I think Star Wars exists in The Orville universe, yeah, why the fuck not?

Speaking of Star Trek, when asked if he would prefer to see his Capt. Mercer debate Capt. Picard or fistfight Capt. Kirk, Seth was ready with an answer:

Kirk now or Kirk then? I think, either way, Shatner would kick my ass. I would probably debate Picard.

Mark Jackson, Peter Macon and Scott Grimes at San Diego Comic-Con 2019

Watch season 2 deleted scenes

During the panel, they showed two deleted scenes from season two. These have now been released online.

The first is from the episode “Lasting Impressions” and shows more of the problems created after Bortus and Klyden took up smoking after discovering cigarettes in a time capsule.

The second deleted scene is from “A Happy Refrain” featuring Gordon and LaMarr taking Isaac golfing in the Simulator.

Moclans and Krill invade SDCC

One of the ways The Orville was being promoted at SDCC was by bringing along a group of actors dressed and made up as Moclans and Krill, using genuine costumes from the show and members of the show’s make-up department. This group also dropped in during the Q&A, where they “oversaw” the Q&A portion of the panel.

Moclans and Krill monitor The Orville panel Q&A at San Diego Comic-Con 2019

Moclans and Krill monitor The Orville panel Q&A at San Diego Comic-Con 2019

The Orville Experience

Another highlight at San Diego Comic-Con was “The Orville Experience” which was set up in a space a few blocks from the convention center. It was filled with authentic props and costumes from the show and featured a number of people who worked on the show answering questions for fans. It was a great experience and a nice bit of outreach to the fans by MacFarlane and his team.

We have assembled a collection of photos from The Orville Experience in the gallery below.


More SDCC 2019

Check out the rest of our San Diego Comic-Con 2019 coverage, and stay tuned to TrekMovie for more.

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See… Those are the kind of scenes season 2 need a TON more of! Unfortunate they opted to go the pale rip off route rather than be what set them apart from the rest.

That is pretty much what I would expect if Klingons played golf, btw. :)

Perhaps this is one of the constraints of network broadcast television they will escape.

Streaming episodes can be whatever length makes sense for the story, and directors aren’t obliged to cut to fit a specific number of minutes.

Fox made an exception last year so that The Orville could have slightly longer episodes, but it would be difficult to justify the loss of advertising revenue.

Perhaps. But it doesn’t look like the Orville PTB want to go in that direction. The direction that made their show unique, that is. It seems obvious to me they want to be a TNG clone.

And if they have such a great budget.. why can’t the introduce new ship classes? Ever ship looks that exact same…

Yeah, I have the same issue. The Orville looked cool and unique, and now every Union ship pretty much looks the same with a different number of engines and either bigger or smaller.

I’d have hated to be the continuity supervisor on that smoking scene. Or the editor, for that matter…I loved it, though!
The golf scene,too.
I should point out that it’s exactly because of these scenes that I support the move to Hulu. 42 minutes is a hard timeout due to commercial breaks. If these eps were on Hulu? We most likely would have gotten these gems in the original broadcast.
I know some viewers are butthurt at another streaming service but it’s unfortunately, the reality of genre TV today. Genre Tv is incredibly expensive to produce, I suspect that advertisers balk at buying airtime on such an expensive show. Most likely, people DVR’d Orville anyway and fast forwarded over commercial breaks. We recorded Orville when it was up against Discovery. And we would FF over the commercial breaks. Our cell phone provider, Sprint, offers us free Hulu so we will take advantage of that.
There are other ways to defray the cost of all the streamers.
If you have Netflix, and have a VPN, you can log into a UK server and watch DSC on Friday’s.
If you’re an Amazon Prime Member or know someone who is, they will allow more than one person to use the Prime Service at the same time. If you all watch at different times, you can watch Picard (outside the US) The VPN trick works with Amazon Prime as well if you’re in the US and have Netflix. You won’t have to pay CBSAA to watch DSC or Picard. Please, if you don’t know what a VPN is, google it. There are several free ones or some excellent paid ones like ExpressVPN or NordVPN. They both allow multiple devices at once so you can split costs with friends or family.
If one can wait until a season is over, Netflix, CBSAA, Hulu and Amazon Prime all offer a free month so you can binge a season after completion. There also is nothing to prevent someone from using 3 different credit cards or 3 different email addresses to string a few free months together. If you don’t have a credit card? Purchase a prepaid one at a local retailer.
I met a lady at Shore Leave last week who successfully got 3 free months of CBSAA. She got her first free month, paid for her second, and then tried to cancel after two months. CBSAA offered her a 3rd month at no charge and then another free when she tried to cancel at the end of her 3rd (free month) She paid $5.99 to watch season 2 of Discovery.
I know of several people who password share their various accounts and as long as everyone didn’t try to watch at once, they all were able to view DSC at a minimal cost.
I hope these tips can help those viewers out there whose budgets are tight and can’t afford all the different streamers.

Well, last season Orville had something like a 45-48 minute run time. But just adding a minute of a great amusing scene does not overcome the overall non-comedic tone of the episode. Which is totally what they went for in S2 and was the exact opposite of what they should have done to remain somewhat unique.

There’s that,too. I think the smoking scene could have been added to the episode that aired. The editor or director may have decided to nix it as it may have been too much.

All that time and money to do an on-location scene and it’s trashed. They wouldn’t get away with that back in the TNG days ;)

I think the move to Hulu just reinforces the idea that in the future, an increasing amount of entertainment content will continue to move towards streaming providers. And not just movies and tv shows – last night’s Blue Jays MLB game was available exclusively on Youtube. I feel bad for those who decided to despise Discovery and love The Orville just because it was or wasn’t behind a pay wall.
For the most part, we hate change, but it seemed pretty obvious to many that streaming is and will be the way of the near future.

To quote T’Pol, “Life is change.”

“You can’t have progress without change. But not all change is progress.”

I wish I knew who to attribute that quote to because it is spot on.

I didn’t like discovery because it was boring.
Strung out storylines that weren’t worth the wait. Season two was the worst.
This is coming from a previous die hard trekie.
Discovery reminded me of a soap opera.

Still waiting for follow through on Isaac’s little mistake… and on Claire and Yaphit’s tryste from Season One.

I’m trying to figure out whether Seth’s explanation about “scheduling” being the reason for the move rings true. Is he saying that the episodes are taking too long to produce, and as such, the show will be under less time constraint by not having to submit episodes for broadcast according to FOX’s broadcast schedule?

That’s what he said in the panel. Meanwhile, Brannon Braga seemed to imply that it was because episodes could be longer.

I think it’s likely a combination. The Fox network was happy to lose money on the show during the second season (airing it with less commercials) since it was being produced in-house by Fox Television and they have a strong relationship with Seth. Now that Fox Television is owned by Disney, the Fox network probably doesn’t want to lose as much money this year since it’s no longer produced “in-house”, and the network may have told them that they wouldn’t give them the limited commercial breaks for the third season. Couple that with the show unable to make both the Fall 2019 and Midseason 2020, the network probably wanted out in a way that is least damaging to their relationship with Seth.


But Hulu is Disney, NOT FOX. It is difficult to see how the parties involved are promoting this as FOX honoring its commitment to the show? This would seem to be doing quite the opposite to strengthening the FOX relationship, i.e. strengthening Seth’s business relationship with Disney.

Yes, that was my point. Fox Network was willing to lose money on Orville when it was produced by Fox Television and they were together. Now that Fox Television is owned by Disney, Fox Network no longer has an incentive to support Orville with the limited commercial interruptions deal that they did during Season 2.


I got your point, but their point, that they are attempting to make this appear to be, is New FOX facilitated the Hulu transfer as part of their season 3 renewal commitment which is baloney. That would only be true if they decided to instead air it on a New FOX streaming service. Going to Disney, as you pointed out, was New FOX cancelling Season 3, and Disney picking it up for new programming for their new Hulu alignment.

Stick a fork in it.

It’s done.

While is certainly exciting to know and see The Orville getting renewed to a 3rd season, which means show has momentum and interest, and is one of my most favorite shows to look forward to watching… the issue I see is the move to HULU off of Fox Network.
This being my personal opinion and view…
Moving ORVILLE to Hulu is a huge risk for viewership – especially in the US. I have personally already purchased S1 & S2 digitally on VuDu to watch over when I want to…now moving to Hulu might see a stop to that going forward.

Whatever the “real” reasoning and motivations are for the show to moving to a streaming network is going to potentially hurt the show (ratings & viewership wise). Lets face it, unless one is subscribed to Hulu’s “live” television package – the availability of quality programs/movies is unappealing and lack quality overall. I personally dropped/canceled Hulu at end of 2018 because the amount of shows and movies to watch was terrible. I did not see the value of their “Live TV” subscription due to certain channels I personally wanted to have access to, which they did not offer in their tv package.

In any case, many fans of The Orville (who are already not subscribed to Hulu) are not going to want to subscribe to Hulu just to see the show consistently. What will obviously occur will be the whole VPN scenario to watch it on other foreign network, torrent downloading the show, and/or take advantage of loop-hole in getting their 1 month free subscription on Hulu once the shows S3 has fully concluded/released and binge watch it.

In my opinion, unless someone is going to really subscribe to Hulu’s live tv package ordeal for cord cutting purposes, subscribing to Hulu just for The Orville longterm is not practical, and I just do not see Hulu providing the option of purchasing the S3 digitally on VuDu or iTunes once the show moves/airs on Hulu….this may hurt the show going forward beyond S3.

I hate that the Orville is going to Hulu, not all of us can afford to pay for all those streaming services!!!! Why not have the Orville on Hulu AND Fox?!!! Unless someone wants to pay for my Hulu (Orville) and CBS All Access (Star Trek Discovery)?!!!!!!!

To me this feels a little like the modern equivalent of moving a show to the 10pm Friday night slot. They move it there to die.

I’m on social security. Can’t afford to pay for TV. Bye Orville.

No thanks…