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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.