The Orville is Seth MacFarlane’s sci-fi parody comedy-drama series. While unique and popular, it does have a few aspects that fans have never noticed.
Seth MacFarlane has proved his prowess in writing satire with Family Guy but he also had serious plans to reboot Star Trek. Instead, he ended up making a parodied (albeit a bit dramatic) version of the epic space-drama in a new rendition called The Orville. Just like Star Trek’s USS Enterprise, MacFarlane’s show deals with the adventures of a space crew in a ship called Orville.
Having run for two seasons so far, The Orville doesn’t always fare well with the critics but is gaining a cult following among audience, many of whom are Star Trek fans themselves. Here are a few facts that you might not about the creation of this space comedy-drama.
Rachel MacFarlane Is The Voice Of The Computer
The Orville’s main computer is voiced by Rachel MacFarlane, who is most famous for voicing Hayley Smith in American Dad, another show created by her brother Seth.
She has a slew of other voice-acting credits including recurring roles in Family Guy, The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, and Codename: Kids Next Door. She has also contributed to the animation and direction of shows like The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy.
Star Trek Alumni Serve As Directors
It’s no secret that many recurring actors in The Orville have all had acting credits in one or more Star Trek shows and movies like Robert Picardo, Penny Johnson, Tim Russ, and Seth MacFarlane himself (who appeared in two episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise).
However, a large chunk of Star Trek alumni also served as directors for the series, especially for its debut season. These directors include Star Trek veterans Jonathan Frakes and Robert Duncan McNeill, and Brannon Braga (who started his career as an intern on Star Trek: The Next Generation).
The Wright Flyer
The Orville is named in honor of the aviation pioneer Orville Wright who, along with his brother Wilbur, is credited for inventing the first flying prototype of the modern airplane.
The power-driven airplane that made them achieve their feat was the Wright Flyer, a minuscule model of which can be seen on Captain Mercer’s (MacFarlane) desk.
Admiral Halsey’s History Is Rooted In WWII And Star Trek
Victor Garber plays the character of Admiral Halsey. A real-life Admiral Halsey was the commander of America’s Third Fleet during the course of the Second World War, having led many naval campaigns in the Pacific. Even Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney composed a song in his honor called “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey.”
Halsey’s flagship in the early phases of the War was the USS Enterprise, which served as inspiration for the spaceship of the same name in Star Trek.
Practical Effects On The Orville’s Model
Rather than brimming with special effects, The Orville relies on a lot of practical effects for its space shots. These shots are done on a large model of the spaceship making it quite a Herculean task as each shot required a minimum of six passes with a motion-controlled camera.
The effort paid off as VFX supervisor Luke McDonald reveals, ‘It’s very rewarding because of how many times you’re going to have to reuse these elements to achieve completely new shots, even though it’s from the same original motion control shoot.’
Seth MacFarlane’s Behind-The-Scenes Romance
The Orville’s first season starred Halston Sage as Lt. Alara Kitan. During its shooting, she was in a relationship with Seth MacFarlane and eventually broke up with him by the time of the second season. It’s rumored that the break-up was the reason for her making a departure from the series. However, her final story arc was open-ended, indicating that she might just return in the future seasons of The Orville.
Jessica Szohr joined the second season as Talla Keyalli, a series regular, in 2019. Interestingly, Szohr too had dated MacFarlane a few years before.
The Reason Behind The Orville’s Transfer To Hulu
The Mercer Name
MacFarlane’s character is named Ed Mercer, a surname that’s shared by many characters in his other productions. Apparently, the surname is taken from Seth and Rachel MacFarlane’s relatives.
For instance, in Family Guy, the protagonist Peter Griffin’s ex-girlfriend also happens to be a certain Gretchen Mercer who turns out to be a villainous character blackmailing him.
Connection With Starship Troopers
In the Season 2 episode titled “Home,” the house of Lt. Kitan’s parents is the same house as Johnny Rico’s parents from Paul Verhoven’s satirical sci-fi cult classic Starship Troopers.
Additionally, Tippet Studios was one of the studios behind The Orville’s visual effects. One of the studios’ biggest projects in the 1990s was Starship Troopers. While the film was initially panned by critics, there was unanimous praise for the special effects. It earned the studio an Academy Award nomination.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson Served As Adviser On The Show
American astrophysicist and Carl Sagan’s protégé Neil deGrasse Tyson has been a good friend to Seth MacFarlane, having served as a scientific consultant for a few episodes of Family Guy. MacFarlane’s interest in space and astrophysics can also be understood from the fact that he was one of the people responsible for the Cosmos reboot (hosted by Tyson), also serving at its executive producer.
Tyson was spotted at The Orville’s sets when the show started production in 2016. While fans speculated a surprise cameo, it was later revealed that Tyson served as a scientific advisor to the show.
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