It’s time for The Orville to engage quantum drive and set a course for SDCC 2022. On Friday, July 23, 2022, the cast and creative minds behind the hit Hulu sci-fi series explored the new horizons of Ballroom 20 for a fun-filled panel to talk all things Season 3. Additionally, Comic-Con attendees received a first look at an upcoming episode of The Orville: New Horizons!

The crew of the U.S.S. Orville touched down for a visit to the world’s foremost geeky haven, including Penny Johnson Jerald (Dr. Claire Finn), Peter Macon (Lt. Cmdr. Bortus), Jessica Szohr (Lt. Cmdr. Talla Keyali), J Lee (Lt. Cmdr. John LaMarr), Anne Winters (Ensign Charly Burke), Mark Jackson (Isaac) and Chad L. Coleman (Klyden). Executive producers David A. Goodman and Brannon Braga and co-producer Tom Constantino joined the futuristic fray. Additionally, fearless leader Seth MacFarlane (Capt. Ed Mercer) beamed in virtually.

Thank you, Winter is Coming (@WiCnet) and (@TrekMovie), for live-tweeting the proceedings!

RELATED: Keep up to date on GGA’s SDCC 2022 coverage!

MacFarlane shares The Orville episodes he believes are required viewing. Take notes, folks: “About a Girl” (S01E03), “Mad Idolatry” (S01E12), “Identity” (S02E08) and “Sanctuary” (S02E12). He also explains how the show’s move to Hulu broadened its horizons by cutting unnecessary commercial breaks out of the equation and allowing more screen time for emotionally resonant scenes. 

The cast of The Orville sitting on a panel at SDCC 2022.

THE ORVILLE cast sitting on a panel at SDCC 2022. Photo courtesy of The Orville official Twitter account.

According to MacFarlane, Disney suggested adding “New Horizons” to the title because of the show’s upgrade. As for this week’s episode with that surprise guest (ahem, Dolly Parton), they shot it amid the peak of COVID restrictions. The crew constructed the cabin, split it and transported half of the said cabin to Tennessee, wherein Parton filmed. Then, they shot the other portion with a double. So, Rena Owen (Heveena) and Parton never worked together on the same set!

Fun fact, although you might have already figured this out: The Orville‘s name derives inspiration from aviator Orville Wright and a book about The Wright Brothers MacFarlane was reading. 

RELATED: Catch up on the sci-fi goodness with The Orville: New Horizons recaps!

The cast dish on filming challenges and fun anecdotes, including Szohr telling the crowd she didn’t recognize Macon (Bortus) the first time she saw him without makeup! Macon regales the audience with a story regarding the prosthetic head he wears. It opens at the top to air it out during breaks. One day, the crew closed said head even though it was chock full of ants. I can’t imagine having ants crawling around on your head would be comfortable!

Lee talks about the difficulties of memorizing the lengthy science terminology LaMarr often utters, while Jerald reveals the dance scenes during COVID presented challenges of their own. 

Next, MacFarlane confesses the stakes are higher with sci-fi than with creating animated comedies à la Family Guy and American Dad. Still, he welcomes the higher stakes at this juncture in his already storied career. 

RELATED: The Orville: New Horizons Scrapped Episode To Release as Novella

Winters teases further consequences and complications for Charly Burke, along with her immense growth throughout Season 3. Jackson also comments on Isaac’s evolution and how his journey continues to blossom. 

Meanwhile, MacFarlane believes in preserving the element of surprise in storytelling, only hinting that viewers will be “creatively satisfied” by the season’s end. Hey, that’s enough for me. Unfortunately, there’s no word yet on whether The Orville will snag a fourth season. However, we learned from the panel that all three seasons would hit Disney Plus on August 10! Get the scoop from MacFarlane himself:

What do you hope to see in the final two episodes of the season? Sound off in the comments below!

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Melody McCune
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