The debut season of The Orville was an interesting experiment for Fox. A sci-fi comedy from Seth MacFarlane that didn't focus on the humor and was a lot more dramatic than it was sold as? Yeah, it was much different than we had ever expected it would be. Critics didn't care for it, but the show was a hit among its vocal fans and the gamble paid off for Fox, which quickly renewed the show for a second season.
It's fair to say we all went into the first season not knowing much at all about the show, and maybe that had some effect on how it was perceived. Let's not make the same mistake as we wait for Season 2. Here's everything we know about Season 2.
Season 2 will be longer than Season 1
Due to some interesting scheduling by Fox, one of the 13 episodes from Season 1 was bumped to Season 2. That means Season 2 will be at least 14 episodes long. "I think it's going to be at least 14 [episodes]," MacFarlane said in January. Expect something official from Fox later this year.
Two new cast members have been announced
Jessica Szohr, who is best known for playing Vanessa Abrams in Gossip Girl, has joined the cast in a regular role. Additionally, Chris Johnson (The Vampire Diaries, Betrayal) is boarding the Orville as a recurring character. Though Fox isn't giving out any details on the character, IMDB lists him as "Cassius." As for Szohr's character, good luck getting any info on her. Even cast members on the show didn't know who she was playing as of production on the second episode, indicating the her character might not appear until later in the season.
With the groundwork out of the way, Season 2 will really dive into the characters
Science-fiction shows spend much of their first seasons explaining the premise of the series or setting the rules of the universe. The Orville did a lot of that in its debut season, but now that fans know who is who and what is what, Season 2 will focus on the characters.
"Well in Season 2 you're going to see more expansion of the characters, because in Season 1 I think you got the groundwork," Penny Johnson Jerald, who plays Dr. Claire Finn, tells TV Guide. "But in Season 2 we're elevating to different levels, we're understanding relationships, we're understanding inner workings of individuals, how they react to things and situations. And surprises, surprises, surprises."
Don't expect Ed and Kelly to get together after they nearly did at the end of Season 1
Ed (MacFarlane) and Kelly (Adrianne Palicki) started the season broken up, explained by a flashback in which Kelly is caught cheating on Ed. Through some shenanigans, Kelly ends up as Ed's Commander, but Ed is never over her unfaithfulness and the two spend many episodes butting heads. But in the finale, they nearly reconciled.
"They're in the aftermath of that big letdown, I think for both of them, and how they're both dealing with it separately," Palicki tells TV Guide. "They obviously like each other massively, and I don't think that will ever go away, the will they or won't they. the Lois and Clark, or the Ross and Rachel. There's going to be a lot of fluctuation throughout the year. ... But I'm really rooting for them, I hope they eventually get together because they obviously both need and love each other very much."
Kelly and Ed won't be at odds with each other as much
Even though they aren't together, it doesn't mean their relationship hasn't changed. In fact, things sound like they will be much more friendly between them in Season 2.
"I think [their fighting] was kind of dealt with in Season 1," Palicki tells TV Guide. "Especially with Darulio coming back and realizing it might not have been her fault. I think that kind of took away some of that sting."
The lost episode from Season 1 will continue Bortus and Klyden's story of their child
As mentioned above, one of the episodes planned for Season 1 was moved back to Season 2 after Fox adjusted its schedule. But Peter Macon, who plays the gruff alien Lt. Commander Bortus, tells TV Guide that the episode will continue the story of the controversial Season 1 episode "About a Girl," in which Bortus and his partner Klyden give their newborn baby a sex change to align with their all-male species to the shock of the other members of the crew. And Macon says you won't be sad it got pushed back and explains why it was delayed.
"It will be worth the wait," Macon tells TV Guide. "We did some stuff and changed some things with our child, so they had to retool it. It will still hold up. I was a little, 'Oh no, they're not going to see it!' but it will bookend nicely once we come back to it. Also we'll let you know that some time has passed, so that tells you that the issue [around the gender assignment] has not resolved. So rather than it being a closed chapter in Season 1, it's going to extend itself to Season 2."
Expect Season 2 to be more secretive
Most of us went into Season 1 not knowing a whole lot, and The Orville wants to keep it that way.
"The whole thing about The Orville for me is, it's one of those shows where you want to wait every week to see what's going to happen," Scott Grimes, who plays Gordon, said. "And if you're privy to that information, you're not going to enjoy it as much, you're not going to be as surprised. So this is the year of surprise for The Orville."
There will be guest stars, but no one is talking about who they will be
"There are some that you wanna see and be part of this whole playground," Johnson says of guest stars in Season 2. But she wouldn't say anymore.
Mark Jackson, who plays the robot Isaac, was thrilled to share the stage with one famous guest star, but wouldn't say who it was. "To be honest, he was so done up as an alien I couldn't even tell who he was," Jackson tells TV Guide.
Robert Picardo will return
Robert Picardo, best known for playing The Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager, will come back to play Alara's father. In fact, you can expect him early in the season as it sounds like he's already filmed his scenes.
Claire will loosen up
Claire wasn't much of a goof off in Season 1, instead playing the role of ship's stern doctor. But that's going to change.
"I think that this year takes her to a place where you get to see her play more, I always like it when I'm able to play more, not just this strong person," Jerald tells TV Guide. "She's that already, but now you get to see her become vulnerable sometimes."
Alara will continue to grow... and something about a horse?
Alara (Halston Sage), the super-strong security officer of The Orville, had one of the more defined character arcs of Season 1 as she overcame insecurity to prove that she was right for the job. But she still has more to learn and will continue to battle preconceived notions.
"One of my favorite things in the first season is that you did get to see that arc of her coming in to her own and really finding her place on the Orville, and you definitely get to see more that in the second season," Halston Sage tells TV Guide. As for the specifics, Sage says, "I don't want to tell you, but there might be something involving a horse."
The real question: Will we ever hear Bortus sing!?!?
You know you want to see it! We almost saw the self-proclaimed great singer belt one out during a karaoke session before he was interrupted. But good news!
"We will prove or disprove whether he can sing or not," Macon says. Sounds like a yes to me!
The Orville is expected to return this fall on Fox.