Seth MacFarlane Just Made The Orville Fans Deeply Worried

Seth MacFarlane doesn't know if The Orville will be greenlit for another season.

By Zack Zagranis | Updated

Seth MacFarlane is just as in the dark about The Orville Season 4 as fans. The Family Guy creator took to Twitter to reply to a fan’s question about whether The Orville would be renewed for a fourth season or not. His answer, unfortunately, was that he didn’t know.

Seth began the tweet like a Star Wars crawl saying, “The industry is in the midst of a time of upheaval and transition.” MacFarlane then went on to tell the fan that he wished he could give a “definitive answer” to the question, but all he could say was that he was “cautiously optimistic.”

The Orville is Seth MacFarlane’s love letter to Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation. The series both parodies and pays loving homage to the two Trek series. The show follows MacFarlane as Captain Ed Mercer of the USS Orville as his crew gets into typical sci-fi shenanigans.

The uncertain status of The Orville Season 4 is par for the course for the scrappy sci-fi/comedy upstart. Seth MacFarlane created the series for broadcast television. The Orville originally aired on Fox and received mostly negative reviews from critics.

Fox renewed The Orville for a second season despite the first season’s mostly dismal ratings. The second season was a huge improvement and garnered a rare 100 percent critic approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. A huge improvement over the 30 percent of critics who liked Season 1.

Seth MacFarlane and The Orville jumped to Hulu for a third season titled The Orville: New Horizons. Now that Disney owns 20th Century Fox, however, the show’s fate has been in limbo. Back in August, MacFarlane expressed his belief that The Orville had a 50/50 chance of renewal. That ratio may have changed if his new tweet is anything to go by.

the orville season 4

If Disney decides not to renew The Orville for a fourth season, it doesn’t necessarily mean the death of the franchise. Star Trek: The Original Series was canceled after three seasons. A few years later, Star Trek came back as a film and started a whole multimedia franchise that Paramount is still growing today.

Seth MacFarlane already has experience with shows dying and coming back stronger than ever. MacFarlane’s biggest hit, Family Guy, now in season 21, was originally canceled by Fox after Season 3.

There’s also the possibility that if Disney decides to pass on The Orville, another streamer will pick it up. Shows have a long history of being canceled by one network and revived by another. Popular shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Lucifer, and Arrested Development were all abandoned by their original channel only to find a home somewhere else.

Then again, The Orville could end up like a different Fox sci-fi show with a cult following, Firefly. The Joss Whedon-created Firefly famously ran for one season and was canceled, which inspired fans to back the spin-off movie Serenity to wrap the story. The show’s small but rabid fanbase is still salty that it never got another season to this day.

That’s only a worst-case scenario. It’s far more likely that Disney will let Seth MacFarlane sweat a little more before giving him an answer one way or the other. If they choose not to renew The Orville, MacFarlane could always pitch the series to Paramount+ as a potential crossover with Star Trek. Now that would be something the fans would go crazy for.