The Orville Season 4: Will Seth MacFarlane Be Back For More?

The Orville Season 4 appears to be in the works but there is no official release date for the next set of stories.

By James Brizuela | Published

The Orville is arguably one of the best shows that Seth MacFarlane has ever put out. Of course, the man is mostly known for Family Guy and American Dad, but his sci-fi series is truly where he got to shine in terms of the constant nerd pop culture subjects that he has constantly been referencing in his other shows. The show is essentially a rip-off of Star Trek, which is the natural type of humor that MacFarlane has concerned most of his works with. And it’s why the prospect of a The Orville Season 4 all that much more exciting.

Although this series was essentially panned when it was first released, the second season achieved massive acclaim. Now the third season has moved from Fox to Hulu, but it begs the question, will there be The Orville Season 4? Here is all we know about the show’s future.

SETH MACFARLANE WANTS THE ORVILLE SEASON 4

Even though there is still so much up in the air with MacFarlane, especially as he is in the middle of kicking off his new Ted series on Peacock, he said he (and the cast) are ready, willing, and able to head back to The Orville for a season 4. Still, he also understands the barriers that could prevent it. He talked to The Hollywood Reporter about a possible season 4:

“I would love it [The Orville season 4]. I know the entire cast is hoping for it. It’s a big question mark for a lot of reasons. It’s not an inexpensive show to produce. It requires an ambitious budget. But the flip side of that is, it’s no more ambitious than half the other streaming shows on television. It really is going to depend on audience response, on whether the show gets discovered.”

“I still think there are a lot of people who just don’t know that we’re out there and don’t really quite know what we are. And when people sit down and watch the show, they’re almost always surprised, and it almost always upends their expectations. Probably because it’s me (laughs), probably because most of what I’ve done in the past has been very different, but it’s dependent on audience response. At the end of the day, it’s a business. It’s dependent on whether we’re worth something to Disney and to the platform that we’re on.”

SETH MACFARLANE COULD BE LEAVING THE ORVILLE FOR THE TED SERIES

One of the biggest reasons why there will possibly not be The Orville Season 4 has everything to do with Seth MacFarlane leaving the series. Although the man has created both Family Guy and American Dad, he has often left to handle other ventures and let his creative teams handle the heavy lifting.

One might argue that has led to a drop in the quality of the writing, and that could be the case for this sci-fi venture. The reason that MacFarlane is leaving is to head up a new series that is revolved around the fan-favorite film, Ted.

The foul-mouthed bear that led to one of MacFarlane’s most successful films is the chief reason why the man is moving on from The Orville Season 4. This new Ted series will likely take up most of his time as a creator, and naturally, he is likely to want to get the series right.

Should the new Ted series explode as the films have, then it could be on par with his other successful shows. The new series will follow Ted and a 16-year-old version of John, as they both attempt to navigate their teenage years. The series is being developed for Peacock.

THE ORVILLE MOVED FROM FOX TO HULU TO DISNEY+

The first two seasons of The Orville were shown on the Fox broadcast network. But as the show began to find its footing, creator MacFarlane knew he wasn’t going to be able to meet the demands of network TV, as he said so in his statement about moving the show from Fox to Hulu. “…as the show has evolved and become more ambitious production-wise, I determined that I would not be able to deliver episodes until 2020, which would be challenging for the network. So, we began to discuss how best to support the third season in a way that worked for the show.”

The discussions led Fox to hand over The Orville reigns to Hulu, which could better accommodate MacFarlane’s continued vision for the series. But MacFarlane, while praising Fox for embracing the material he wrote in the show’s first two seasons, noted the main difference between Fox and Hulu. He had this to say to The Hollywood Reporter:

“The difference, however, to me is just as simple as running time,” MacFarlane explained. “You’re not stopping six times for a commercial break, which always affects the structure of your story, and you’re allowed to breathe on a streaming service. In an episode like this [Episode 5 of season 3], where you’re telling a very emotional story, there are times when you just have to let the scene breathe, and you have to see characters’ faces and how they’re processing certain story turns. It’s tough to do that on a broadcast network because you have to cut everything down to 43 minutes, and not every story is 43 minutes long.”

Season 3 was a hit on Hulu, gaining impressive critical reviews, which makes it hard to understand why the trigger has yet to be pulled on season 4. One thing that might push that along will be fan reactions from Disney+ subscribers. With Disney having purchased Fox a few years back, they also got The Orville in the deal. Now, Disney+ is streaming all three seasons of the hit series.

THE CAST’S OPTIONS WERE NOT PICKED UP FOR THE ORVILLE SEASON 4

Orville season 3
THE ORVILLE: Cast L-R: Jessica Szohr, Peter Macon, Scott Grimes, Mark Jackson, Seth MacFarlane, J Lee, Adrianne Palicki and Penny Johnson Jerald in Season Two of THE ORVILLE airing Thursdays (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2019 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Andrew Eccles/FOX

Although MacFarlane says he and the cast are ready for more, one potential bump in the road is that Deadline has reported the rest of the cast for The Orville were let go back in August of 2021, and all their options were not picked up for a potential fourth season. That is typically a tell-tale sign that a series is on the chopping block.

However, even though most of the cast is moving on to other projects, a fan-favorite cast member from The Orville will be a series regular in Ted. Scott Grimes, who played Lieutenant Gordon Malloy, will be reuniting with MacFarlane for the Ted series, so while Grimes has himself a new gig, his continued work with MacFarlane could make it very easy to slide back into his role on The Orville.

Adrianne Palicki, who portrayed Commander Kelly Grayson, tweeted back in October of 2021 that the series would be ending with season three. While she had possibly prematurely sent that tweet, it was also retweeted by Seth MacFarlane himself. Though there is a possibility the show could return, most of the cast has seen the writing on the wall in terms of the show coming back.

But that was back in October 2021 and things now have a chance of changing. Of course, the “wait and see” attitude that is coming from the producers and, more importantly, Disney, is where we are at. As MacFarlane has stated, it all comes down to fan reaction.

PRODUCERS STILL ARE HOPING FOR ANOTHER SEASON

orville season 3

If you were to ask the producers of The Orville, they haven’t lost hope. In fact, they claim that although they haven’t been given an official greenlight for season 4, they also have not been given the official word that the series has ended. They even came out as season 3 was airing to state that season 3 was not a “definitive” end to the series.

Jon Cassar, director of the series, was asked about the show being canceled in May of this year. He said, “definitely not.” That same hope was echoed by the show’s producer, David A. Goodman, who said, “The show is absolutely not canceled. Absolutely not. That is definitive.” Those are some strong words that could mean The Orville will continue past this season, and soon.

Even Scott Grimes voiced his hope for the series to continue via an interview posted on YouTube. There the actor claimed, “If it does amazing on Hulu and the reaction is great, there’s your answer right there.”  While the cast and crew continue to push for a season 4, ultimately it will be up to the fans as to where the future lies for The Orville.

THE ORVILLE SEASON 4 DOES NOT HAVE A RELEASE DATE

Seth MacFarlane

So, it is very apparent that MacFarlane and the cast of The Orville are on board for season 4. But as things continue to remain up in the air and before any release date of a season 4 can be determined, a season 4 has to first be greenlit.

As we are quickly approaching the end of 2022 and nothing has been announced, on top of the fact that Seth MacFarlane has said just how ambitious each episode can be in terms of production and cost if season 4 is greenlit, it probably wouldn’t be until 2024 that fans would see it. Hold out hope folks, it still could happen.