The Orville is making the hyperspace leap from Fox to Hulu for season 3, after a nearly three-year wait since Fox renewed it for season 3 back in May 2019. The pandemic, along with several other setbacks, led to an evolution and the subtitle. New Horizons for the new iteration of the beloved series.
The next chapter of Seth MacFarlane’s sci-fi dramedy will pick up sometime after the season 2 finale saw the Kaylons begin to wage war on the galaxy, with the Planetary Union entering a tentative partnership with the Krill in hopes of preventing further annihilation.
Ahead of the show’s return, Screen Rant spoke exclusively with stars Mark Jackson, Peter Macon and Chad Coleman to discuss The Orville season 3, jumping from Fox to Hulu, their emotional storylines, the upgraded sets and costumes and more.
Screen Rant: I’ve loved The Orville since it launched on Fox back in the day, and I’m excited by New Horizons from what I’ve seen so far. Mark, Isaac’s journey at the start of this season is quite the emotional one. What was it like for you when you first got the scripts for this season?
Mark Jackson: I was pleased to say that all those scripts came in at the same time, so I did not think, “Oh, that’s it.” As I read the script, it became quite clear that this was a big season for Isaac and that he has a fantastic arc. It’s a real gift to be given that, particularly on a show like this, it’s so well written and so well developed with its characters. I was really excited. I do not think I got all the scripts the same time, but they had enough to know how it was going to play out. I think Seth might have told me over a whiskey the arc beforehand, but yeah, it was quite exciting.
What were some of the challenges for you trying to really explore this emotional arc through a robotic-type character?
Mark Jackson: Yeah, it’s an interesting question, because he doesn’t have emotions. So for a character who does not have emotions to have an emotional arc, I guess we need a new a new language for it or a new vocabulary. With Isaac, it’s about nuance and that nuance is brought about by logical processes, he has to act in the most logical way. I think he reacts to his environment and makes logical conclusions from that, so when it came to something so serious, like when you see him in the first episode, I mean it’s daft to say, but he came to the conclusion to do what he did, logically, really.
It was quite the interesting decision he made and I was glad that it played out the way it did. Peter and Chad, I’ve loved the chemistry that you too have as your Bortus and Klyden throughout this whole show. What has that been like for you developing that rapport off camera before bringing it into every scene?
Chad Coleman: We’re thespians, it’s a natural vibe with Peter. We both love classical theater and we’re trained in classical theater and we both identify with the journey of hitting the bricks in New York and then making that transition out here. Peter always feels like family to me, from day one I just felt that way, the vibe felt like something we did not have to necessarily nurture, even though we are. When I heard that voice, we both tested for Bortus, I was like, “Peter’s gonna get it anyways.” [Laughs] So I was glad to be invited back to play Klyden to his Bortus.
Peter Macon: That’s funny. I will say that, what he’s saying is like we kind of came from the same school of American actors. Growing up in the theater, regional theater all over the country, particularly east coast, the way that you approach character work. I think what’s been great about this complex relationship, just on the page, is that I feel comfortable and completely safe in the hands of – someone once told me that if you really want to find out how your show went, ask your scene partners. I always feel like I get everything and we’re completely free.
We speak the same theatrical language and approach to the text and we ask questions and that gives us a whole foundation in which we can make backstory and joke about Klyden and Bortus’ relationship, and what life is like on the ship for both of them. , how it’s different for them and what are their similarities. Then you add in the whole prosthetics, at first I feel like people had a hard time, maybe, in the first season distinguishing Klyden and Bortus is like, “Are you Chad?” “No, I’m Peter.” When you get to play a character for that long underneath all that makeup, you begin to innately build nuance.
It’s something I think Mark was touching on, in having physical training and having coming from the theater I think is hugely helpful in getting those distinctions down. If you go to season 2, where we were addicted to nicotine and the physical comedy of all of that, you know, it’s just trust-falling with each other. Whatever amount of zaniness they ask us to do, it’s attainable.
Since this show is now on Hulu, did you feel any kind of change in the writing or the atmosphere on set in comparison to past seasons?
Peter Macon: Yeah, you get a lot more bang for your buck. Doing 60 minutes versus 48 minutes, just watching those screeners, it’s a slower build, there’s more time. They were taking a long time to shoot them. [Laughs]
Mark Jackson: I think was the main thing we noticed, right? Longer and harder.
Peter Macon: Yeah, but I do feel like it gave us a little bit like more space to –
Chad Coleman: More space! [Laughs]
Peter Macon: I feel like it was a lot more tedious, because we could get everything and they were shooting everything. They had three cameras all the time, lots and lots of different coverage, that did feel like there was a shift in that. But if you look at these little screeners, you look at what got turned in, these are movies, so that felt different for me.
Mark Jackson: Seth definitely seemed happy to have more time to play and to be able to really tell the stories he wanted to tell. He seemed a bit more relaxed with that, which was nice. So it was a sort of a slightly more relaxed set environment than season 2 in terms of the creation aspect.
Chad, can you give me a tease of what we can expect from Klyden in this season? Especially since season 2 saw you and Bortus in a very tenuous part of your relationship?
Chad Coleman: Klyden is a fierce individual there. He feels deeply, but he loves deeply, everything is 1,000 percent. For him, it’s going to be a hell of a ride, brother. It’s truly epic times, too, with what’s going on with him in terms of his relationship with his family, they’ve really ratcheted it up, it’s a thrill ride, for sure. The pendulum swings from great joy to great sorrow, you’re gonna get the whole shebang with him. It felt like, “Well, hey, man, if this is the last season, dammit, he’s going to get it all.” [Laughs] It’s a joy to play this character and to rock with Peter. It really is powerful stuff.
Peter discussed it briefly earlier, but with the prosthetics, I feel like I noticed a slight difference in the facial prosthetics for you, Peter, and Mark it looked like you also had an entirely different suit, for Isaac, am I mistaken?
Mark Jackson: Everything got an upgrade this season, I think. As you can see, the ship did, the sets did, Isaac did. Your makeup was subtly different, wasn’t it both?
Peter Macon: Yeah, but I do not want to comment too much on it, because it was definitely a transitional sort of thing. Without going into great detail, there were two different makeup teams, we came back to KNB, which was the original effects crew. There was a slight difference, if you’re really paying attention. It took a little bit, I know that was a thing, without going into detail, but it was a thing to get it back to its original place. It still looked good, but it did look different. When I watched the screener for 301, I was like, “Oh, wow, okay.”
But that’s a testament to the complicated design of that makeup, to do it years and consistently every day is even a feat. There was a couple of hiccups or bumps, [because] it’s transitional. Also we had a new DP, there was lots of other of moving parts that needed to find its center. We’ll see what the rest of it looks like, but I think that’s indicative of it being sort of in a transitional space with makeup teams and that’s pretty much all I want to say about that.
The Orville: New Horizons Synopsis
Set 400 years in the future, The Orville: New Horizons finds the crew of the USS Orville continuing their mission of exploration, as they navigate both the mysteries of the universe and the complexities of their interpersonal relationships.
Check out our other interviews with Orville: New Horizons stars Scott Grimes & J. Lee, Jessica Szohr & Anne Winters as well as Adrianne Palicki & Penny Johnson Jerald.
More: What To Expect From The Orville Season 3
The Orville: New Horizons premieres on Hulu on June 2.
LOTR Rings Of Power Images Reveal New Look At Elves, Hobbits & Dwarves
About The Author