The Orville season 4: Everything we know about a potential new season

The Orville: New Horizons -- “Domino” - Episode 309 -- The creation of a powerful new weapon puts the Orville crew — and the entire Union — in a political and ethical quandary. Capt. Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane), shown. (Photo by: Michael Desmond/Hulu)
The Orville: New Horizons -- “Domino” - Episode 309 -- The creation of a powerful new weapon puts the Orville crew — and the entire Union — in a political and ethical quandary. Capt. Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane), shown. (Photo by: Michael Desmond/Hulu) /

Fans are eager to know what’s next for Seth MacFarlane’s hit series and whether The Orville season 4 could happen. Here’s what you need to know.

Seth MacFarlane’s brilliant blend of humor and cosmic exploration, The Orville, is what fans call “the Star Trek that Star Trek fans want to watch.”

If you’ve been living under an asteroid and haven’t yet witnessed the magic that is this series, you’re missing out on a journey that’s both laugh-out-loud funny and very touching. The Orville has served up three seasons of critically acclaimed entertainment so far, and we honestly can’t wait to see if the show will return for season 4.

If you’re in the same boat as us and would like to know more about the show and if that potential fourth season could happen, here’s what we know so far.

The Orville season 4 hasn’t been renewed yet (but it hasn’t been cancelled either)

The Orville is one of the few shows on any platform yet to have its fate decided as Hulu has yet to confirm if it will be back for another season, but the silver lining here is that the conversations about the show’s future sound like they should inspire optimism.

Actor Chad L. Coleman, who plays Klyden on the show, spoke to CinemaBlend earlier this year, revealing that Seth MacFarlane is in negotiations with Disney. So the chance of a season 4 isn’t just a star in the sky.

While Coleman did say things were “up in the air,” there’s no harm in getting excited and trying to manifest more information on the show. In fact, he’s not the only one remaining optimistic, MacFarlane himself took to X (formerly Twitter) that same month to say that, even though no announcement on the show’s future had been made yet, he was remaining “cautiously optimistic”.

When could a fourth season come out? (release date predictions)

While the pandemic gave us a three-year gap between the second and third seasons of The Orville, there was the hope that a potential fourth season shouldn’t take as long to come out. But as we’re already over a year removed from the end of season 3, that could happen again.

Of course, the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes meant that decisions on the future of some shows could not be made, but those strikes have since ended, so the hope is that if Hulu renews the show for another season, then production could commence in the foreseeable future.

That said, production takes time, so the earliest we can hope The Orville season 4 might arrive would be Fall 2024, though a 2025 release window is looking more likely due to the delay in deciding the fate of the show.

The Orville season 4
The Orville: New Horizons — “Future Unknown” – Episode 310 — A celebration is underway aboard the ship on the season three finale of “The Orville: New Horizons”. Klyden (Chad L. Coleman), Topa (Imani Pullum), and Lt. Cmdr. Bortus (Peter Macon), shown. (Photo by: Gilles Mingasson/Hulu) /

Adrianne Palicki might not return as Commander Kelly Grayson

Adrianne Palicki has been a part of The Orville since it began but it sounds like she might not be involved in a fourth season if the show returns. The actress, who plays Commander Kelly Grayson on the show, recently appeared on Michael Rosenbaum’s Inside of You podcast and suggested she had no plans of going back, telling the host: “No, no longer doing that. I did three seasons”.

She did say that she thinks that the show’s return is something that “certain people want to do”, but added that it was a “really difficult show to shoot.” One of the main reasons for that was the fact that they only produced 33 episodes across six years, which was likely financially unfeasible for some of the actors involved.

Palicki also revealed that one of the reasons it took so long to shoot and produce episodes of The Orville was that creator Seth MacFarlane “wanted to write everything himself”. That resulted in longer periods between seasons, and she added that at one point they “were like, ‘We have to fight the studio to give us a holding fee or something.”

With all of that in mind, it’s unlikely that we will see Palicki reprise her role as Grayson should Hulu opt to bring the show back for another season. The question is: Will any other cast members feel the same?

Cast predictions for season 4

The great thing about comedy shows is that unlike dramatic soap operas or some hardcore sci-fi/fantasy shows (*cough* Game of Thrones *cough*), the main cast usually stays intact because nobody is dying left and right. No gratuitous killing here, just good laughs and deep space exploration.

Seth MacFarlane will likely be back as Captain Edward Mercer and thank the universe for that. He’s not just in charge of the Orville – he’s the creator, the showrunner, and, quite literally, the heart of the series.

Penny Johnson Jerald should also be returning to reprise her role as Doctor Claire Finn and Scott Grimes should be returning as well to keep us laughing our butts off as Lieutenant Gordon Malloy.

As far as the rest of the crew, including Peter Macon as Lieutenant Commander Bortus, Mark Jackson as Isaac, and J. Lee as Lieutenant John LaMarr – they should also be returning as well, though nothing has been officially confirmed or announced yet.

It’s also important to remember Adrianne Palicki’s comments, because if other cast members feel the same way, we might see a few less familiar faces in The Orville season 4 if it gets renewed.

Taking Palicki’s potential departure into account (and provided that the rest of the cast agrees to return), this is what the cast of a potential fourth season would probably look like:

  • Seth MacFarlane as Captain Ed Mercer
  • Penny Johnson as Dr. Claire Finn
  • Peter Macon as Lieutenant Commander Bortus
  • J. Lee as Lieutenant Commander John LaMarr
  • Mark Jackson as Isaac
  • Chad L. Coleman as Klyden
  • Jessica Szohr as Lieutenant Commander Talla Keyali
  • Giorgia Whigham as Lysella

What can we expect from The Orville season 4?

Seth MacFarlane has been keeping any potential storylines for The Orville season 4 a secret in the hopes that the show gets to bring it all to life if Hulu renews it. However, rumor has it that an adaptation of McFarlane’s novel Sympathy for the Devil might be in the works. This story was originally slated for season 3 but got sidelined, probably due to COVID-19 disruptions.

MacFarlane did, however, allude to some new storylines taking center stage in season 4, telling Syfy Wire that some “new developments this season that certainly suggest themselves as possible candidates for expansion” in a potential fourth season.

It goes without saying that fans are hoping that Hulu renews The Orville for a fourth season because there is still so much potential for story possibilities. With the strikes now over and more and more fans wondering when the show’s future will be decided, we’re hoping that MacFarlane will give us all a more definitive update on the potential of season 4 (and what it could entail) soon.

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