NASA Gave The Orville A Cool Shoutout, So Maybe Season 4 Will Happen Now?

Ed smiling on The Orville: New Horizons
(Image credit: Hulu)

Fans of The Orville: New Horizons are still petitioning for Hulu to renew the series for Season 4, and now it's even getting name-checked by a seriously prestigious organization. NASA recently dropped a great reference to the Seth MacFarlane show in the middle of an informative document, and I think that should be all it takes to convince anyone who needs persuading that Season 4 should happen. 

Readers might not be familiar with NASA's Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science (ROSES) report, but The Orville fans will be familiar with the names featured on Page 24 of the lengthy document. Check out the example below for "Table of Personnel and Work Effort" and how NASA used the names of some of the show's greatest characters: 

Example table of The Orville cast in NASA document

(Image credit: NASA)

It's super cool to see that someone at NASA is a fan of The Orville, though super uncool how they dissed Alara Kitan! I'd hardly list her accomplishments in her time on the ship as "de minimus," though that may just be there to highlight how to properly format this table and not a testament to her actual skill.  

The Orville's nod from an actual space organization feels like another notch in the belt of the beloved science fiction series and another step toward solidifying its place amongst some of the best space shows out there. While this is certainly worth celebrating for fans, I wouldn't blame anybody who may have a hard time partying given that it's not the news they've been waiting for when it comes to The Orville.

The big question about the show is whether fans will be able to use their Hulu subscription to binge Season 4 of The Orville: New Horizons, or if it will go no farther than three seasons. Yes, we're still waiting on renewal news! The show's future has been uncertain ever since a rumor prior to Season 3 that Hulu had no plans to renew beyond the season it had already signed on for when it acquired the show from Fox. 

The rumor was refuted by the cast and creatives behind The Orville, who later added that fan engagement and viewership of Season 3 would play a factor in Season 4 happening. Yet Season 3 ended back in August of 2022, and we're still waiting on an answer to whether it's cancelled or renewed six months later in 2023. 

Naturally, that has been frustrating for fans, and even stars like Penny Johnson Jerald have expressed their anguish about the situation online. Now, we have NASA swooping in to get the series in the news cycle once again, and I can only be hopeful that someone at Hulu with the power to renew sees it as yet another sign that there are many people who want to see the show return. 

The good news is that if The Orville: New Horizons does return, we already have an idea of where it's going. The "Domino" episode laid out a roadmap for where to take Season 4 should it return, so it's all on decision-makers to pull the trigger so that writers can get to work plotting out a new season. Hopefully it happens, and we'll get to see Captain Ed Mercer and others' names in content beyond NASA documents. 

Those with a Hulu or Disney+ account can stream all three seasons of The Orville right now. I would certainly recommend doing it if you're hoping to see the show continue for a new season, though who really knows what it will take at this point for a decision to be made? 

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.