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Seth MacFarlane's The Orville is influenced by other iconic science fiction franchises, but that's the case with most new sci-fi. However, not very many of those older fictional universes ever actually exist within the shows that they inspired. Some have expected that The Orville was created to include in-world elements of Star Wars and Star Trek, though, and MacFarlane surprisingly had an answer for the question at San Diego Comic-Con.
CinemaBlend was on site to get MacFarlane's thoughts during The Orville's Comic-Con panel, and they were interesting to say the least. When it comes to the matter of whether or not Star Wars and Star Trek exist within The Orville's universe, the creator and star shared that he believes it's possible, although the connection may not be in the way people would initially assume.
We have dropped hints. In fact, Penny has a line in Season 1 where she refers to Obi Wan. You know, I think the history of Earth is the history of Earth. I think Star Wars exists in The Orville universe. Yeah, why the fuck not? That’s as far as we’ve gotten.
Basically, Star Wars exists within The Orville because it's a part of Earth's history. Claire referenced Obi Wan because he's a familiar and beloved figure in the realm of Earth's pop culture, even apparently as far into the future as the 2400's. Though he didn't directly address Star Trek, Seth MacFarlane's comment seemed to imply that since those franchises' shows and films are a part of Earth's history, the franchises are a part of the universe, too.
It's an exciting revelation for The Orville's fans, since acknowledging either property's existence on the now-Hulu series means that future storylines could quite liberally pull each show's mythos into the series in fun ways. For example, imagine Ed watching Star Trek: The Next Generation because he remembers an episode where something happened that's remarkably similar to what's happening on the ship, and then uses it to make an escape. That sounds right up his alley.
Seth MacFarlane built his career off of Family Guy, a show that frequently parodied Star Wars and other popular franchises. (Plus, he got past and present Trek vet Patrick Stewart to star on American Dad.) Could The Orville find ways to do similar things?
It probably won't happen with tons of Star Trek references (despite some shared cast and crew), but now that Disney owns the show's Hulu home, it's possible that more Star Wars references could creep in. Perhaps "May the 4th" will be revealed as an actual intergalactic holiday in The Orville's universe, which might come with a bunch of strange traditions based on the franchise. Maybe not, but that's just one of many things the series could do to further reference Star Wars lore, and something its passionate fans may love to see.
The Orville is moving to Hulu for Season 3, so stick with CinemaBlend in the meantime for more updates on the upcoming season and other things happening in the world of television and movies.