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The Orville Seth MacFarlane Ed Mercer Peter Macon Bortus FOX

The Orville is on its way back for Season 3, just perhaps not as soon as fans wanted or expected. The Fox-turned-Hulu series was in the middle of filming new episodes when it, like many other shows, had to shut down its production. Now, Seth MacFarlane is offering a hilarious update about how the sci-fi drama could return after the postponement.

The Orville’s creator and star joked about how the filming delay could impact the appearance of its cast when Season 3 resumes production. While a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Seth MacFarlane revealed that the show was in the middle of filming a particular episode when production was required to cease back in mid-March, and joked that everyone in the cast might look surprisingly different from one shot to the next. In his words:

We were right in the middle of shooting an episode of The Orville. So it’s like, when this thing airs at long last, whenever that is, one episode is gonna be such that between one scene to the next, people are suddenly gonna gain 20 lbs and have long, white beards.

That would be intense, especially for the female characters to grow beards. Perhaps such a thing could happen as a wink at the audience. You have to believe Seth MacFarlane has already considered how to intentionally reference the gap in The Orville's filming, since he's a reference-heavy kind of a guy. Considering the show’s sci-fi nature, it's easy to imagine there is some sort of storyline that would enable what MacFarlane is joking about.

Whether we get to see Ed and Gordon rocking God-like facial hair not, Season 3 will look a little different thanks to its new addition in Netflix star Anne Winters of 13 Reason Why. The big question, of course, is when fans of The Orville get to see Winters in action alongside the show’s original cast ensemble. When asked about when The Orville’s first season on Hulu might be coming out, Seth MacFarlane told Jimmy Fallon:

It depends on when we get back to work. It depends on what conditions we get back to work. We shot about half the season, and it’s looking amazing. We’re basically gonna be delivering a little movie every week.

Well, that mini-movie tease sounds exciting, at least! Seth MacFarlane will split directing Season 3’s episodes alongside John Cassar, so he's got the keenest idea of what Season 3 will look like when it arrives. The Orville was halfway through filming the season when production had to be shut down, and MacFarlane affirmed that the timeline to continue filming will have the biggest impact on when Season 3 can premiere.

Filming on Season 3 had begun back in mid-October 2019, with photos from the set showing a jubilant cast ready for action. By the time March 2020 and the subsequent shutdown set in, The Orville had already put in quite a few months of work. Now, the world is waiting to see when production will begin again. Here's hoping some the crew was able to work on post-production from the earlier episodes while stuck at home.

The Czech Republic recently announced filming can resume in mid-May with specific guidelines in place, while filming is potentially set to resume soon here in the U.S. for Georgia-based productions. Meanwhile, shows like The Orville are waiting to when they will get the green-light to begin again, and Seth MacFarlane indicated that he is still unsure of when that will be, especially with California's lockdown getting extended.

One silver lining is that when The Orville returns for Season 3, it will do so with longer episodes. Not to mention, fans have the anticipation of seeing the sci-fi series bounce from network television to a more experimental streaming form. Does it get any more exciting than that for fans of shows saved by streaming?

There is currently no precise premiere date for The Orville Season 3. It had been projected to arrive in late 2020, so time will tell if that sticks. Until then, check out this summer’s premieres to stay entertained.

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