Seth MacFarlane's sci-fi comedy drama The Orville wasn't a hit with the critics, but its first season saw it become Fox's most-watched and highest-rated debut since Empire in 2015, with the show officially renewed for a second season in November 2017.
The Orville is set 400 years in the future and follows the crew of the titular starship tackling missions in space, with MacFarlane telling Digital Spy that he was looking to "fill the void" that Star Trek left behind when it evolved from its classic series.
Clearly it worked, but how will MacFarlane continue to develop the show over its second season? Here's everything we know so far.
The Orville season 2 release date: When's it coming back?
Initially, it seemed like we wouldn't be getting any more episodes in 2018 as MacFarlane was quoted as saying there was "too much to do".
However, he later tweeted that all systems were go for season two to arrive later this year, as well as commenting on the possibility of a Family Guy crossover. "To correct a bit of misreporting: No, there won't be an Orville/Family Guy crossover, and yes, The Orville season 2 will arrive later this year," he wrote.
To correct a bit of misreporting: No, there won’t be an Orville/Family Guy crossover, and yes, The Orville season 2 will arrive later this year.- Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) January 7, 2018
So we could expect it around September as that's when the first season premiered in the US on Fox, but there is a chance we might have to wait slightly longer given the short turnaround. At least we know it's coming by the end of 2018 at the latest.
In the UK, the first season didn't start until December 2017 on FOX, but hopefully the second season will be similar to The Walking Dead's UK airing and be broadcast shortly after the US.
The Orville season 2 cast: Who's in it?
We expect all of the main crew of the USS Orville will be back, so that includes MacFarlane as the ship's captain Ed Mercer, Adrianne Palicki as first officer and Ed's ex-wife Kelly Grayson, Penny Johnson Jerald as Dr Claire Finn, Scott Grimes as Lieutenant Gordon Malloy, Peter Macon as Lieutenant Commander Bortus, Halston Sage as Lieutenant Alara Kitan, J Lee as Lieutenant Commander John LaMarr, and Mark Jackson as science and engineering officer Isaac.
Recurring stars including Norm Macdonald as engineer Lieutenant Yaphit, Victor Garber as Admiral Halsey and Chad Coleman as Bortus's mate Klyden will also feature in season two, as well as Rachael MacFarlane as the voice of the USS Orville's computer.
The first season also featured some heavyweight guest stars in the form of Charlize Theron and Liam Neeson among others, so expect to see MacFarlane dip into his contacts book for similar big-name stars in the next run of episodes.
It has already been confirmed that Gossip Girl star Jessica Szohr will join the crew of the USS Orville as a regular cast member in season two.
The Orville season 2 episodes: What can we expect?
Due to scheduling issues, the first season of the show was cut short by one episode to 12, but that 'lost' episode is now expected to air with the second season, with MacFarlane also saying that he expects to do "at least" 14 episodes.
"I'd rather do fewer episodes and have them be better content-wise than do 22 and have them be filler," he explained at the Television Critics Association winter press tour.
As for what we can expect from season two's missions for the USS Orville crew, MacFarlane wants to include more science-fiction elements, citing the season one episode 'Into the Fold' – which saw Dr Claire Finn and Isaac trapped on a planet alone – as an example that the show's universe can succeed with more sci-fi.
"It was a very dark, sombre episode that still lived in that world very successfully. That episode for me in the first season was the real test of how far we can take the genuine science-fiction aspect of it," he reflected.
"What we found was that we can lean a little more heavier into the science fiction and not have to worry so much about knocking out a joke every page. The show is an hour and really can, and wants to, service its storytelling in a way that makes it a priority. The jokes come as they come, the comedy comes as it comes."
The Orville season 2 trailer: When's it landing?
The first trailer for The Orville was unveiled by Fox during their upfront presentation in May 2017, so we could expect the first footage during this year's event or, at the very latest, during Comic-Con in July.
For now, just enjoy these round-ups of the first season and decide whether you like the humans or the aliens better.
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