The Orville Season 4: Will It Release or Get Cancelled?

By Jennifer McDonough Posted:
Orville Series Poster Seth MacFarlane

The Orville Season 3 wrapped up in August of last year and many have wondered if Seth MacFarlane’s fan-favorite science fiction show will be renewed or canceled before Season 4.

Hulu’s The Orville (which began its life on Fox) might not have been the most-watched series ever, but the Seth MacFarlane-produced Star Trek homage had a lot of things going for it.

With a strong ensemble cast, emotionally compelling storylines, not to mention dazzling special effects, one would think a show like that would set the world on fire. But as is often the case with genre television, the audience wasn’t always there. 

Is Orville Returning for Season 4?

The Orville poster

The short version: There hasn’t been any official word of whether The Orville will return for a fourth season.

The longer version is slightly more complex. In April, star Adrianne Palicki (who played Commander Kelly Grayson) spoke to Den of Geek on The Orville’s renewal chances. According to the actress, there have been “rumblings” about a comeback, but nothing concrete has yet come about:

“I mean, there have been talks. There have been rumblings about it, but there’s nothing official.”

Seth MacFarlane, who created the series and served as its lead actor, gave a response in March to a query on the show’s status, making mention of the entertainment’s current state of “upheaval,” likely referring to the now-ongoing writers strike

“The industry is in the midst of a time of upheaval and transition. I wish I could provide a definitive answer to your question. At the moment, all I can say is that I remain… cautiously optimistic.“

Furthermore, The Orville’s art director Kit Stølen offered an update as well last month, also remarking on the uneasy state of film and television productions:

“We’re still hoping we get to do more. Film/Tv/streaming industry is having a weird moment so everything is frozen till it gets worked out.”

Stølen additionally stated that the cast and crew would love to continue, but the decision is not in their hands:

“There’s a whole universe of stories to tell & certainly no desire to end it. Just at the mercy of greater forces…”

In March 2023, Klyden actor Chad L. Coleman spoke with CinemaBlend to share a brief update about Orville Season 4, noting that they think "it's [going to] happen, but it's still up in the air:"

"We’re all in the loop and out of the loop. We think it’s gonna happen, but it’s still up in the air. There’s so much going on with all of these studios that it’s just like, ‘Well, we gotta settle this thing first, then we can really decide on that thing.’ A bunch of that is going on. We hope so."

Coleman then pointed out that series creator Seth Macfarlane has an "amazing" relationship with Disney Entertainment co-chairman Dana Walden, confirming that there will be "meetings" eventually:

"Seth [Macfarlane] has an amazing relationship with Dana [Walden] and with Disney, who’s running it now. And they said they’ve had promising meetings, so we’ll see."

What Are the Chances of a Season 4 of the Orville?

The Orville always faced an uphill battle with regard to establishing popularity. 

Seth MacFarlane is known far and wide for his animated sitcoms such as Family Guy and American Dad, and it’s easy to imagine that when people heard that MacFarlane was developing a sci-fi series, they probably pictured “Family Guy in space.”

Indeed, Orville’s initial marketing painted it as an irreverent, over-the-top comedy, but the show was simply so much more than that. 

A lovingly produced and thoughtfully portrayed homage to the best of 1990s-era Star Trek is what was brought to audiences, especially in the second and third seasons, as the series gradually pivoted to a more serious tone.

With the Writers Guild of America currently in the trenches amid a work stoppage that shows no present signs of ending, perhaps it’s a safe bet that The Orville will not be renewed for another run. This is very much the consensus among its fanbase.

In fact, Craig Erwich, ABC Entertainment's President for Hulu & Disney Branded Television Streaming Originals, gave TV Line a discouraging response about Season 4 in January 2023, noting that the network doesn't have "anything to share right now:"

"We don't have anything to share right now. It's a great show and I know that the fans loved having it back in their lives. Seth [MacFarlane] did a great job, as uniquely as he [could,] in front of and behind the camera. But we don't have anything to share right now."

Also a factor - The Walt Disney Company (which owns Hulu) is in a major cost-cutting phase and is expected to be much pickier in the shows and films it greenlights.

With The Orville’s low viewership, even since all three seasons were added to Disney+ in addition to streaming on Hulu, maybe this cast and crew have taken their final voyage with the show. 

Fans can at least take solace in that the storyline concluded on a satisfying and fairly definitive note.

- About The Author: Jennifer McDonough
Jennifer McDonough has been a writer at The Direct since its 2020 launch. She is responsible for the creation of news articles and features. She also has a particular affinity for action figures and merchandise, which she revels in discussing in the articles she writes, when the situation calls for it.