Seth MacFarlane has teased the possibility of his sci-fi series The Orville including cameos from Star Trek actors. The Orville debuted last week on Fox and garnered solid ratings, though not all critics were impressed by the show's mix of straight-forward Star Trek-style outer space adventure and out-of-left-field MacFarlane humor.
Set 400 years in the future, The Orville follows the exploits of the titular vessel as it embarks on a mission to explore the galaxy, led by amiable captain Ed Mercer (MacFarlane). MacFarlane has described the show and its cheerful outlook as a "response to dystopian sci-fi," while cast member Mark Jackson has called it a show "for disgruntled Star Trek fans." The show's debt to Star Trek, particularly the original series, was demonstrated by the profusion of Star Trek Easter eggs popping up in the debut episode.
In a Reddit AMA, Seth MacFarlane indicated that The Orville may soon get visits from a few actual Star Trek cast members, though in classic teaser fashion he didn't name any names.
Considering William Shatner's eagerness to appear in any and all Star Trek-related properties, it's a fair bet he is one of the people MacFarlane is trying to line up for an appearance on The Orville. Perhaps that would make up for Shatner's absence in J.J. Abrams' Trek. Shatner's Old Kirk reportedly had a scene written in his 2009 Star Trek reboot but it ended up getting cut.
If MacFarlane could somehow manage it, perhaps The Orville could feature cameos by both Shatner and George Takei, the former Trek co-star with whom Shatner has been carrying on a very public feud for many years. At the very least, the sight of Shatner and Takei on-screen together barely holding back their mutual contempt would result in some delicious meta-tension. Another dream would be to see MacFarlane bring together multiple Trek captains for a reunion, though lining up Patrick Stewart might be tough as he still has a very viable career and may not be able to carve out any time to pop in for a brief spot on a network show.
With MacFarlane's news that he is trying to line up cameos by Star Trek actors, it appears The Orville won't be dialing back on the direct Trek references any time in the near future. Just how much mileage the show can get by aping Trek is something that remains to be seen. At some point, one assumes the show will have to forge its own identity if it wants to continue over the long-haul.
Source: Seth MacFarlane