The Orville is a sci-fi about the crew on the ship by the same name. Out of universe, why was this name chosen for the show (and the ship)? It appears to be a person's name, but there isn't anybody so far who is named after that. Also, it doesn't seem to have any relation to Star Trek, which it borrows heavily from.

So why did Seth McFarlane, or any of the other producers, choose the name "The Orville for the name of the ship and the series?

  • 1
    Might be because the albatros from Bernard and Bianca is named Orville...with a lot of imagination the ship looks like a bird's beak ... ? Well at least the front ...
    – ElDuderino
    Oct 5, 2017 at 20:01
  • I just was listening to an old recording of the Stan Freeburg radio show and the skit had an alien named Orville. Thought maybe you were listening to this and that's where the name came from.
    – Rahn
    Jan 30, 2019 at 13:31

2 Answers 2


From a Reddit Q&A:

Orville Wright, yes.

I was reading the David McCullough biography of the Wright brothers while I was writing the pilot, and early on there seemed to be some depiction of Orville as the "beta" brother. Seemed like a good fit for our midlevel craft.

That last part also explains why it's "Orville" and not "Wilbur".

Notice the model plane on his desk:


  • Kind of weird naming a ship only after someone's first name. Wouldn't it be more traditional to name it "Orville Wright"?
    – Barmar
    Oct 10, 2017 at 18:17
  • @Barmar perhaps, but this may be the point because The Orville is not a straight up drama, it's a dramedy that also occasionally spoofs 'space adventure'. So this kind of goes hand in hand with being a little goofy/different. Jan 30, 2019 at 14:36

As answered by @Valorum over on Science Fiction & Fantasy

Per this twit from series writer/director Seth MacFarlane, the ship is named after Orville Wright of "Wright Brothers" fame

Q. Seth, why did you call it the Orville?

Seth Macfarlane: I was reading David McCullough's Wright brothers biography while writing the pilot. Seemed fitting.

  • 5
    Huh, my money was on it being named after Orville Redenbacher. Oct 5, 2017 at 20:09
  • @Thunderforge Because Ed Mercer is a fan of old movies?
    – Barmar
    Jan 30, 2019 at 18:15

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