The Orville Releases Norm Macdonald Tribute Video

The Orville has released a new video paying tribute to cast member Norm Macdonald. Macdonald was a comedian best known to many for his five seasons on Saturday Night Live, including three anchoring Weekend Update. He later played voice roles for Seth MacFarlane's animated shows like Family Guy and joined MacFarlane's live-action sci-fi series The Orville as the voice of alien engineer Yaphit. Macdonald died in September 2021, sometime after recording his lines for The Orville's long-delayed third season, which now -- along with his Emmy-nominated, posthumously released Netflix special Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special -- makes up some of his final work. 

With The Orville Season 3 (a.k.a. The Orville: New Horizons) now over, the series released a video paying tribute to Macdonald, showing several of his best moments as Yaphit, including a cameo in which Macdonald actually appears as Yaphit's human avatar. You can see the video below.

Macdonald's death at age 61 came at the end of a nine-year struggle with cancer, which he had kept away from the public eye. MacFarlane paid tribute the Macdonald on social media following the star's death.

"To so many people in comedy, me included, there was nobody funnier than Norm Macdonald," he Tweeted. "You always hoped he would hang around after the work was done, just so you could hear his stories and get a laugh. So hilarious and so generous with his personality. I'm gonna miss him."

The Orville's future is now uncertain following the Season 3 finale. MacFarlane gives the series a 50-50 chance at renewal, though its recent move to Disney+ (in addition to Hulu) could make the difference. 

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"My hope is that when the show drops on Disney+, the people who haven't yet discovered [The Orville] will suddenly give it a chance," MacFarlane told TVLine. "That's a potential game changer for us. I think that creatively and audience-wise, when people sit down and give the show a chance, it upends their expectations. The biggest burden with the show is preconceptions. People think it's one thing — there are people out there who think it's a sitcom —  and when they sit down to watch it they realize its something completely different. Once you get people's eyeballs on it, the show does the work, its speaks for itself, and people tend to be hooked."

The Orville: New Horizons is now streaming in its entirety on both Disney+ and on Hulu.