MacFarlane made the announcement on Saturday, June 25 via Twitter, stating, that “[d]ue to Covid shutdowns, we had to scrap one episode of The Orville: New Horizons. It was an outlier—a conceptually experimental story. Rather than let it vanish, I decided to adapt it as a novelization. Available digitally July 19, you can pre-order here!”
The novella will follow Ed Mercer and the other crew of the U.S.S. Orville, as they come face-to-face with humanity’s most heinous ideologies. The crew will have to solve the moral conundrum of whom to hold accountable for evil deeds both actual and imaginary. The novella will happen just after The Orville: New Horizons Episode 8, and will put the story in a brand-new context.
The Orville originally premiered on Fox in 2017. The series is created by MacFarlane and is a science-fiction comedy that pokes fun and pays homage to such science fiction classics as Star Trek. The third season, The Orville: New Horizons, began streaming on Hulu in June. The production of the third season was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the story that was to become MacFarlane‘s novella was unfortunately cut from the season.
The cover art for the novella is an original piece from Bill Sienkiewicz, who is an Eisner-winning, Emmy-nominated artist. Sienkewicz is maybe best known for reinventing the style of comics and graphic novel illustration in his works from Marvel Comic‘s Elektra: Assassin to the acclaimed graphic novel Stray Toasters. The audiobook of the novella will be narrated by Bruce Boxleitner of Tron fame.
The Orville: Sympathy for the Devil will be available on ebook and audiobook on July 19. The release date is timed so that it can be enjoyed in-between episodes of The Orville: New Horizons, which is currently airing on Hulu. You can order the book here. Additionally, you can view MacFarlane‘s announcement below.