The Orville found a very creative way to say goodbye to a key member of the ship’s crew, security officer Alara, and Fox has confirmed that the departure of the character is also a stepping down for actor, Halston Sage. Although the network did not give an official reason for Sage ending her run as a series regular, it did leave open the possibility of her character’s return in future seasons. During the hiatus, eagle-eyed fans had noticed that Sage was filming other projects while The Orville season 2 was still in production, so the news is not entirely unexpected.
In the show, Alara comes from an alien race known as the Xelayans, who, because of their home planet’s massive gravitational pull, are extremely strong in normal Earth gravity, making Alara a deceptively petite but particularly effective security officer. The problem, as revealed in the season 2 episode “Home,” is that the longer Xelayans are away from their home planet, the more susceptible they are to a lessening of their super-strength. For some, including Alara, the onset of the reduction in power can come on quite suddenly, and the need for recuperation provided the perfect excuse for the character’s extended leave from The Orville.
As announced in casting news months ago, Jessica Szohr was added as a new series regular for The Orville season 2, and given that early photos of her character, Talla, show the same physical characteristics as Sage’s Alara, the Xelayan race may be replacing one strong female security officer with another. The network has not confirmed this conclusion, but the switch would certainly make the transition easier, especially if scripts involving Xelayan super-strength were already in the pipeline.
Future episodes of The Orville season 2 will see if this speculation proves true, but in the meantime, be sure to check out all of our coverage of the latest episodes here. The Orville airs at 9/8c on Thursdays on Fox.
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Michael Ahr is a writer, reviewer, and podcaster here at Den of Geek; you can check out his work here or follow him on Twitter (@mikescifi). He co-hosts our Sci Fi Fidelity podcast and voices much of our video content.