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The Orville finally returned a few weeks ago for its third season, subtitled New Horizons. This time around, the series moved from its original home at FOX over to Hulu, where it's gotten a bigger budget and a wider scope for the latest round of episodes. But even with that expansion, the series and creator Seth MacFarlane still faced obstacles, which means that one episode of the new season is coming to us in a slightly different form.
MacFarlane announced on Monday that, due to COVID shutdowns during production on Season 3, one especially ambitious episode of The Orville: New Horizons had to be scrapped, but he wasn't willing to let the idea go. So, we're getting The Orville: Sympathy for the Devil, a new novella set after the events of Episode 8 of Season 3 that will tell the story the TV series simply couldn't at the time.
Here's how Disney Books describes what's to come in Sympathy for the Devil:
"When Captain Ed Mercer and the crew of the U.S.S. Orville come face-to-face with one of humanity’s most vile ideologies, they must solve the moral conundrum of who to hold accountable for evil deeds real… and imagined. Occurring just after episode 308, this is the Orville like you’ve never seen it before."
MacFarlane didn't say much more about the story in Sympathy for the Devil, but he did call the idea an "outlier" and a "conceptually experimental" take on the show, which seems to fit right in with the grander scale of Season 3 so far. In promoting New Horizons, MacFarlane made it clear that the new title was meant to indicate a shift as the series moved from one home to another.
“The scope of the show is much more cinematic. As the season progresses that gets more and more the case,” MacFarlane told SYFY WIRE. “We've actually produced 10 mini-movies over the season for the audience's consumption.”
This isn't the first time that the scope of The Orville has expanded beyond the realm of the TV series. Dark Horse Comics has released three miniseries so far charting the crew's adventures between Season 1 and 2, and between Seasons 2 and 3. So, if you love The Orville and you need more after the credits roll, you know where to go.
The Orville: Sympathy for the Devil is available July 19.
Looking for more sci-fi? Check out Battlestar Galactica, Brave New World, and more streaming on Peacock.