Seth MacFarlane, series creator and star of Fox’s The Orville, took a break from working on the show’s season finale to Skype into New York Comic Con 2017 to answer questions from the audience. When the topic of the show’s future came up and whether he was optimistic about getting a second season, MacFarlane responded, “I’m exhaling for the first time since we started.”

On stage, the panel included series Executive Producer Brannon Braga (Star Trek: The Next Generation) and cast members Adrianne Palicki (Commander Kelly Grayson), Scott Grimes (Lt. Gordon Malloy), and Penny Johnson Jerald (Dr. Claire Finn).

Adrianne Palicki, Scott Grimes, and Penny Johnson Jerald

Comic-Con audiences were treated to two scenes from this week’s upcoming episode. The first involved the cast in the mess hall discovering, and then amusing themselves with, a new talent Bortus possesses. And the second featured Captain Mercer and Gordon flying a Krill shuttle and realizing a potentially fatal flaw in their plan.

MacFarlane explained from the jumbo screen above the rest of the panel that the impetus for his Captain Mercer was the desire to steer away from the “paragons of virtue” viewers had come to expect from their starship captains and to portray one who’s more like a “mid-level accountant.”

Seth MacFarlane Skyping in.

Regarding whether Mercer and Grayson have already resolved their issues, MacFarlane says to still expect a pattern of “tension and release” with those two. Adrianne Palicki also remarked that it’s an oddly similar relationship dynamic to what her character Agent Bobbi Morse experienced on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D alongside an ex-husband.

When the subject of her infamous failed Wonder Woman TV pilot came up, Palicki said, “It took me a few years to get over the whole Wonder Woman debacle… I’m over it. I’m on this show.”

MacFarlane continued to also discuss how the series is still figuring out how to strike the right balance between comedy and drama. He said he hears criticism on both sides, from those telling him to drop the jokes altogether and from those who want more of them. He feels it’s all about selling the stakes and the jeopardy of the conflicts the crew find themselves in, concluding, “We’re discovering as we go along.”