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‘The Orville’ producer and writer David A. Goodman talks new comic adaptation

We pick his brain about storylines, inspiration, and adapting TV to comics.

David A. Goodman and David Cabeza
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The Orville is by far one of the best science fiction shows to come out in the last two years. Despite being the brain-child of Family Guy impresario Seth MacFarlane, the show has real Star Trek: The Next Generation vibes, but with a touch of humor and modern cultural sensibility to make it more familiar and compelling.

That’s part of the reason I celebrated news of Dark Horse’s launch of The Orville comics series. Before the book debuts July 17, we sat down with producer and writer David A. Goodman, who tal about the writing process, moving from TV to the page, and much more.

AiPT!: Hi David. My name is David Brooke, and I’m with aiptcomics.com. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. I’m a big fan of The Orville and I’m excited for your two-part comic series with artist David Cabeza and color artist Michael Atiyeh. From concept to comic book, how long has this comic series at Dark Horse been building?

David A. Goodman: After the first season of Orville, Dark Horse agreed to do the comic book, so we’ve been working on it for about a year.

AiPT!: Do you approach writing a comic book script differently than a TV show script?

DAG: Yes and no. The ideas for the comic stories are initially developed similar to the television show, in that it’s an idea with a sci-fi concept, but then as I begin to lay it out the pacing is very different.  And with a television script, we know that the actors, director and all the other craftspeople we collaborate with elevate the episode.  With the comic, it’s really just me and David Cabeza, with some input from our editor Dave Marshall.

The opening page from the new comic. Art by David Cabeza.
Credit: Dark Horse Comics

AiPT!: When writing a science fiction, how do you approach adding elements like aliens or other big sci-fi ideas into the story?

DAG: For me, those elements have to be integral to the story, to begin with, I don’t just want them to be window dressing, they’ve got to impact the story and characters.

AiPT!: This comic series picks up after season one, connecting some dots to season one. Before the comic series got off the ground were the stories here scripted to appear on TV, or maybe an idea that was dropped?

DAG: No, all the ideas in the comics were ideas I specifically came up for the comic.  Connecting some of the dots was based on the fact that we’d already started season two when I wrote these comic books, so it was an opportunity to answer some questions and fill in some blanks.

AiPT!: There’s a certain spacecraft in the first issue with a familiar looking name. Any chance that’s a nod to any specific actor?

DAG: Haha, no, the “Burton” is named after the explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton, who searched for the source of the Nile.

AiPT!: I know many compare The Orville to Star Trek: Generations, so it got me wondering if you and MacFarlane have any other TV genre’s or even movies to play off of in another show or comic series?

DAG: Nothing yet, but you never know.

AiPT!: Does writing a licensed property like this require anyone to check in on your choices similar to say the Star Wars story group? For that matter, did MacFarlane have to approve anything?

DAG: As I’m one of the executive producers and writers of The Orville, I pretty much know what we can and can’t do in the comic.  I check in with Seth periodically about what I’m doing with the comic, but he gave me pretty much free reign.

AiPT!: When not working on science fiction TV shows and comics what are you up to?

DAG: When not working on science fiction TV shows and comics, I’m watching science fiction TV shows and reading comics.

You can pick up The Orville #1 in comic shops this Wednesday, or pre-order it today.

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