Norm MacDonald voiced Lt. Yaphit on The Orville, an amorphous, gelatinous, shapeshifting engineer who, for a brief moment, became involved with the ship’s chief medical officer, Dr. Claire Finn. With his recognizable voice and comedic delivery, MacDonald often had some of the best lines on the show for a recurring character. (One of my favorites is season one’s New Dimensions.)
Much too soon MacDonald passed away on September 14th after a long, private battle with cancer, and The Orville’s creator and series star, Seth MacFarlane, like many other celebrities, shared their grief on social media with MacFarlane calling him a “rare actor” in a post to his Instagram page.
Norn MacDonald shouldn’t be replaced
MacFarlane worked with MacDonald on both Family Guy and The Orville, giving him plenty of chances to hang around with one of the funniest comedians whose deadpan deliveries made him a legend. In his tribute, the series star said there was “nobody funnier.” And any one who has seen or heard Norm MacDonald can certainly agree with that.
Filming has already been completed on season three of The Orville, and undoubtedly, Lt. Yaphit returns for his usual dry wit and engineering capabilities. It may be the last time we get to hear one of the greats as I don’t think his voice should be replaced. Yes, I would miss Yaphit on the series, but MacDonald made a gelatinous blob into a memorable character. It just wouldn’t be right to hand the reins over to someone else.
MacFarlane called MacDonald someone “generous with his personality,” and it was that personality that created Yaphit. So though it’s bittersweet to know this could very well be the last season the character is a part of The Orville, it only seems right that Lt. Yaphit takes his bow at the end of the upcoming season.