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"He is a being alone in space, trying his best to find love in a vessel where he is the only one of his species." Norm Macdonald, voice of Yaphit[source]
Yaphit is a Gelatin Lieutenant and Engineer aboard the USS Orville. According to Admiral Halsey, Yaphit was already an Engineer on the Orville prior to the arrival of Ed Mercer as captain.[2] In April, 2420, Yaphit is passed over for promotion to Chief Engineer of the Orville, for which he was considered next in line, in favor of Navigator John LaMarr.

Yaphit is known for an overbearing crush on Doctor Claire Finn that culminated in a short-lived relationship when Claire was under the influence of Retepsian pheromones.

Yaphit's voice is provided by Norm Macdonald.

Early LifeEdit

Much of Yaphit's past prior to joining the Orville is unknown. Yaphit was "born" and raised on an unnamed home world. The way Yaphit came into being was somewhat convoluted. His mother created a novel Gelatin being via mitosis and, later, the novel gelatin split via mitosis into Yaphit and his brother. [3]

Yaphit enlisted as an officer in the Planetary Union once he reached adulthood.

CareerEdit

Yaphit is first seen in September, 2419. Shortly following the launch of the Orville, Captain Mercer accidentally tramples through Yaphit in a rush to the Shuttle Bay. Yaphit assures the worried Captain that he is unharmed.[2]

For most of his tenure aboard the Orville, Yaphit works directly under Chief Engineer Steve Newton in Engineering. By measure of experience, Yaphit is the seniormost engineer of the ship, aside from Newton himself, and is considered next in line for promotion to chief engineer when Newton leaves in April 2420.[3]

To Yaphit's dismay, that promotion would never come. When Commander Kelly Grayson discovers that Navigator LaMarr boasts some of the highest performance scores in Union history, she becomes John's strongest advocate. She convinces Captain Ed Mercer to place John at the head of a joint Science and Engineering task force to research a nearby spatial anomaly. [3]

Yaphit quickly picks up that John is being tested for Chief Engineer - otherwise Yaphit would be in charge of the task force. He files a complaint with Captain Mercer, claiming discrimination against gelatinous persons.[3]

Yaphit Photo

Yaphit with his brother

Meanwhile, the spatial anomaly turns out to be a pocket of two-dimensional space. With enemy Krill destroyers advancing from all sides, Yaphit comes up with the idea to escape into two-dimensional space by placing the Orville inside a quantum bubble that preserves three dimensions inside. While the plan initially works, but the "aperture" allowing the Orville to exit two-dimensional space closes early, leaving the ship stranded inside the spatial anomaly. Worse yet, the Orville is unable to preserve the quantum bubble. John convinces the Captain to project the bubble from a shuttle, and the shuttle would tow the Orville to a new distant aperture to return to normal space.[3]

John's plan works brilliantly. Unfortunately, the crisis could not have come at a worse time in Yaphit's career. His idea to enter two-dimensional space was perceived as a mistake by the rest of Engineering, and sharply criticized. Even though John defends Yaphit by saying that he approved Yaphit's idea, and thus shares responsibility, Ed promotes John to Chief Engineer as soon as they return to normal space.[3]

Conflict and relationship with Claire FinnEdit

Since Doctor Claire Finn's arrival at the Orville, Engineer Yaphit develops a profound romantic interest in her, often singing to her with a guitar or giving her gifts. After all, Yaphit prefers sexually and romantically Human women of color.[n 1] Claire, on the other hand, finds Yaphit's persistent wooing to be uncomfortable and annoying.

In November, 2419, Yaphit begins feigning illness as an excuse to meet Claire in Sick Bay and ask her out on a date, which he attempts three times over the span of a week. After she turns him down, he makes a crude, sexual pass, after which she angrily demands he leave.[4] His persistence grates on Claire, eventually acknowledging that she hates him.[n 2]

In January, 2420, Yaphit learns that Doctor Finn's shuttle did not arrive as scheduled at Arboreus Prime, distressing Yaphit to know the object of his affections has gone missing. Claire's shuttle was damaged after a trip through an uncharted spatial anomaly and she is forced to crash-land on a nearby moon. Yaphit urges LaMarr not to get them lost as John leaves to search for her using star charts in lieu of the navigational array. Claire is later rescued.[5]

A month later, Yaphit tries once again to woo Doctor Finn, and she rejects him - further insisting she will file a complaint if his unwanted advances continue. However, Yaphit had bumped into Darulio on his way to see Claire. Unbeknownst to Yaphit and Claire, Darulio, a Retepsian, produced powerful pheromones that sparks sexual attraction between carrier and recipient. Yaphit transmitted the pheromones to Claire, creating a powerful romantic and sexual interest in Claire towards Yaphit.[6]

Claire and Yaphit begin a sexual relationship lasting several days until the pheromones wear off. During that time, Claire grows increasingly obsessed with the Engineer, which becomes dangerous during the Navarian-Bruidian conflict. Claire detains Yaphit at gunpoint from erecting a special barrier between the Navarian and Bruidian war fleets. Claire avoids punishment as she was under the overwhelming influence of alien pheromones, but Yaphit leaves Claire alone after the incident.[6]

Production Edit

From the outset, creator Seth MacFarlane wanted "utterly non-human" aliens for the show to more realistically portray futuristic, sentient life.[7] "It's a sci-fi show," he explained in July, 2017. "And budgetary constraints mandate that sci-fi characters be humanoid. But if you talk to physicists they'll tell you, 'It's most likely nothing will look like a human if we find life in space.'"[7]

MacFarlane named Yaphit after actor Yaphet Kotto. Kotto starred as Mr. Kananga in the James Bond film Live and Let Die, which MacFarlane watched while writing the pilot script.[8] In the original script, Yaphit is described merely as a gelatinous blob with a "sloppy hole of a mouth."[9]

MacFarlane sketched the character of Yaphit on paper, which was fleshed out by Howard Berger. According to executive producer Jason Clark, "[MacFarlane] wanted to know if we could feature a CGI character that is essentially a gelatinous blob with a sloppy mouth hole."[10] Armed with MacFarlane and Berger's designs, Clark approached Tippett Studios to turn the drawing into a fully-fledged, renderable model. Once Tippett's model of Yaphit was ready to be used, visual effects supervisor Luke McDonald made a 3-D printing of Yaphit for final approval.

Unfortunately, the budgetary concerns that limit other science fiction shows eventually limited The Orville, and Yaphit became prohibitively expensive due to computer rendering costs. "[Yaphit] looks good on paper," MacFarlane later recalled. "But when you write this character every week, it starts to become expensive, so you write him back a bit."[11]

Casting Norm Macdonald as Yaphit was remarkably easy and, it appears, without auditions. MacFarlane called Macdonald and asked, "Norm, you want to be a blob?" To which Macdonald replied, "Hell yeah, I'll be a blob."[11] MacFarlane called the casting process a "ten-second phone call" with Macdonald.[7]

Propmaster Bryan Rodgers places a microphone where Yaphit will be added during editing so that actors have a sense of where to look.[12] At Jerald's request, an object was not used for scenes between Claire and Yaphit.[13] Meanwhile, MacDonald spoke his lines from a corner of the studio to the actors while filming.[14]

Trivia Edit

  • Yaphit's original quarters were supposed to be in the scaffolding of Engineering.[15]
  • Yaphit is named after actor Yaphet Kotto. Kotto starred as Mr. Kananga in the James Bond film Live and Let Die, which MacFarlane watched while writing the pilot script.[8]

AppearancesEdit

NotesEdit

  1. Yaphit to Pria: "You know, this may sound blunt, but you are the only white woman I've ever found attractive." Episode 1x05: Pria
  2. Alara says to Claire: "You hate Yaphit." Episode 1x09: Cupid's Dagger

ReferencesEdit

  1. Cupid's Dagger
  2. 2.0 2.1 Episode 1x01: Old Wounds
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Episode 1x11: New Dimensions
  4. Episode 1x03: About a Girl
  5. Episode 1x08: Into the Fold
  6. 6.0 6.1 Episode 1x09: Cupid's Dagger
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "How Seth MacFarlane Got Charlize Theron To Be On 'The Orville' | SDCC 2017 | Entertainment Weekly". Entertainment Weekly. July 26, 2017.
  8. 8.0 8.1 @SethMacFarlane. "You got me. I watched Live and Let Die while I was writing the pilot.". Twitter. June 16, 2018.
  9. MacFarlane, Seth. The Orville 1x01 - Pilot. Fox.
  10. Bond, Jeff. The World of the Orville. Titan Books. 2018. Pg. 67.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Seth Meyers Explains to Seth MacFarlane Why People Resent Him". Late Night with Seth Meyers. Sept. 8, 2017.
  12. Bryan Rodgers self-identifies in this interview. Owen, Rob. "Tuned In: Seth MacFarlane readies his own ‘Star Trek’". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Aug. 7, 2017. The item is identified by Penny Johnson Jerald as a microphone in a separate interview. See Jordan DesJardines, "NYCC 2017: What’s Up Doc? Penny Johnson Jerald Talks ‘The Orville’", ScienceFiction.com (Oct. 13, 2017).
  13. "Penny Johnson Jerald #TheOrville on #FOX interviewed at 35th #PaleyFestLA TV Festival in Hollywood". Red Carpet Report on Mingle Media TV. March 17, 2018. The item is identified by Jerald as a microphone in a separate interview. See Jordan DesJardines, "NYCC 2017: What’s Up Doc? Penny Johnson Jerald Talks ‘The Orville’", ScienceFiction.com (Oct. 13, 2017).
  14. DesJardines, Jordan. "NYCC 2017: What’s Up Doc? Penny Johnson Jerald Talks ‘The Orville’". ScienceFiction.com. Oct. 13, 2017.
  15. Bond, Jeff. The World of the Orville. Titan Books. 2018. Pg. 71.