So, the Alara character played by Halston Sage has left THE ORVILLE. This is a weird situation, to put it mildly. In a short 12 episode season, Alara was the focus of two episodes, the first highlighting her youth and lack of command experience, the second focusing on her efforts to conquer fear in her line of work. Which makes it bizarre for the second season to write out the character and actress three episodes in.
No reasons have been given, although Sage and star/showrunner Seth MacFarlane were dating and broke up between Seasons 1 - 2. In addition, Sage has numerous movie roles that would be conflicting the rest of Season 2. I'm not sure which came first. Last I checked, FOX doesn't continue to pay performers who aren't working on their shows anymore, so if she wasn't going to be on THE ORVILLE, she would have had to book other jobs.
Since we don't have any facts, we should probably assume the best and think it was less a Jerry O'Connell/Sabrina Lloyd/John Rhys-Davies situation and more a Yvette Nicole Brown situation (she quit COMMUNITY after Season 5 because her father was ill and she needed to be with him). That said, it does make me think about all the numerous actors in genre shows who have been shockingly ungrateful and who waste time and resources seeing scripts and episodes produced around them to prepare for a lengthy term of duty that they don't actually complete.
I was always appalled by how ROSWELL stars Brendan Fehr, Katherine Heigl and Majandra Delfino were perpetually declaring their eagerness for the show to be cancelled so they could leave to do music and movies as though a TV show for which they'd auditioned and which had granted them a fanbase, exposure and financial security were now beneath them.
David Duchovny is an interesting case, perpetually whining about how bored he was on THE X-FILES. Slider_Quinn21 points to Duchovny as an example of how actors often don't wish to stay when speaking of Jerry, Sabrina and John's departures, but this fails to take note that all these actors signed multi-year contracts. If they didn't want to spend 5 - 7 years working on a TV show, then the Fehrs, Heigls, Definos and Duchovnys of the world shouldn't have auditioned for these roles and spent their lives to that point pursuing such work.
It's interesting that Heigl, Duchovny and Jerry O'Connell, after hitting it big with TV shows, would then act as though their success were completely independent of the very same projects that made their careers. Duchovny's career proved strong with or without his TV show, but Heigl's absurd ego would eventually blow up her career and she's still trying to put the pieces back together.
Temporal Flux and I remarked after TOMCATS that Jerry would be begging Universal for a SLIDERS revival if he had one more disaster; shortly after KANGAROO JACK, Jerry O'Connell fully committed to starring in a SLIDERS movie if there would ever be one and he dropped his stipulation that Charlie be given a role.
But to be fair, actors often have understandable reasons for leaving or wanting to leave. Duchovny had been informed that THE X-FILES was only going to film the pilot in Vancouver before relocating to Los Angeles, an expectation that wasn't met when FOX realized that Vancouver would cost a lot less. \John never quit SLIDERS, he was fired. Sabrina left because Kari Wuhrer was harassing her. Jerry didn't actually quit SLIDERS; his contract ended when Sci-Fi was late in picking up his option for Season 5, although he was deeply uncaring towards the fans in his refusal to do an onscreen exit story. Donald Glover had mental health issues when he left COMMUNITY and Halston Sage clearly gave THE ORVILLE sufficient time to write a departure rather than have Alara vanish between seasons.
I would say the poster child for a foolish departure from a show is Wil Wheaton. He flat out admits in his autobiographies that leaving THE NEXT GENERATION was due to ego and insecurity. He was 16 years-old, stepping aboard a STAR TREK cruise and saw the ORIGINAL SERIES cast drunkenly greeting fans at the pier; he thought they were pathetic losers.
Wil Wheaton wrote:
When I looked at these original series actors, I saw The Ghosts of My Career Yet To Come. I had no idea at the time that it was probably not that big a deal to have a few drinks early in the morning while you were on vacation. I had no idea that some of the STAR TREK alumni were quite happy traveling around the country and performing for Trekkies at conventions.
A couple of hours later, I made a choice that would drive my life and haunt me for years: I would get out of my STAR TREK contract, and I would go on to a huge career in movies. I would prove to everyone that I was a great actor and that STAR TREK was just a small part of my resume. Of course, I’m still talking about what I did when I was a kid, and I never got that big film career I was hoping for. I felt like I had to prove to everyone that STAND BY ME wasn’t a fluke, that I deserved all the attention that I got from that movie. I never considered that most actors go their entire careers without one film like STAND BY ME to their credit. I never considered that I could have stuck around on STAR TREK until the end, and then stepped off into a film career, like, say, Patrick Stewart.
Wheaton later notes that because he blew off STAR TREK before the show was complete, he didn't have the earnings and savings that would have come with sticking it out for seven seasons. Unable to find work or even be paid for convention appearances, Wheaton realized that what he should have done was "work on a great series for a few more years, build up a nice bank account, and then parlay the success of STAR TREK into a film career," but instead, he was reduced to selling autographed Wesley action figures on eBay in order to avoid having the bank foreclose on his house. It wasn't until he published his self-mocking memoirs that he found a new career as a writer.
It's interesting to look at Wheaton and then look at actors like Tom Welling, Jared Padelecki and Jensen Ackles, all of whom landed roles on long-running shows and have appreciated how fortunate they are and how they intend to exploit it fully for money, for experience in producing and directing, for promoting their other businesses -- because most actors never find such opportunities.
Wheaton was getting paid thousands of dollars a week to say "Hailing frequencies open" and if that wasn't enough for him, he could have made his own opportunities. Tom Welling found SMALLVILLE's scripts abysmal, but he took the time between repetitive soap opera dialogue with Kristen Kreuk to job shadow producers and directors, treat SMALLVILLE like film school, and by Season 8, he was running the show. Wheaton is a talented writer and sci-fi fan; he should have pitched stories to Roddenberry and Roddenberry might've liked the publicity of his teenaged cast member also being a teenaged writer.
Anyway. I hope Halston Sage is doing okay and, as I said, I assume it was a sick relative sort of situation.