‘The Orville: New Horizons’ Premiere: Anne Winters Promises Charly ‘Does Grow’
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Orville: New Horizons premiere “Electric Sheep.”]
“She’s definitely coming in strong,” Anne Winters says of her character, a new navigator on The Orville, Ensign Charly Burke. She gets off to somewhat of a rough start with Captain Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane) and most of the rest of the crew when the sci-fi series returns for its third season (after a three-year break). But there does seem to be hope that she may change by the end of The Orville: New Horizons premiere.
As flashbacks in the premiere reveal, Charly lost her best friend, Amanda, in the Kaylon battle — someone had to manually launch the escape pod — and to say she holds the only Kaylon around her, Isaac (Mark Jackson), responsible, would be an understatement. “It really is a shame that you can’t feel anything because you deserve to feel all the pain in the universe,” she tells him. But she’s not the only one upset with him; Dr. Claire Finn’s (Penny Johnson Jerald) son Marcus (Oliver Szerkus) is, too, painting “Murderer” in his lab and telling him, “This entire ship wants you gone… I wish you were dead.”
When Isaac uses an EM amplification module to essentially shut down his own brain, it turns out Charly’s the only one who can save him, something she refuses to do at first and leads to Ed firing her. (Those two scenes, with Isaac then Ed, were the first that Winters filmed, making them her favorite.) She does, however, step up later, though she makes sure Isaac knows, “I didn’t do it for you.”
“She has this very special talent of seeing things four-dimensionally, which no one else has on the ship, so her skills are very much needed on the ship,” Winters notes of her character, who “really hates” the Kaylon. Moving forward, now that she has helped him, the dynamic between Charly and Isaac is “my fun storyline I got to play this entire season,” she continues.
“We definitely go through some ups and downs. I have a lot of scenes with Isaac, played by Mark, who is just a great actor to act with. I’m excited for everyone to see her arc because she definitely goes through an entire high, low, and just has a really cool storyline, not only with Isaac, but just with her own journey of herself and realizing who she is and why maybe she’s been so closed off to this species or why she’s so judgmental right off the bat,” Winters teases. “She does grow. Whether or not the audience is gonna see that as a good or bad thing … I’m very curious to see the takeaway from this entire journey that I feel like I went on.”
Part of that journey is going to see if she can “let go of her resentment towards what she knows and having friends that she loved lost because of the Kaylon,” Winters says.
While she and Lieutenant Gordon Malloy (Scott Grimes) “really get along, a little bit of a two peas in a pod situation,” Winters admits that her character is “very distant. I don’t think she lets a lot of people in. She’s very in her own head and in her own ways. Charly is very focused on work and she’s not there to play. She’s not there to make friends. She’s there to speak her mind, grow, and do her job and get out. That’s really kind of her MO which is a little bit unlike maybe the other characters that we’ve seen before on the Orville. She’s much more headstrong and just focused on her job at hand.”
Charly’s attitude and refusal to help Isaac at first lead to her and Ed butting heads in the premiere. “Then I think that the strength that she has and shows the minute she gets on board the ship proves to him that she can be trusted with certain things,” Winters shares. “So I’m able to go on different adventures and stuff throughout the season, which was really fun to film and also just kind of gave her a big responsibility right off the bat because I think she did come in so strong.”
While she wouldn’t share details about those adventures, she did promise, “The show takes advantage of making new realities, new planets, new worlds, and really diving into that, and really each one has a completely different scenario, lesson to be learned, species to be explored and find out about. Charly gets to be there in the action quite a bit.”
The Orville: New Horizons was one of the shows affected by the pandemic, with production shutting down halfway through. Coming back, “it was crazy because unlike other shows that I’ve worked on, we have one outfit and we have one hairstyle and we have one makeup look really, unless you’re in a different scenario,” Winters explains.
“My hair used to be super, super, super curly before the pandemic, and I don’t know if this has happened to anybody else, but over the pandemic it went straighter,” she says. They used to just put it in a ponytail, two minutes. If you pay close attention, you’ll kind of notice my hair is way curlier in certain scenes and then others, it looks like it’s been curled because the rest of the season, they had to hand curl every single piece of my hair going forward after we got back to the pandemic.”
The Orville: New Horizons, Thursdays, Hulu