It was certainly more than a "cup of ambition" for Seth MacFarlane to bring on country music legend Dolly Parton onboard his sci-fi series The Orville: New Horizons in the episode "Midnight Blue". Parton's song "9 to 5", which was originally written for the 1980 classic comedy of the same name from 20th Century Studios she also starred in, became an inspirational anthem for Moclan female leader Haveena, played by Rena Owen in season two episode "Sanctuary." She leader her own all-female colony since Moclus is patriarchal and systemically keeps it an all-male society to the point of gender reassignment for female-born, which she runs an underground network to smuggle as many female babies to the colony.
Dolly Parton and Rena Owen's Scene on The Orville: New Horizons
The series not only brought back the song in Haveena's reintroduction when Topa (Imani Pullum) comes to see her, but also Owen's character is introduced to Parton's "Nashville home" reconstructed in the Orville's simulation room. In their scene after, Haveena's starstruck expression wore off as she grows obviously suspicious of the recreation. But Parton's natural charm and charisma seal the deal even after admitting the truth of her existence and having a wealth of information from the computer. After starting off performing her song "Try", Haveena agrees to talk to the Planetary Union at the request of Ed (MacFarlane) in the next scene.
Parton (who was spared having to go through the extensive Moclan makeup her scene partner did) and Owen marked the occasion of their meet on Twitter. New episodes of The Orville: New Horizons stream Thursdays on Hulu.