The crew of the new sci-fi se­ries brief us on their char­ac­ters

Empire (UK) - - CONTENTS -

The Fed­er­a­tion’s new­est crew get their first taste of the con­ven­tion cir­cuit. Some­thing tells us it may not be their last.


Dis­cov­ery — the first new Trek se­ries in more than a decade — was shrouded in the kind of se­crecy that would frus­trate a Ferengi. We knew it takes place be­fore the events of the orig­i­nal se­ries — Kirk, Spock et al — and that it would em­brace di­ver­sity and in­clu­siv­ity even more openly than Trek, a show fa­mous for both, had in the past. But we knew lit­tle about its char­ac­ters, un­til its prin­ci­pal cast beamed up to the Em­pire stu­dio…

Sonequa Martin-green __ First Of­fi­cer Michael Burn­ham

“Michael’s a xenoan­thro­pol­o­gist and she stud­ies other things too — you’ll see! She’s an in­cred­i­bly flawed but in­cred­i­bly prin­ci­pled woman. There’s the Vul­can way of life, which she learns from her sur­ro­gate fa­ther, Sarek, but then there’s also the prin­ci­ples of Starfleet that she truly lives by. And so you see th­ese ide­olo­gies clash­ing. Usu­ally in

Star Trek we see every­one at their sta­tions on the bridge, do­ing what they need to be do­ing. But in our story we get to see ev­ery­thing that hap­pens in their quar­ters and around the rest of the ship. It’s al­most an up­stairs/down­stairs story, be­cause you see the tur­moil every­one is hav­ing to tran­scend to do what they need to do.”

Doug Jones __ Lieu­tenant Saru “I’m a Kelpien, a species which, on their planet, is at the bot­tom of the food chain. So you might think that my kind are fear­ful and frail and vic­tims. Not so. If you’ve ever seen a prey species in the wild, they’ve got great sur­vival in­stincts and when put into a cor­ner they can kick. You will find out as the sea­son evolves that that’s very much Saru. I’ve played so many alien species over the 30 years I’ve been act­ing, and com­ing up with a new phys­i­cal­ity is the chal­lenge. For Saru I wear hoof-feet boots that push my pos­ture into a place I’d never been be­fore. My arms swing from side to side in­stead of for­ward and back. And I have an in­ter­est­ing walk — I based it on Clau­dia Schif­fer.”

James Frain __ Sarek “We know from other Star Trek sto­ries where Sarek ends up [he’s Spock’s fa­ther]. Here, we’re ex­plor­ing where he starts. He be­comes the men­tor for Michael, be­cause her fam­ily were guests at a Vul­can event that was bombed by the Klin­gons, killing her par­ents. With Michael, and Sarek’s hu­man wife, there’s all this hu­man­ity, and feel­ings, which are al­ways a prob­lem for Vul­cans.”

Shazad Latif __ Lieu­tenant Tyler “You meet my char­ac­ter as a prisoner of war. He’s been through some hor­ri­ble things. There’s a lot of emo­tional pain there. As he goes back on to the Dis­cov­ery, he tries to find some nor­mal­ity and that’s very hard to do. That’s his jour­ney.”

Mary Wise­man __ Cadet Tilly “Tilly is a very green banana. She’s in her fi­nal year at the Starfleet Academy and is work­ing on the Dis­cov­ery in a kind of un­paid-in­tern­ship ca­pac­ity. It’s a great as­sign­ment but she’s pretty iso­lated. Through hap­pen­stance she’s as­signed to the same room as Michael and they form an un­likely friend­ship. Then she works in en­gi­neer­ing un­der Lieu­tenant Stamets and they have a very dif­fer­ent re­la­tion­ship. She’s a very sen­si­tive girl with a big heart, but isn’t su­per-so­cially-savvy.”

An­thony Rapp __ Sci­ence Of­fi­cer LIEU­TENANT Stamets

“Stamets is a re­search sci­en­tist who got scooped up by Starfleet. He’s re­search­ing as­tromy­col­ogy — space-mush­rooms. The Dis­cov­ery is ac­tu­ally kind of built around the project that I’m work­ing on, but I can’t go into more de­tail, be­cause it would give away too much. My char­ac­ter is named af­ter a real my­col­o­gist — Paul Stamets — and I saw a TED Talk he did about mush­rooms and how they could lit­er­ally save our world from eco­log­i­cal dis­as­ter. It was in­spir­ing.”


The cast of Star Trek: Dis­cov­ery. Be­low: Cap­tain Philippa Ge­or­giou (Michelle Yeoh) and First Of­fi­cer Michael Burn­ham.

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