COMIC-CON SPECIAL — STAR TREK: DISCOVERY
The crew of the new sci-fi series brief us on their characters
The Federation’s newest crew get their first taste of the convention circuit. Something tells us it may not be their last.
BEFORE COMIC-CON, Star Trek:
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.”
STAR TREK: DISCOVERY IS ON NETFLIX FROM 25 SEPTEMBER.
The cast of Star Trek: Discovery. Below: Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) and First Officer Michael Burnham.