Interviews with the Cast & Crew of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

Season one of Star Trek: Discovery introduced us to a new viewpoint of the Star Trek universe through the eyes of Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), the series’ Vulcan-raised, human female protagonist whose arrogance inadvertently ignites a war between the the Federation and the Klingon Empire. Season one turns out to be more than just a simple war as it introduces fans to a ship and crew different than any Star Trek ship and crew that has come before it, and reveals a story filled with twists, double crosses, and alternate realities. Season one concluded with the crew of the Discovery returning home, uniting the Klingon houses and ending the war, only to be confronted by a distress call from the U.S.S. Enterprise.

With season two set to premiere January 17th, 2019, we recently had the pleasure of chatting with the series cast and crew, including returning stars Sonequa Martin-Green, Shazad Latif, Mary Chieffo, Wilson Cruz, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, and Doug Jones, newcomers Anson Mount and Ethan Peck who will be playing Captain Pike and Commander Spock respectively, as well as producers Alex Kurtzman and Heather Kadin.

Kicking off our interviews was series lead Soneque Martin-Green, who explains that the series’ upcoming season will be much more “emotional” than the previous one. Her character, Michael Burnham, went through quite the emotional roller coaster in season one beginning with the death of her mentor Captain Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh), continuing with the twist that Discovery’s Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs) was an evil Lorca from the dark universe, and culminating with her realization that her love interest, Ash, was a Klingon sleeper agent.

Season two will see Burnham team up with Captain Pike (Anson Mount) and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise on a mission to help Spock. Martin-Green states that the relationship between Burnham and Spock will be very “complicated” being that she was raised by Sarek (James Frain) and has a brother-sister relationship with Spock because of this. While the second season will continue to serve as an emotional ride for Burnham as she now deals with “self-redemption” for the acts she committed last season, Martin-Green also states there will be plenty of levity in the upcoming season as evident by recently released trailers.

Anson Mount and Ethan Peck, who will play Captain Pike and Commander Spock respectively, will be taking a different approach to their roles in Star Trek: Discovery in comparison to their counterparts, as they will be portraying characters who have been portrayed by other actors previously. Pike was originally portrayed by Jeffrey Hunter in the original series and then by Bruce Greenwood in the J.J. Abrams-produced trilogy of films. Spock was portrayed by Leonard Nimoy originally and then by Zachary Quinto.

When asked if they had taken inspiration from either Greenwood or Quinto, Mount admits to wanting to keep the Kelvin universe of films its own thing, despite having tremendous respect and admiration for Greenwood, while Peck says his inspiration for his portrayal of Spock is definitely Leonard Nimoy. According to Peck, Spock will view Pike as a role model, bringing him closer to his humanity in a way his father, Sarek, never could.

Shazad Latif and Mary Chieffo, who play Ash and the Klingon L’Rell, were able to share a little bit in regards to their characters’ respective journeys in season two. According to Latif, Ash will be in “limbo” trying to find his place after the realization that he was a Klingon sleeper agent. He’s not quite human, but after what was done to him he’s not quite Klingon either. Chieffo states L’Rell will struggle proving herself as the new Klingon Chancellor considering “the majority of the people she’s leading don’t want to see her in power.”

Wilson Cruz and Anthony Rapp, who play Dr. Hugh Culber and Paul Stamets respectively, got to speak a little bit about the aftermath of what happened in their relationship last season. In season one Ash killed Culber, but with everything that was going on we never got a chance to see Stamets really deal with the loss of his love, which Rapp states will be a main focus for him in season two. Additionally, Cruz states we will get to learn a lot more about Culber and Rapp confirms Stamets will find some help from Tilly (Mary Wiseman) during his grieving process.

Being that both actors have a background on Broadway, specifically in the musical Rent, when asked if there would be any singing in season two, Rapp says there’s a possibility. As season two promises to bring a little more fun and levity to the series this time around, that may not be out of place.

Mary Wiseman and Doug Jones, who play Sylvia Tilly and Saru respectively, will have their characters each go through their own personal journeys in season two. Tilly will be in a command training program taking on more responsibility on the Discovery while Saru will continue to overcome his fear even more so in season two. With Tilly being the bright, moral compass of the Discovery in the first season, she will break away from those mannerisms a bit in season two. Wiseman states we will see Tilly become angry at times. The two of them will have a story that intertwines plenty as Saru will be there to guide Tilly through her new role in the command training program.

Producers Heather Kadin and Alex Kurtzman couldn’t tease much about what to expect from the upcoming season, though Kurtzman does confirm there will be Star Trek TOS characters, other than Spock and Pike, that will make an appearance on Discovery. Kurtzman reiterates the fact that there will be “more humor” in season two, given that the war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire is over. Kadin mentions that they were trying something different with this series, being that it is on a streaming platform rather than a television network, but also acknowledges the fact that fans do enjoy the stand alone Star Trek episodes, so maybe we’ll see a bit more of that in season two.

With recent news that Patrick Stewart would be returning for a new Star Trek series focused on Picard, she also confirms that the Picard series will be a lot different than Discovery, though unfortunately neither her or Kurtzman, who has been playing in the Star Trek playground since J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek (2009), were going to elaborate further on that project still in its early stages. All we know is it will take place 20 years after the conclusion of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Season two of Star Trek: Discovery premieres on CBS All Access January 17th, 2019. If you haven’t already done so check out the official New York Comic Con trailer released last month and head on over to CBS All Access to check out last season’s episodes.