Jason Isaacs: Star Trek: Discovery Is ‘New, Yet Familiar’

(AP Photo/Axel Schmidt)

For the first time since being cast as Captain Lorca of the U.S.S. Discovery, Jason Isaacs is talking about Star Trek: Discovery. In an interview with GoldDerby focusing primarily on his role as the bad guy in the Netflix series The OA, Isaacs was also asked about Discovery. After first making some jokes about the severity of his non-disclosure agreement, he said there were a few things he could confirm:

I can tell you I have started shooting and it is absurdly cool. I feel like a five-year-old when I say those known words from the past that you have seen in shows. Anything I tell you would just ruin it for you.

The actor also offered this tiny tidbit describing the show:

I think it’s out in the public domain that it is Star Trek, but not as we know it. They’ve changed a bunch of stuff in it. It’s a new and yet familiar experience.

Appreciating work of Shatner and Nimoy

Isaacs did give some background on his familiarity with Star Trek, saying he watched it with his family growing up and he has been re-watching it lately, which has given him a renewed appreciation for the actors on the original show:

Watching William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, I realized what geniuses they were and how they elevated the prosaic into the epic. And also, they had no money and no budget, so each week was this stunning morality play that they made somehow, universal. William Shatner could imbue the most prosaic lines with Shakespearean high stakes. It’s not that easy. I’m finding it a challenge. There are big boots to walk in, but I am doing my best.

Isaacs says Shatner and Nimoy were ‘geniuses’ for work on Star Trek

For more from Isaacs, including video, check out GoldDerby.com.



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Love the Shatner and Nimoy love. Looking forward to this!

Do you need alone time and a tissue?

No but I bet you do Harry. Maybe you should argue with Isaacs about Shatner’s talent…. or just call him names.

The story of your life.

LOL, harsh.

Although I’m happy that Issacs like them. I don’t want anyone to assume I have any problems with what Issacs said, I don’t. I just found this comment funny. ;)

Any spare tissues to pass over here?

Strongly agree!

Dear God please do not have him be in this to be evil, incompetent, etc.

He’s a captain, not an admiral.

Point ==> Damar!

I spit my virtual coffee out!

I do look forward to the show and am not one of those fans who can’t help but complain about every bit of Trek news posted (there seem to be a LOT of those here, unfortunately). However, I can’t help but worry when I see an actor say “They’ve changed a bunch of stuff in it.” Changing too much is one of the problems that killed ENTERPRISE and made the audience so divided about the Abrams films. My hope is that he’s just employing hyperbole when he says that.

Fuller said the show would be a ‘reimagining’ as far back as last year. Several people who know what is happening behind the scenes says it basically is a very different look from what we seen before not to mention both the look of the Discovery ship and the leaked photo of the Klingons which looked more like the KT version than the prime version. It doesn’t mean it will all look different but its clearly going to be a very updated look like the KT films were at least. It has to be to capture the audience the KT films did.

“I’m not here to complain, but here’s my complaint.”

That would be valid if I complained. I didn’t.

In fact, just the opposite–I said I hoped he was just employing hyperbole, and that I’m looking forward to the show.

So many people here post responses without actually reading what they’re responding to.

“I’m worried when they say that they’re changing things because I hate when they change things is bad… but oh, that’s not a complaint, because I don’t like complainers.”

First and foremost: your dislike of change is exactly why Hollywood spews out remakes and re-imaginings and retreads of old stories, and then you’re one of the same people who complain about rehashed stories and nothing ever being new.

You’re operating under a faulty premise. I don’t dislike change, nor did I imply as much, nor have I ever complained, here or elsewhere, about “rehashed stories and nothing being new.” ALL that I said–and still do–is that I worry about the actor’s statement. Why? Because I wouldn’t want them to change so much that it becomes incompatible with TOS. That’s all. And it’s a completely reasonable thing to worry about. I never said I had a problem with changes being made. Seriously, man, you’re reacting to things I haven’t said, so relax with the over-generalizing.

Come to think of it, by writing…

“exactly why Hollywood spews out remakes and re-imaginings and retreads of old stories,”

—YOU are the one who has complained about “rehashed stories and nothing being new,” not me.

What did Enterprise change that was so bad it “killed” it?

Haha, call it a prequel then change a load of stuff.
Well, that’s going to go down well with the TOS fanboys who seem to be the only people showing interest.

He’s spreading a myth — Star Trek had a huge budget, it was a Prime Time network TV show at a time when there were only 3 networks. While it’s true that a large part of their budget went to the costly special effects, that doesn’t mean they couldn’t afford whatever it is Issacs thinks a low budget somehow compromised the end result.

Their budget was cut by season 3, rather than increased, as per usual.


Re:… as per usual.

I’m not sure it was “usual”. It is well known that LOST IN SPACE didn’t face that budget axe until CBS had renewed it for the 4th season when the prior 3 seasons were expected by the network to rake him and FOX in the difference in syndication. It’s the reason Allen personally scuttled the show. Nevertheless, the scuttling surprised me given the things Allen was able to get CBS/FOX to foot the bill for in its 3rd season. I mean after building an actual full scale ship and shuttle one would have figured he’d try to make a go of it for one more season?

Can we stop saying TOS was cheap?! It cost a bundle for its time, but it hit the wall because writers and producers pushed the limits; good on them! Look at the top shows of the day. Look how cheap they look now. (Hoss nearly hits the backdrop of the Ponderosa exterior; Gilligan and Skipper’s hut is plastic grass; every Wall in Mayberry is the same shade of green; don’t even get me started on Irwin Allen’s show.) TOS holds up better than most.


While Irwin Allen was notoriously frugal, his shows weren’t cheap budget-wise in relation to STAR TREK’s.

The dog dressed as an alien felt very cheap to me, even in 60s era tv


You mean Trek’s transporter dog in THE ENEMY WITHIN? Just put it alongside LIS’ chimp dressed as alien, Bloop.

Although, isn’t it odd that a dog and a chimp where both in real outerspace before humans? I wonder if that was what inspired this?

Bad special effects =/= Cheap special effects.

If I spend $500 to make a costume for a ‘space dog’ and you spend $200 on a 3D model of a spaceship and painstakingly edit it, my effects are not as cheap as your’s, but they still suck. They’re still “cheap”.

@John, correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think they had 3D modeling in he 1960s. Regardless, you’re speaking out of context. It’s cheap-looking by today’s standards, but by 1960s standards it was some of the best-looking scoff that had been created up to that point.


I like this guy. I can’t wait to see what he does and what happens on the show.

That being said…

((Braces himself for all the negativity coming because he used the word change))

I’m glad they’re changing stuff. It’d be boring if it were, all the same, all the time. I don’t get the negativity. I’m happy we’re getting a new show and that it has the likes of Isaacs, Meyer attached, and some Fuller still in there. Live long and prosper.

They might change “live long and prosper”..

Well, of course they were geniuses!

He’s basically saying the show is being rebooted, which most of us have guessed for awhile now. Not surprised and in fact a little excited how different it will all look. I can’t wait until we get a trailer. Everyone seems to be hinting it could be tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

“They’ve changed a bunch of stuff in it”.Exactly what stuff?

This is sure going to be something.

I am cautiously excited. As long as it’s a good show i’ll be happy. I’ll be even happier if fans on this site hate it!

So why are you even here?

But I thought Shatner sucked?

“New” “Changed things around”. Come on guys…..

I just rewatched “Event Horizon” the other night (for maybe the 6th time). Isaacs stands out among the cast of that movie. Though I wish the captain wasn’t a white man, I approve of it being him. He’s very easy on the eyes ;)

Yep “they’ve changed a bunch of stuff” #reboot.

It’s so painful watching these visionless people slowly series by series, movie by movie tear star trek apart & make it unrecognisable & indistinguishable from all the other dark gritty misrible dystopian science Fiction shows that star trek once stood apart from.
These people are gutless, they are afraid to follow star trek’s unique vision & stand alone, instead they are obsessed with making star trek just like every other show instead of it remaining the one beacon of hope in science fiction for our future.

I hope that these are just buzz words for the non Star Trek fans & that they are not going in the direction they seem so obsessed with reveling in.

It can be gritty and still be a beacon of hope. As long as the characters are fighting for what’s right, I consider that a positive message. Even the darkest parts of ENT still came down to the optimistic message that diplomacy and mutual understanding can overcome any disagreement.

“And also, they had no money and no budget,” it was the most expensive show on TV. CBS… don’t let him propagate that urban legend.


Re: … don’t let him propagate that urban legend.

By perpetuating another urban legend?

I find it surprising CBS wants to market this as a prequel to the original series but also a reboot. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I would be fine with one or the other, I just can’t imagine how you can cross those two in a way that can accomplish and appease both, you know?

While I am skeptical, I remain hopeful. We should all WANT them to pull this off, and if things don’t work out, then they don’t work out.

How is this a reboot?

“They changed a lot of stuff” “New but familiar” are straight out of the soft reboot/re-imagining dictionary.

Should be interesting at least. Hopefully it’s a great reboot version of Trek for TV, and just great TV in general. I love TOS and TNG, but never got into any of the other spinoff series. So this might be a good refreshing take on this universe. Needless to say it has to evolve to survive in modern times. As much as I love the 60’s and 80’s aesthetics, you can’t stagnate inside a time warp bubble. The most important thing for this show to succeed is great writing.

Get the Shat in so you can experience the genius first hand

True! Love me some Shatner!

Just because a production team CAN “reimagine” a franchise, doesn’t mean they SHOULD. Can you imagine the outcry if Disney started from scratch and reimagined Star Wars? There would be protests in the streets.

I’ve been a long time fan of Jason Isaacs, ever since he appeared in the Highlander TV show. Aside from rare things like The Patriot, he’s never really been given the chance to shine as I believed his talent would allow. So I’m really excited to see him as Captain on a TV show franchise that I grew up with and loved all my life. I just can’t wait.

Interesting there’s no love for Stewart

hello, jason issacs.