SDCC17 Interview: Anthony Rapp On His Wild Space Mushroom Journey In ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

At San Diego Comic-Con, TrekMovie spoke to actor Anthony Rapp about his character of science officer Lt. Stamets on Star Trek: Discovery.

Lt. Stamet’s space fungus plays a part in Star Trek: Discovery

Rapp gave details on how Lt. Stamets is a different kind of science officer, one with a specialty:

It would be spoiler-heavy to tell you how exactly [the science specialty fits into the plot] except that my field of study is astromycology – which is the study of space fungus and space mushrooms – has some really interesting applications. And it is inspired by modern-day science in the field of mycology, not astromycology, but mycology. There is a scientist named Paul Stamets who is doing wonderful work in this area and the implications that mushrooms can have on our lives is real and profound…We actually share a lot of DNA with them, there is a lot of stuff.

Zoomed in image of brief glimpse Anthony Rapp as Lt. Stamets from new Star Trek: Discovery trailer

Stamets big project

The actor did reveal a bit more about his character and what he is working on:

It is a wild journey of scientific exploration that I go on. I cannot tell you the specifics at all. But the reason that I am not just the science officer is very specific to a specific project that I am working on.

This shot from the new trailer may reveal Lt. Stamets big project

More TrekMovie SDCC17 interviews

Shazid Latif on Lt. Tyler in ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

‘Discovery’ showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen Berg and executive producer Heather Kadin

Mary Wiseman on Ensign Tilly in ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

(and more to come)

More TrekMovie SDCC17 coverage

‘The Orville’ panel report and new trailer

‘Discovery’ press conference report

‘Discovery’ panel report

New trailer and images from ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

IDW Panel reveals details for ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ and Boldly Go comics

See ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Federation and Starfleet Props and Costumes

See ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Klingon Costumes And Props

Klingon Torchbearer Revealed + Gentle Giant Announces Discovery Collectibles

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Concept Art Details Klingon And Federation Ships

Stay tuned for even more coverage of San Diego Comic-Con.

Star Trek: Discovery premieres on September 24th on CBS with all subsequent episodes on CBS All Access in the US.  Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.

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Stamets is a palindrome, incidentally.

If he’s growing alien hallucinogenics, I swear I will pull the plug if they do another “The Naked Time” rehash.

How is it a palindrome?

His name would be Stemats When reversed……… that’s not a palindrome buddy.

Yes. And the palindrome of Bolton would be Notlob.

No….. Stamats would be a palindrome incidentally.

Stamets is not a palindrome buddy.

No it’s not.

Curious to see how many more people say no lol.

Also, what do you mean “pull the plug”? Are you one of the higher ups at CBS??

No, what he means is that he won’t watch the show because drugs are verboten to him as your typical tight-assed straight edge American for who ‘drugs are bad, m’kay?’

Thumbs up for mycology, but naming your characters after living people is unfortunate.
Just ask Jon Snow. :-P

Parents name their kids after living people all the time.

The Hollywood rule is that there can’t be *one* person in the same place with the exact name. Zero is OK, as is more than one.

Since Star Trek is set in outer space, they extend the rule to the entire United States. The ENT captain was supposed to be *Jackson* Archer but they found exactly one Jackson Archer in the entire country, so it became Jonathan, which is more common.

I get the feeling we will be seeing a lot of Stamets mushroom memes in the time to come.

Stamets Stamets Stamets Stamets Stamets Stamets Stamets Stamets Stamets Stamets Stamets Stamets
Mushroom! Mushroom!

Snaaaake! A snaaaaaake! Ooooooh, a snaaaaaake!

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that Lt. Stamets might become the most “TNG-era-trekky” character on the show – which I’m sorta looking forward to.
Maybe I’m also just getting a good vibe from how Rapp appears to take things with a grain of salt and has so far been the only person interviewed who used the term “exploration” without psychologizing it.

“…and has so far been the only person interviewed who used the term “exploration” without psychologizing it.”

I’m afraid “mushrooms” is a psychologized softcore analogy for certain male body parts… with the word “analogy” being an analogy on its own. I’m sure Stamets will grown an “arsenal” of shrooms for every purpose, sort of a running gag… it’s a bit too much like out of an average sitcom if they are really going for that “analogy”, but it’s 2017 and there is no place for mushroomphobia anymore. So bring it on!

Sorry, the term is mycophobia, just looked it up.

Hmm… This is one of those instances where I’m not sure whether I’m really too “mature” to consider certain thoughts or whether it’s just that my mind is as innocent as a child’s…

You guys know there is a real-life mycologist named Paul Stamets, right? He’s published several books and videos:

Edit: And Rapp mentions him in the interview…

One thing I’ve noticed in these interviews is that the male Starfleet officers have regulation sideburns. That’s a welcome return after ENT and the JJ films stopped with the practice.

Stamets is the first openly gay character on Trek. Some mushrooms look like *use your imagination* So yeah, he is on a VERY wild space mushroom adventure LOL

I like this guy, he seems to be a real fan. Hope it goes well.

And of course he’s an accomplished Broadway vocalist. Maybe DSC will be the first Trek series with a musical episode 8-)

Too late “Way to Eden” already happened.

If you follow his Twitter feed, he’s an actual geek. A major sci/fi fan. One of us.

He’s an asset to Star Trek.

Notice he said we share DNA with mushrooms! I wonder if USS Discovery is on a mission to seed other planets with his experimental mushrooms?

Or maybe they’re on a secret mission from Section 31 to create superhuman warriors… FROM MUSHROOMS

I’m going to guess that he’s the gay crew member. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… ; )

He has long been confirmed as the gay crew member. They even named his partner.

Hmm, maybe the space fungus research is an early iteration of the genesis device – at this point they’re looking at biological ways to terraform/seed planets with life to make it M class.

Based on his panel comments at SDCC that the mushrooms somehow partially exist in subspace and then later in the trailer, Captain Lorca says “we are creating a new way to fly.”… I’m thinking the Discovery uses them as a new warp source (instead of dilithium/antimatter)? The “trees” Burnham sees are the mushrooms in the Discovery used for flight. That would explain why you need a mushroom expert on board and why he would be a main character.

That’s a good theory! I wonder why though it wouldn’t become permanent through out the fleet though? By TNG etc. they use dilithium crystals. Then again all of this could be explained on the show. Lol!

The actor who place Cadet Tilly says she’ll be working in “engineering” with Stamets. She’s in operations bronze and he is in science silver. Yep, fungi powered warp engine.

But I’m guessing there are going to be some ethical implications to this warp technology, giving us a reason it is not widely used by TOS. Sentient mushrooms. Yep.

(Then again, men have always walked around with at least one all the time.)

I love the implications of his character. First of all, Paul Stamets is a bloody genius. He’s done some very cool research in mycology, and I learn a lot from his presentations about fungus, which turns out to be pretty interesting. Turns out fungus is almost like the internet of the forest, infusing all the lifeforms and allowing them to communicate and share nutrients. Life works better in cooperation with fungus. I can see this speak directly to the themes of DSC: unity, cooperation, universal ties binding us all together. It could also speak to the psychedelic qualities of some mushrooms, an experience which can produce a sense of oneness. All of these things would both make sense conceptually and thematically, and would be a nice subtle callback to the psychedelic 60s in which Trek was birthed, a time of wonder and color and bold new ideas, when people weren’t afraid to embrace change, when we were actually brave enough to explore the unknown. Mushrooms can change the world, and I’m excited to see the plot elements of this character’s science skills.

Looks like marijuana in that shot from the trailer lol

Space pot?

“We share a lot of DNA” is a common misconception. (E.g., “All humans share 99.5% of DNA” or “Chimpanzees and humans share 98% of DNA.”) We share about 16% of our DNA with *lettuce*, so it’s not surprising that we share a “lot” with mushrooms, especially considering that fungi are more closely related to animals than plants are.