SDCC17 Interview: Shazad Latif On Playing A POW In Pain On ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

At San Diego Comic-Con, TrekMovie spoke to actor Shazad Latif, and we learn for the first time some details about his character Lt. Ash Tyler.

Tyler – a POW on Star Trek: Discovery

As noted in our report for the Star Trek: Discovery SDCC press conference, it has been revealed that part of the backdrop of the show is a war with the Klingons. And Latif revealed that he plays a character that has been profoundly affected by that war:

He is a Starfleet officer – Lt. Ash Tyler – who we meet  as a prisoner of war. So he comes back onto the ship. He has gone through a lot of horrible, horrible things. He tries to find some normality as he comes back onto the ship. Which he might or might not.

A character in pain

Latif also confirmed that the show would deal with the kinds of issues that can come up for those who have deal with being mistreated in prison:

Yeah [PTSD] is explored in ways. I don’t know how much I can say. It is a very complex and painful and deep character. Hopefully I have done it justice.

Star Trek: Discovery features a war with the Klingons as a backdrop

More TrekMovie SDCC17 interviews

‘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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i’m guessing this is not the same Lt. Tyler from “The Cage”?

i think he was called José Tyler

Okay, this strikes me as weird once again. What’s up with all those clearly ethnic people bearing stereotypical Anglo-Saxon names? Or, in the case of Georgiou, bearing a stereotypical name of a completely different ethnicity? Yes, Americans have mixed-up names like that; the rest of the world, not so much. In Greece, when you meet a “Georgiou”, it’s more likely a Greek person, than an Asian person. In Arabic countries, when you meet someone looking like Shazad Latif, he’s more likely to be named Abdul or Samir (or, well, Shazad), not “Ash” (let alone “Tyler”).

So does it mean this is not a world-wide crew anymore? Is the damn show filled with nobody but Americans and aliens? A show advertising its diversity has a crew that’s actually less diverse than any Star Trek show before it? When a show touts “diversity” as its flag, I’d be expecting to see characters that are Russians, Chinese, Finnish, Uyghur, Vietnamese, Polish, Maori. Instead, all I get is Americans – and one Indian (?) with a name so obscure that Google keeps confusing it for another word (hello, doctor Numbers… I mean, Name… I mean, Nambue).

stop whinging

Stop Telling People how to think & what to say just because it isn’t how you see things.
This site is for all Star Trek Fans, general or purists to talk or whine or debate- its not a Paramount/CBS owned promotional tool.

They are trying to make Star Trek an America at war series, because that’s what America is at the moment, culturally. That’s what’s Popular.
Look at Game of Thrones, a bunch of white people & monsters.
Why are you acting Surprised.
Star Trek has been philosophically under attack for years, ever since 9/11.

[They are trying to make Star Trek an America at war series, because that’s what America is at the moment, culturally]

True, and we are still at the moment fighting The War on Terrorism. Who commits 99% of terrorist attacks? Technically Muslims!

I was talking about who we are fighting against in the official War on Terrorism, Muslims. They are committing terrorism all over, especially in Europe.

I slightly disagree with that comment Captain Whino. It’s the least explored aspect of Trek. You read the encyclopedia and so much on Memory Alpha and there were these major conflicts that were said to have happened or alluded to yet never fully explored. Enterprise slightly touched on the great dramatic themes that come with war, as did DS9 which I was very proud of them doing. It’s very Star Trek in the most Star Trek of ways to talk about and show issues that we are going through globally. It’s never just been America at war, you’ll get an episode or two that would touch on the people affected by these conflicts – the innocent bystander that has to figure out how to navigate through these wars. Some Trekkies have aren’t fond of the war stories but even in TOS, the war/conflict episodes were written well.

Good points. The prisoner of war concept was only discussed in a limited capacity. Most notably, for me anyways, was the DS9 episodes In Purgatory’s Shadow and Inferno’s light. It was also brought up in Inquistion. It was not however a major topic of discussion. This could be an interesting storyline considering a POW would have an unique perspective on the Klingons in every war including the possibility of peace. So I look forward to seeing and hearing more about his character as he progress over the run of the show.

Marketability, I presume. “Diversity? – By all means. But no Arab names, please!”
Or it’s a “been there, done that”-thing, since there already has been a character with a distinctly Arab surname on DS9…

Or maybe “Ash” is actually short for “Ashraf”.

I agree with the sentiment. Whilst I agree that USA has a rightful place on the show given its heritage, as a Celt I am immensely proud that an Irishman and Scotsman have plaid a significant role in Star Trek. As a marginalised people throughout history on these islands (Ireland and UK), I am greatful that my people made it that far in the future. I think in discovery the role of Mudd could have been Irish or scots.

I get Paul’s point, to have an “ethnic” looking, yet American sounding, seems only a half way attempt at being diverse.

On another note, why was Picard French, when he was so classically English?

Well the actor himself is half English born and raised in London. If it had been his dad who was English he’d have, as you so inartfully put it, “an American sounding name”. By that I assume you mean English or Anglo-Saxon sounding.

The racism and ignorance on this thread is ridiculous.

Seriously? You’re nitpicking the names??

“..a very complex and painful and deep character.”

Sheesh. Is this series going to be completely void of fun? So far it looks like angst ridden soap opera. I’ve seen corny Star Trek, boring Star Trek, funny Star Trek, highly creative and imaginative Star Trek, thought provoking Star Trek…but I’ve yet to see a Star Trek so depressing that it made me want to slit my wrist when it was over. Is this going to be Star Trek for the Xanax generation? Sure looks like it.

Its interesting. So is he a Klingon POW?

If so, I guess the whole “Klingon’s don’t take prisoners” bit is no longer cannon. Worrisome.

Not cannon— Kirk says it. Kirk was not speaking the truth or was simply ignorant. We’ve seen Klingons take prisoners- they even have prison cells waiting to receive prisoners (see DS9 Apocopypse Rising) + also see Star Trek VI.


Re: Kirk was not speaking the truth or was simply ignorant.

I’ve always attributed it to the Meyer Kirk’s Klingon bigotry. But I suppose it’s possible he was referring to the Klingons in the simulation’s limitations which itself may have been modeled after some lone Klingon Elite Expeditionary force known for this?

I’m pretty sure Kor took prisoners in “Errand of Mercy”, Kang was trying to take Kirk and crew hostage in “Day of the Dove”. Kruge shot his gunner because he destroyed the Grissom (“I wanted Prisoners!”) before rounding up Saavik, Spock and David in STIII. Klingons always took prisoners, it’s that quote itself that defies the canon.

I doubt Kirk didn’t know what he was talking about, he just wanted to press home on Saavik the futility of her situation in Kobayashi Maru.


I doubt it ever letrally was. Certainly not beyond establishing that prejudice and bigotry were still alive and well bandied in Trek’s future setting.

From the first series’ episode, ERRAND OF MERCY:

KLINGON: Commander!

KOR: Don’t you see I’m busy?

KLINGON: The two Federation prisoners. They’re gone.

KOR: You mean they’ve escaped?

KLINGON: I swear. No one was at fault. The guards, ten of them were constantly on duty watching the cell. Then when they opened it to give them food, they simply weren’t there, and there was no way out.

“letrally” should be “literally”

They definitely try to make DIS as dark and depressive as possible. War, death and destruction everywhere. Everything is bleak and devoid of fun and light. It is the opposite of a positive future.