EXCLUSIVE: Doug Jones On Saru And Burnham Fighting Over The Captain’s Chair In ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

At the Hollywood blue carpet premiere of Star Trek: Discovery, TrekMovie had a chance to speak with Doug Jones, who plays Lt. Saru. The actor talked about his contribution to the character, the Saru/Michael Burnham rivalry, and his hopes for what we may see next season for his character. The full video interview and highlights are below.

Bringing a supermodel walk and animal instinct to Saru

Jones described his contribution to the role of Saru:

I had to bring his physicality, his visual language. The verbal language was written by the writers, and beautifully so. But how does he stand, how does he walk, how does he channel his past – which is a prey species –  into his present, which is a high-ranking Starfleet officer – something my people have never done before. So, I gave him…he has a walk which is very much like a supermodel and hand gestures that are very fluid, which are very much like an animal. He is different than anyone I have played before, I love him.

Saru and Burnham: rivalry and respect

Jones also detailed the character relationship between Saru and Sonequa Martin-Green’s Michael Burnham:

It is equal parts both [sibling rivalry and sibling love]. When you meet us in our pilot – in [episode one] and episode two, is more of the rivalry. We are both trying to elbow each other out for the captain’s chair one day. It’s a competition. We are both smart and good at what we do. And we both have something to prove. But at the end of the day, we always have a deep love and respect for each other like family would do. It is a beautiful relationship to play on film.

Getting to know the Kelpians

When asked if we were going to get to see Saru’s home planet, the actor noted it was something he was hoping would happen and being that production is almost done on the first season, this may be something we have to wait to see in season 2:

That is what I am hoping for. I hope that one day we do get to visit where I come from and meet more of my people, so we can give the audience a glimpse into who I am and where I come from and why it is extraordinary why I am doing what I am doing because that is not what we are made for.

Doug Jones as Lieutenant Saru in Star Trek: Discovery

More to come from Hollywood premiere

TrekMovie has a number of additional interviews with Discovery cast and crew. These will be posted over the next few days so stay tuned.


Star Trek: Discovery premieres on September 24th on CBS with all subsequent episodes on CBS All Access in the US.  In Canada Star Trek: Discovery will premiere  on Bell Media’s CTV and the Space Channel on the same night. Netflix will launch Star Trek: Discovery on Monday, September 25 to countries outside of the U.S. and Canada.

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.


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I am SO psyched for Sunday evening. I can already tell Doug is going to be one of the breakout stars of Discovery. He seems utterly delightful. Our next Spock/Data/Phlox? Perhaps…

Always nice to see Phlox get some love.

Word, I like Phlox a lot. He was so smart he invented an antidote to Borg assimilation in 45 minutes! Would’ve been handy to have around in the 24th century.

Great little interview – I was actually wonder whether Doug would really need to wear the hoof shoes all the time, or just for the long shots? I’m glad he has a flat/comfortable pair to wear when we don’t see his feet!

Indeed. We want Doug to be comfortable for many years to come.

At *least* seven of them. ;)

Yes please!

Give that ungulated horse-man some counter-weighted boots. Can’t have any galloping accidents. Be one with the boots horse man.

Also, horseshoes would work.

These boots are made for cloppin’, so that’s just what they’ll do. You don’t want Saru’s boots cloppin’ all over you.

Saddle up. Lock and load.

God, he’s just adorable! And I love it that he’s identifying with the character so much that he’s talking about “my people,” rather than “Saru’s people.” It sounds like he’s really, really into all of this, and that kind of love can’t help but come across.

Vulcans are largely the work of one man, Leonard Nimoy, so maybe Doug Jones here will be the architect of this new species. He’s gotten good reaction from the press!

Nimoy & D.C. Fontana, with a touch of Sturgeon.

@Michael Hall, very true. Leonard Nimoy did a huge amount to create who Vulcans are, but so did D. C. Fontana. And she knows it; there’s an interview with her — I think it might have been the one she did for the Roddenberry Vault collection — where she was asked what her greatest contribution to Star Trek was, and she replied, “Spock.”

I just hope he’s not a new Neelix.