EXCLUSIVE: Mary Chieffo On L’Rell’s Loyalty to T’Kuvma and How Playing An Alien Is Empowering

In the last few episodes of Star Trek: Discovery, we’ve gotten to see some new sides to the latest iteration of the Klingons. On the red carpet at PaleyFest 2017, Mary Chieffo, who plays Klingon L’Rell, told us to expect to get to know the Klingons in all new ways later this season and talked about how playing the role of an alien makes her feel at home. Watch the full interview below, and then read on for the highlights.

L’Rell will fight the good fight for house T’Kuvma

With T’Kuvma dead, where does that leave L’Rell? While Voq may be T’Kuvma’s protegé, L’Rell is a born member of house T’Kuvma (and a member of house Mo’Kai). Chieffo didn’t tell us exactly where L’Rell fits into the structure of house T’Kuvma now, but she did say that her character is severely loyal to his cause:

L’Rell has a deep respect for what T’Kuvma set forth. And, his message of reunification is important to her, and she is going to do everything in her power to make that message be heard.

L’Rell on T’Kuvma’s Sarcophagus ship

We will get to know the Klingons as more than warriors

It has been noted how deadly serious the Klingons have been so far in the first few episodes of Discovery. Episode 4, “The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not For The Lamb’s Cry” (which premiered the day after this interview) gave us a bit of a window into what Mary Chieffo says we will see more of as the season progresses — Klingons as they are with each other, rather than just Klingons in the throes of battle.

I’m thrilled [about episode 4]; that’s my big thing. What’s fun about the first two episodes is that you meet us in a time of battle. You meet us prepared for war. You meet us as we have usually been seen. I think what will be fun, as the show progresses, is you will get a window into who we are to each other when we’re not going off to battle.

And, I’m really proud of what the writers created in that regard and what we were able to infuse into it as actors, and I’m really excited to hear what [the fans] have to say! I promise you some fun stuff.

L’Rell and Voq in episode 4

Playing a Klingon is authentic and empowering

Mary Chieffo is in good company with a majority of Star Trek fans, who are drawn to a show full of diverse humans and aliens. It’s a world that can make you feel like you belong when the real thing doesn’t. When asked about her favorite aspect of playing a Klingon on TV, Chieffo told TrekMovie that being Klingon feels more authentic to her than being human sometimes does, noting that she never felt quite human growing up.

You know, I always joked that I never really felt like a human growing up. I grew up in the Valley, I’m technically a Valley Girl from LA, but I never really felt like I fit that.

For Chieffo, L’Rell allows her to fulfill a role that humans can’t, and that’s empowering.

And there’s really something about L’Rell specifically but also about the Klingons in general. Being an alien species is just so empowering, and it feels almost more authentic to me than sometimes in my day to day life. They get to be as full and true as they can be.

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Mary Wiseman On How Tilly Is Revealed As Best Theoretical Engineer On ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

Akiva Goldsman Explains Episode 9 Switch And Why Discovery is TV-MA

Shazad Latif On Lt. Tyler’s Inner Turmoil And Chemistry With Burnham

Anthony Rapp On How Stamets Mellows Out And How He Isn’t The New Scotty

Star Trek: Discovery is available exclusive in the US on CBS All Access with new episodes released Sundays at 8:30 pm ET. In Canada Star Trek: Discovery airs on the Space Channel at the same time. Discovery is available on Netflix outside the USA and Canada with new episodes made available Monday at 8 am BST.

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Mary Chieffo has such a wonderfully character-rich face – she’d actually make the PERFECT old school TOS or TOS movie-era/TNG female Klingon. It’s a pity then she’s hidden under all that very heavy make-up.

Still, I am intrigued by L’Rell and her plans for Voq ( *cough* Tyler *cough* ), so the more Mary Chieffo we get, the better.

Perhaps we’ll see L’Rell undergo a transformation herself? A lot can happen in 10 years.

Came all the way from the Valley, eh? Must’ve been quite the culture shock. ;)

I like Mary very much, I think she is kinda hot.

Loving her enthusiasm!

She has some powerful eyes. Even in all that Klingon makeup…her eyes just mesmorizes you.