|WARNING: Although this article contains speculation, it should be treated as spoilers in case any of it turns out to be true.|
Since being introduced in “Choose Your Pain” last weekend, new Star Trek: Discovery character Lt. Ash Tyler (played by Shazad Latif) has launched a lot of speculation. TrekMovie has already written an extensive analysis of it; the theory that Latif also played the Klingon Voq, even though that character is credited as “Javid Iqbal,” appears to have a lot of merit.
The idea that Latif plays both, and that Lt. Tyler is actually Voq transformed to look human, has become widespread, even getting coverage from outlets like AV Club and Slate. As noted by the TrekMovie analysis, the theory is compelling enough just from the clues within the show itself. But the fact that, unlike the rest of the cast, “Javid Iqbal” has never done any interviews or appeared in public has really piqued the interest of some in the press. Latif, on the other hand, has given quite a few interviews and appeared at multiple events; TrekMovie alone has interviewed Latif twice in the last few months.
This all got the attention of Yahoo News, who were able to get CBS to arrange a very brief interview with Latif to talk about Iqbal. The following is from their report:
When we asked Latif whether he’s heard that fans are speculating about whether Iqbal is a real actor or not, he responds, “Well, yeah, if you check IMDb he’s an actor on Star Trek: Discovery.”
That is technically true. However, as noted in our analysis, that IMDb page for Javid Iqbal was only recently created, and Discovery is his sole credit. There are also no images of the actor himself, just pictures of Voq in full Klingon makeup.
Yahoo continued to press, but didn’t get far:
Then we asked Latif whether he’s ever had a chance to meet Iqbal — and that’s when the CBS publicist cut in with a cheery, “Sorry, we’re out of time!” before the actor could answer.
Not much clarity added there. There is still no evidence that “Javid Iqbal” exists except in the credits for the three episodes where Voq appeared in Star Trek: Discovery. One has to wonder why CBS put Latif out there to talk about this only to shut it down. Perhaps they are enjoying the buzz around the speculation as much as the fans are creating it.
Clue from a dog?
Another “person” associated with the production of Star Trek: Discovery is weighing in on this. @startrekdog is the Twitter account for Stella, Discovery consulting producer Nick Meyer’s dog. Stella was asked about the fan theory and had an interesting response.
— Pieter J. Ketelaar 3 (@PieterJKetelaar) October 20, 2017
I'm an expert on Sherlock Holmes, not Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde. https://t.co/aMDrWIPEh5
— Stella Star Trek Dog (@StarTrekDog) October 21, 2017
Of course Nick Meyer, who presumably helps Stella with her tweeting, is an expert on Holmes, having written the Sherlock Holmes pastiche novel The Seven-Per-cent Solution. And Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are two famous classic characters who share the same body. So perhaps there is actually some clarity on this “actor” coming from an account being “written” by a dog.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 6 will be available on CBS All Access on Sunday, October 22 by 8:30 pm ET. It will air in Canada on the Space Channel at 8:00 pm ET and be available on Netflix outside the USA and Canada on Monday, October 23rd at 8 am BST.
Keep up with all the Star TrekDiscovery news at TrekMovie.