‘Discovery’ Writers Talk Stamets And Lorca, Sonequa Martin-Green Reminisces About Spock On ‘After Trek’

Sunday night featured the midseason finale of After Trek, which has grown into a fun and informative after show for Discovery. Host Matt Mira welcomed stars Sonequa Martin-Green (Michael Burnham) and Mary Wiseman (Cadet Sylvia Tilly), with writers Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt joining via subspace. We have highlights and video clips.

Writers hint at what is happening with Stamets and Lorca at the end of midseason finale

Writers and executive story editors Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt Skyped in to talk about writing the midseason finale, with Kim noting the episode title was part of the John Muir quote “Into the forest I go, to ease my mind and soul,” a metaphor for the journey Burnham has been through.

When asked what was up with Stamets following the his collapse after the last jump in the finale, Lippoldt said:

We set up in episode 7 and episode 8 that something weird is happening as a consequence of Stamets injecting himself with tardigrade DNA. So, you can imagine there has been a cumulative effect doing these repeated jumps, 133 in a matter of minutes has probably offset his biology a little bit. So, that last jump clearly has affected his mind in a way that we haven’t seen before.

Speaking of the number 133, it was revealed on the show the writers picked that number as an homage to “33,” the title of the first episode of the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, written by Trek vet Ron Moore. (They’d originally considered making it 525,600, an homage to the song “Seasons of Love” from the Broadway show “Rent,” which Anthony Rapp is famous for starring in.)

The writers were asked if Lorca wasn’t really happy to see Admiral Cornwell rescued as the last time he saw her she had threatened to take his command away. But Lippoldt noted that circumstances have changed, especially given how the midseason finale ended:

It’s a little bit more complicated than that now. In episode 6 they were still earlier on on the war and Cornwell had seen that Lorca was possibly psychologically compromised. But now he has just got this huge victory for Starfleet by breaking the Klingon cloak and we saw in that scene with Admiral Terral that he is going to be rewarded for it. So, that is going to put him in a stronger position than he was before. And of course we have that scene at the end, where Saru declares they don’t know exactly where they are. So, depending on where they end up, that might just be a moot point.

Regarding bringing back Cornewll, Lippoldt noted:

We definitely wanted to keep her alive because we do love Jayne [Brook] and as having a female admiral having that kind of authority in Starfleet is a character we wanted to keep around.

Erika Lippoldt and Bo Yeon Kim Skype in to After Trek

They also gave a special shout-out to Martin-Green for the single tear she shed when Burnham comforts Tyler after his confession, pointing out that it was completely unscripted.

Midseason finale gave Burnham forgiveness

Sonequa Martin-Green talked about how the mission to the Sarcophogus ship in the midseason finale capped off her character’s redemption arc:

This has been such a journey to redemption and getting forgiveness … When I was in that prison cell, I thought that is where I was going to spend the rest of my life so the only thing I was going to be able to get is penitence. But with being sort of forced onto Discovery by Lorca and being able to put a hand in ending the war, and avenging Captain Georgiou.

Martin-Green also highlighted what she saw as the four pivotal moments for Burnham’s journey through the first chapter of Discovery: Her nerve-pinching mutiny, realizing her life was built on a lie from Sarek, opening up her heart to Tyler, and avenging Georgiou. The show also featured a package that showed Michael Burnham’s journey from the pilot to the midseason finale, watch that below.

Martin-Green talks Burnham’s love and L’Rell’s hold on Tyler

Martin-Green also talked about the relationship between Burnham and Lt. Tyler, confirming they are in love, saying:

“Yes … and so is Tyler. I can say, they are falling.”

The show ventured close into discussing the the prominent fan theory about Lt. Tyler and his connection to L’Rell when host Matt Mira asked Martin-Green if she felt L’Rell was in control of Tyler. After a long pause, the actress offered:

There is some deep stuff between [L’Rell and Tyler]. It’s what I say to him. She has something. There is something there, with her being his torturer and then the sexual abuse. It’s a lot.

Growing up in the Sarek family was no fun

In discussing Burnham’s family backstory, Martin-Green gave a bleak assessment for what it was like growing up in the Sarek household, saying:

Growing up in that household was extremely difficult. There was a lot of self-denial and self-condemnation. Any time you are in a cycle like that, year after year, it is really debilitating.

She also spoke about constantly striving for the impossible to achieve approval from Sarek, being introduced to the “strange” and “staccato little boy” Spock and finding a “nest” with her human mother Amanda. You can watch the segment below.

Wiseman discussed deleted scene

Mary Wiseman (Cadet Sylvia Tilly) joined the show after the first break, and she quickly took credit for Burnham’s growth over the season. There was some joking around about how Tilly cannot keep a secret with Mira joking that Tilly is the “mycelium network of Discovery’s crew.” Wiseman agreed and pointed to a deleted scene from episode 8 (“Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum”), where Tilly struggled to keep the secret that Stamets was suffering from Tardigrade DNA side-effects:

There was a scene at the end of that scene where Culber walks in and Tilly has a conniption. She immediately cannot keep a secret.

An image of this deleted scene was actually included with other images released by CBS before the episode debuted.

A deleted scene from episode 8 described by Wiseman on After Trek

Celebrating the natural hair on Discovery

Reacting to a tweeted question about hair on the show, Wiseman and Martin-Green gave credit to the head hairstylist Ryan Reed along with the showrunners for allowing their natural look to flow:

It’s about Ryan Reed and Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg all deciding that we wanted to be authentic and I love that and so I had a say in it, but we all agreed and decided “Yes, this is the future and this is the way the hair grows out of my scalp…” You saw my hair straight at first. I had my 2256 little flat iron digging in at first, then I realized…who am I?

Mary Wiseman and Sonequa Martin-Green celebrate having natural hair on Discovery.

Message from Shazad

Wiseman and Martin-Green also reacted to a video question sent in by co-star Shazad Latif, who asked them to have a karaoke-off in the studio. They did reveal that their big song on set was Beyoncé‘s “Love on Top,” and that their individual go-to karaoke staples were Salt N Pepa’s “Shoop” (Martin-Green) and Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” (Wiseman).

Shazad Latif sends in a video question on After Trek

Behind the scenes on the Klingon Sarcophogus ship

The midseason finale of Discovery said goodbye to the Klingon sarcophagus ship, and to bid farewell After Trek had a package with behind the scenes info, such as the detail that the text on the stairs was a Klingon translation of text from John Ford’s Star Trek novel The Final Reflection.

Behind the scenes – storyboard to screen

Another nice package from After Trek showed how storyboards from the midseason finale were realized on screen.

That’s a wrap

The show wrapped up its own mid-season finale with a tribble drop, thoroughly startling both in-studio guests who then seized the moment and engaged with Mira in a tribble fight. If you have been watching over the season, the tribble population had been growing with each episode so this was a sort of finale to that arc. After Trek has certainly improved over its first season and is definitely starting to loosen up a bit.

Nice touch with Matt’s coffee cup matching Kirk’s from “The Trouble with Tribbles”

Coverage of After Trek will resume the week of January 7th when episode ten premieres, but in the meantime you can keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.

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I like the tidbit about Sonequa shedding a tear when Burnham heard about what happened to Tyler. It helped to add a layer of authenticity to the scene. Shazad also deserves a lot of praise for how well he acted his scenes for the episode as well. He did a great job at portraying Tyler’s pain and confusion. It helped elevate their exchange to one of the top character moments of the season for me. I am also glad Cornwell is sticking around. I would hate to see another female character die that we hardly know. As for Lorca’s fate, I hope he sticks around for a long time. I loved his rousing speech and the moral complexity he continues to show as the season progresses. To lose a character like that would be a great loss for the show. On a side note I loved the shout outs to Ron D Moore and the natural hairstyles of Mary and Sonequa.

After Trek has always been a fun and informative show. Too self-congratulatory at times, of course, but that comes with the territory. I love that it gives fans space to think and reflect on what happened that week . . . even if you can’t always take a lot of what they say, as with the show itself, at face value.

I’m not seeing anyone make the connection between “La Boheme” and “Rent” so I will. It’s an open secret that “Rent” was/is a modern-day musical theatre version of “La Boheme.” It’s a sly little nod to Anthony Rapp’s work in “Rent” that Culber wants to take Stamets to a performance of “La Boheme.” I suppose I’m the only theatre nerd who got that reference, lol.

I like that Burnham gets to have “natural” hair after the Binary Stars, but it’s still a very obvious theatrical wig, to my eyes. Sonequa has such gorgeous natural braids, it’s understandable she wouldn’t want to trim them just for this one show. The wig is necessary, I get that, but I hope eventually Sonequa gets to use her own locks. It would be a nice bit of character development for Michael to allow herself the very human indulgence of long hair.

There’s been discussion of that Easter egg in other threads here on TrekMovie. However, like you, I perked up and loved the connection. Side note, Wilson Cruz also has played Angel in Rent at one point as well. Double your Easter egg impact!

After Trek had that in its trivia questions this week.

I’m just happy to have another trek to watch. There’s so much argument amongst the fan base with regard to canon and so forth. Just sit back, set phasers to stun, shields up, and enjoy the warpeggios speed. On an ancillary note. It’s funny how auto correct & suggestions added “stun” after I input set phasers, and suggested “up” when I input shields. Star Trek has become part of the human canon now. I don’t believe that we shall ever be without Mr. Roddenberry’s child for very long.

Sorry about the typo. Warp speed not warpeggios. LOL

Has anyone noticed that the number of tribbles under the table has been growing by 1 with every weekly episode of “After Trek”? I thought they reproduced quicker than that LOL!

Oops, (now reading the last paragraphs)you obviously have!