Jason Isaacs and the showrunners for Star Trek: Discovery have been talking to the press and answering questions about last night’s episode on After Trek. Some key insights and hints to what is to come have been revealed. TrekMovie has broken down the highlights.
Mirror Lorca is really dead
Jason Isaacs made it clear in a number of interviews on After Trek that Lorca indeed met his end in last night’s episode, such as this comment in Entertainment Weekly.
I would say, yeah [there was a finality to his story], the prognosis is not good for him given he was dissolved into a million pieces on camera. There are not many homeopathic cures that can help that.
But, this tweet may sum it up best.
Yes yes. Me me. I've kicked the bucket, I've shuffled off my mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible. I. Am. An. Ex. Captain.
Captain's costume for sale. Size XS. Fits bloody nobody. https://t.co/CcV3d2BHzZ
— Jason Isaacs (@jasonsfolly) January 29, 2018
Jason Isaacs played as Mirror Lorca from day one
In a number of interviews, actor Jason Isaacs made it clear that he was clued in from the beginning and Lorca being from the Mirror Universe informed his performance throughout the season. On After Trek he said:
Of course I knew [Lorca was from the Mirror Universe]. I couldn’t have done the job….the clues were there from the very first day, from every encounter. Anything of what looked like what Prime Lorca was doing, that Lorca was doing, [Mirror Lorca] was doing to get back to that universe. To secure Michael Burnham, to get the loyalty of the crew and to serve my nefarious ends.
And with IGN he noted:
I had to plant little seeds and secrets. I had to be able to give clues here and there, and more importantly, I had to play him honestly like a guy from the Mirror Universe who was lying and hiding. So if I hadn’t known, I wouldn’t have been able to play it….even when I’m doing things that seem noble or heroic, they’re always only to engender more loyalty in Michael Burnham, or to make sure that I keep the ship so that I can work on the spore drive and get home again.
The rest of the cast didn’t know
Speaking with TV Line Isaacs also revealed:
I assumed that they did [know Lorca was from the Mirror Universe], but in fact, they didn’t. And I rather blew it for some people many months in, when I mentioned it. There was a horrified shock on some of their faces, and I realized I should’ve shut up. Sonequa knew. I think Michelle knew. But a lot of other people didn’t know, and I wish I hadn’t told them, because it would’ve come as more of a surprise.
Lorca wasn’t originally going to be Mirror
As discussed in Saturday’s article from comments from co-executive producer Ted Sullivan, the notion of going into the Mirror Universe was something co-creator Bryan Fuller planned from the beginning, and he even wanted to do it earlier in the season. But, apparently this plan did not involve Lorca being revealed to be from the MU, as explained by co-showrunner Aaron Harberts in this excerpt from Buzzfeed :
Harberts explained that the writers knew from the start, when creator Bryan Fuller was first planning out the show’s serialized storyline, that the inaugural season of Discovery would end up in the Mirror Universe. (Fuller eventually left the show due to creative differences with CBS, elevating Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg to showrunner status.) But at first, the writers planned for Lorca to be a hawkish captain given a chance to shine thanks to the Federation’s war with the Klingon Empire. It was only after the writers began discussing why Lorca would be so skilled with warfare that they hit upon the idea that he’d secretly be from the militaristic world of the Mirror Universe.
Mirror Lorca destroyed the USS Buran
Isaacs discussed in various interviews how he and showrunners created a “blueprint” for Lorca’s story, and speaking to EW he reveals a detail that never made it into the show:
There was a Prime Locra, he was captain of the Buran in the Prime world. He swapped with him and found himself captain of the Buran. This never came out, this backstory detail we never put in the dialogue: Although Lorca spins this story having had to sacrifice the men on Buran and had to blow them up to save them from Klingon torture. Actually, if I remember correctly, there was some kind of DNA identification that would have exposed Lorca as not being Prime Lorca, and so he blew up the ship and killed everyone on it.
Lorca Prime’s status and Isaacs return are TBA
While Isaacs was definitive on Mirror Lorca, he got much more vague when talking about Lorca Prime. Here is what he said to IGN:
“We don’t know anything about the fate of Prime Lorca,” he said. “Is he as interesting as Mirror Lorca? What is his taste in fashion? Does he wear leather coats, does he wear puffy-sleeve shirts, does he have a goatee, does he blow-dry his hair? Who knows? We know nothing. … Or is he that different? Frankly, I mean, how different are any of us from the Mirror version of ourselves? They say we’re all five meals away from being savages. … This particular administration in America has brought some of the ugliest parts of human nature out from in the shadows. And who knows what other exposures the Mirror world might have done. Who knows where he is.”
Could the actor return as Prime Lorca? Here he got even more vague with EW:
Do you know [what happened to Prime Lorca]?
If I did, you’d have to stand behind my wife, friends, and professional collaborators to find out the answer. I’ve kept this one big secret for six months — I am certainly going to keep any others.
Well, are you signed on for season 2?
I’m sorry, is that not a related question?
The Emperor may be redeemable
One of the surprise moments from last night’s episode was Michael Burnham saving Emperor Georgiou, who traveled with the USS Discovery back to the Prime Universe. Actress Michelle Yeoh appeared on After Trek briefly to ask a planted question to Sullivan about if people from the Mirror Universe being inherently evil or “can they be rehabilitated?” Sullivan’s reply may hint at Georgiou’s future on the show:
One of the things I love about Star Trek is that it doesn’t believe in destiny, it believes in the individual person…I don’t think it is a mistake that Burnham grabs Georgiou and brings her back, because what I think will be interesting is how someone from the Mirror Universe reacts to a universe of hope where people can be the best versions of themselves. I think it will be a hard journey, but I think that everyone is redeemable. I think what’s interesting about Georgiou versus Lorca is that she listened to Burnham. Everything was on Lorca’s term. What’s interesting about Georgiou is she says “What’s your plan.” That’s a chance for her to say “I’m willing to listen, I’m willing to evolve.” And that is what the journey is going to be.
That last spore will be addressed in season 2
A fan on After Trek asked Ted about the one last green spore that landed on Cadet Tilly. Ted wouldn’t say, but hinted it is something important.
What is up with that, right? That was something we came – Mary Wiseman came up to me on set and said “What’s up with that spore?” I was like “Wait until season 2.”
Lorca’s speech was making a statement about the world today, and Isaacs helped write it
On After Trek actor Jason Isaacs and Ted Sullivan talked about the goal of making a statement with Lorca’s speech in episode 13.
What [Ted] did, which I thought was so brilliant, is make [the Mirror Universe] not that far from us. So, it is a world where people are slightly more Darwinian. That whole “Make the Empire glorious again” and not all races are equal. We worked hard on that speech that Lorca gives to make it not that far from the way many people around us think. If you get out of bed on the wrong side or you are feeling a bit selfish, we can all be the Mirror versions of ourselves. It might be a bit more dog-eat-dog and a bit more violent, but there are a lot of people that think this last couple of hundred years as been a blip in civilization and none of us are dealing with human nature in a sense or in a practical way and we will return to that.
Jason and I spent a lot of time talking about those kinds of speeches. And in the writers room we talked about how to make the Mirror not silly and how do we make Mirror about what is going on right now. Star Trek is supposed to reflect what is going on in the world and we are dealing with a Mirror Universe now, and not just in America but in England and in Europe, and throughout the whole world. I think it feels like a Mirror Universe a lot of the time and so you want to lean into that. One of the things that Jason was so good about on set was to really push us, and push me…We got into [his] trailer and sat down with a computer and worked on that speech a lot. One of the reasons we did that is we felt we had a unique opportunity to talk about what is going on in the world right now. That is what Star Trek is supposed to do.
A lot of people said, when they heard we were going to Mirror, said they didn’t understand why we were going to Mirror in season one. Well, because that is what is going on in the world right now. I think there was an opportunity to address those things. I am very proud that Discovery has been able to take those things, where it is Harry Mudd or the Mirror Universe, and said “How do we do a twist on that and how do we make it work. How do we make something that could potentially be silly, or was silly or fun but silly, and how do we make it cool and interesting.
Watch the exchange below.
Saru’s speech was crafted to exemplify Starfleet (and Star Trek) values
Also on After Trek, Sullivan talked about Saru’s speech to the crew of the USS Discovery, explaining the importance of it in the arc of the show:
It was special. For me, as a life-long Star Trek fan, it was an opportunity to lean into the ideology of Starfleet, the ideology of what I love so much about Star Trek. And to finally after thirteen episodes give the fans the moment that says “We get it. We believe in Star Trek and Starfleet too. We just had to go through this journey of twelve episodes.
The other thing that that scene does is, I put Rhys and Detmer and Airiam and Owosekun in that scene because I wanted to show the team coming together…with everyone becoming part of the solution. So, a lot of people have been complaining: “We don’t see the bridge crew being the bridge crew.” Because, we didn’t start with them as the bridge crew. We are doing a different Star Trek, which is to show how the became a bridge crew.
Watch Ted talk about that scene below.
Star Trek: Discovery is available on CBS All Access in the USA. It airs in Canada on the Space Channel and is available on Netflix outside the USA and Canada.
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.