Actor Alan Van Sprang was a surprise guest as part of the WonderCon Star Trek: Discovery panel, joining after the bonus scene from the season 1 finale revealed his new character Leland recruiting Michelle Yeoh’s (Mirror) Phillipa Georgiou into Section 31.
Van Sprang is no stranger to genre TV; he was recently in the Freeform channel fantasy series Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments, and had a recurring role as Howlyn, a leader of the Atavus alien race in the fifth season of Gene Roddenberry’s Earth: Final Conflict.
Following the panel, Van Sprang joined the press room to participate in roundtable discussions. We have highlights below from the roundtable that TrekMovie took part in as well another courtesy of FlickeringMyth.
Teasing more Section 31 for Season 2
Can you tell us about how you found out you were going to be on the show? What did you think?
I’m a huge fan of Star Trek. I used to do a show called Reign, and Aaron and Gretchen took over [showrunning] Reign. They approached me and asked if I wanted to be part of Star Trek and I said sure. They didn’t know what I was going to do so we waited about three or four months and they offered me one character, but we didn’t go that way. Later, they offered me this and here we are.
It was the cliffhanger from Season 1, and they and pulled it and made it the Season 2 teaser trailer.
Does that mean we will see more of you in Season 2?
Are you a regular or recurring?
I can’t even say anything. I’m definitely part of Season 2.
What was it like working with Michelle Yeoh?
Great. Yeah, fantastic. Really sweet, really nice. I was a big fan of James Bond and Crouching Tiger. Yeah, really sweet.
Leland is a ‘massive’ mystery
What are you most excited for in the coming season?
It’s not only that I can’t say anything about it, which I can’t, but honestly, I know nothing about it. I really don’t. I did the last show, episode 15, that’s what you saw, and they pulled it to be the teaser trailer for Season 2. So I know that I’m a part of Season 2, but I haven’t read anything, I don’t know what I’m doing, you’d have to ask Aaron and Gretchen.
I know it’s going to be a massive part of it, but I honestly – and it’s not like I’m holding any secrets, like Jason Isaacs sitting here saying “oh I knew who I was, and what I was doing,” no, I really have no idea. But I’m definitely a big part of Season 2.
It’s a mystery which I really enjoy and I really appreciate, they’re great writers, and the show I think is kickass. I watched the entire first season [of Discovery]. I’m a big Star Trek fan, I was a big Next Generation fan.
You don’t get the scripts ahead of time? you haven’t seen anything yet?
No, we don’t get anything. We don’t start shooting until May, I don’t have a clue what I’m doing [until closer in]. But I look forward to it.
Researching Section 31
Did you do any research on Section 31? Have you watched any Deep Space Nine?
Yeah that’s what I did, I watched all of [the Section 31 episodes of] Deep Space Nine, and I found out through him [Sloan] and the doctor [Bashir] from that show, and their relationship, and what they were doing… so I watched all of those episodes, and I think this is even more mysterious than that.
Are you doing any research into modern day spy stuff, like the CIA, or spycraft?
Yeah, when we did [the Georgiou] scene, we didn’t know if the series was going to be picked up or not. So I just found out a few days ago, so I’m just starting now. So now the research begins. There’s novels – there’s actually novels, books based on Section 31, so I’m just starting to read those. My last show I did, Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments, there’s so many books on that, so I was reading those, and that was amazing, but Section 31, I’m really interested in.
Whatever I’ve researched will be helpful, because I think it’s a really interesting part of “Star Trek,” having this intelligence agency, and honestly, when I came in here last minute, they said, “You cannot say anything!” It’s like Fight Club. Like I can’t say anything about this Section 31, but I don’t even know anything! Like, I’m going into Season 2, and I know it’s a massive part of Season 2, but I really don’t know anything. But I look forward to it.
Leland is head of Section 31
One final tidbit of information appeared in an Instagram post after the announcement at WonderCon, in which Van Sprang says Leland “heads up” Section 31:
The bonus scene
Here again is the bonus scene featuring Van Sprang, which was shown at last weekend’s WonderCon.
More TrekMovie WonderCon 2018 coverage
This our our final article covering Star Trek at WonderCon 2018. Please check out all of our coverage to get all the latest.
Star Trek: Discovery is available exclusively in the USA on CBS All Access. It airs in Canada on the Space Channel and streams on CraveTV. It is available on Netflix everywhere else.
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