Today brings another bit of casting news for the second season of Star Trek: Discovery which will begin production soon. Variety and ET are reporting that actress and comedian Tig Notaro will have a guest star role for the second season for an unknown number of episodes. CBS has not made an official announcement, but the official Discovery Twitter account retweeted the ET story, and a quick confirmation of her casting is now up on StarTrek.com.
According to Variety, Notaro’s character is named Denise Reno, who is Chief Engineer of the U.S.S. Hiawatha. There is no more info on the role. The Hiawatha appears to be a new ship, with no mention of it on Memory Alpha, the Star Trek wiki.
Notaro, 47, is best known for her comedy career of the last two decades, with a signature dark style. She has released a number of comedy albums and had her own HBO comedy special in 2015, Tig Notaro: Boyish Girl Interrupted. In the last decade she has appeared in supporting roles in a number of TV shows and films. More recently she created and starred in the semi-autobiographical comedy One Mississippi, which ran on Amazon for two seasons.
Will the Discovery get a Chief Engineer?
Star Trek: Discovery never introduced or even mentioned a Chief Engineer for the USS Discovery during the first season. Paul Stamets is a scientist, specializing in the fungal spores that powered the spore drive used in season one. As actor Anthony Rapp told TrekMovie last year:
[Stamets] is a science officer with a very specific application of the science. It is always first and foremost about the science. Stamets wouldn’t be able to go fix the drive himself, but Stamets could do the research that could lead and understand the science that goes into what makes the drive work. But, Scotty or O’Brien could go fix whatever, that’s not Stamets.
This point was also confirmed by c0-executive producer Ted Sullivan in a Twitter Q&A with fans last year, saying “Stamets is NOT The [Chief Engineer]. I wonder who he or she is…?” And while Stamets’ lab was a key location throughout the first season, it is important to note it is not the actual engine room for the ship. In that same Q&A Sullivan noted the set where Stamets navigated the spore drive during season one “is an engineering lab. It’s not main engineering. We’ll definitely see more of engineering in [season two]. What we’ve seen is his personal work space”
So, it stands to reason that elsewhere on the ship is a whole engineering crew maintaining the standard warp drive, computer systems, life support systems, etc. Notaro is known for her dry, deadpan style of comedy. Chief engineer’s in Trek often need a coping mechanism for being called upon to perform near impossible feats of engineering prowess, so this could be her character’s trademark style for dealing with crazy requests from the captain.
The reports today say her character, Denise Reno, is Chief Engineer of the U.S.S. Hiawatha, but could she be transferring over to the USS Discovery during a crisis? Perhaps it is a part of whatever situation that caused the USS Enterprise to send out a Priority 1 distress call at the closing moments of the season one finale.
Second season production starts next week
Notaro is the third actor confirmed to be joining Discovery for season two. CBS announced that Anson Mount had been cast as Captain Christopher Pike on Monday. And, at WonderCon CBS revealed a bonus scene from the season one finale, which introduced the character of Leland, head of Section 31, played by Alan Van Sprang, who says he will have a “massive” role in season 2.
The second season of Discovery begins shooting shortly. Showrunner Aaron Harberts revealed to TrekMovie the season will have 13 episodes. No date has yet been set for the premiere.
Cast and crew are currently assembling in Toronto as production nears. This morning Anthony Rapp (Lt. Stamets) tweeted out a photo of himself, along with Mary Wiseman (Ensign Tilly) and Emily Coutts (Keyla Detmer).
— Anthony Rapp (@albinokid) April 11, 2018
UPDATE: Cast and crew reactions to Notaro casting
— Aaron Harberts (@AaronHarberts) April 11, 2018
— Anthony Rapp (@albinokid) April 11, 2018
More exciting season 2 news! https://t.co/gFQwexhV0V
— Star Trek Writers (@StarTrekRoom) April 11, 2018
— Sean Cochran (@SeanCochran) April 11, 2018
— Wilson Cruz (@wcruz73) April 11, 2018
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.
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.