Today CBS kicked off a new Facebook Live series featuring the people behind the camera for Star Trek: Discovery, with creature designer Neville Page and makeup designer Glenn Hetrick. During the half-hour video event, the pair talked about their work, answered some fan questions and showed off some interesting behind-the-scenes footage from the show. We have gathered some of the big highlights and reveals from the event, including the first look at the original Saru.
The original multi-eyed Saru was crazy
They showed a behind-the-scenes clip of the original multi-eyed version of Saru. While it had been previously discussed, this original design had never been seen, except for in a doodle by writer Bo Yeon Kim.
More Klingon looks coming in season 2
When discussing how they approached the Klingons, Hetrick promised that there will be more exploration of the various Houses in season two:
When you look at beloved Klingons from TOS and Next Gen and the movie series, and the way the look evolves, the one thing that always bothered me is their wardrobe is almost always the same. The look is almost always unified. So, that is one of our biggest goals. If you think about the cultural patina that is the human species that is on this planet for a relatively short amount of time and how different our cultures look … the Klingon Empire, having of course not all grown up on Qo’noS but all these different planets, the Houses would look incredibly different. And we are really just starting, wait until you see season two. We are really just starting down that road and there is so much more we have developed that hasn’t been unpacked yet.
“Truly alien” character teased for season 2
When talking about their design process, the pair also talked about the practicalities of long shoots with characters under a lot of prosthetics. In so doing, Hetrick teased how they had to get creative for a new alien design for the second season:
If we know it is in a ton of pages in a specific script, we know the performer is going to be wearing it for 15 hours for several days in a row. You have got to figure out ways to reduce its weight, make it as breathable as possible, make the vision as clear as possible, or if that is not possible – coming up in season 2 you will see something exactly like this – because you don’t want everything to look like a guy in a mask. So, if you are really overly cautious, it looks like a dude in a suit, and the eyes are exactly where they belong. So, when you change the eye position, you have to figure out a way of dealing with that. How do you allow them to still have vision, but not not put the eyes exactly where they are. Maybe, you make them removable…A lot of that goes into how you can make something that is truly alien.
More interesting background characters in season 2
The subject of background characters came up and Hetrick spoke a bit about one of their favorites, the character of Troy Januzzi, who was seen in the first two episodes on board the USS Shenzhou:
There was something we did in season one, we see him in episode 1 and 2 at the helm…We’ve called [it] “LEAL” which is a unit that Neville designed, which is sort of like an augmented hard drive for a human to wear, and it makes their job on a Federation ship easier. This is one of those types of characters. There is no storyline to go with it yet. Ostensibly different people could wear them and they can be different colors and do different things.
They spoke about how the character was somewhat like Lobot from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and how having interesting background characters “makes the world richer.” Hetrick went on to promise there are more interesting background character designs for season two:
We were already playing with the idea of where would technology go, the next gen of wearable would almost be like a second brain and it makes sense it would be near your cerebral cortex. So, we try to do little stuff like that. There is more of it in [season] two already, then all of season one. So, the great thing about setting our world up in [season] one, is we have so many main species, that we get to play around more in [season] two and get to do more of the smaller stuff. So, you have to really keep your eyes peeled, when season two premieres.
An “awesome” canon alien makes big return for season 2
In answer to a fan question on what classic Trek alien they want to do, the pair said they already had their chance in season two:
The one that we both agree on, and if you look closely at promotional things you may be able to guess at this, we have already done it for season two. That question was sort of thrown out there at the beginning of the season… So, when the executives asked us if there are any species we would like to do from canon that hadn’t been filmed yet… We came back with this whole list. One of those things made it, and it has a pretty substantial role in season two. And it is awesome.
These guys really want to do the Borg
When asked how they might approach redesigning the Borg, the two designers lit up and made it clear they have put a lot of thought into it and it is on the top of their list of challenges they want to be given. Neville noted at first that it is important to keep the important things about the Borg, noting:
It has to look like a Borg. That was established. There was a particular aesthetic choice that was made … but for me the coolest challenge is to make sense of those choices. Like reverse engineering why those tubes are going in and out of things. It would be to try to make sense of that and then contemporize that aesthetic with audiences demand today and expect.
Glenn then shared some of his thoughts on how he would approach the Borg and how modern technology could play a role in updating the classic collective:
Go to [H.R.] Geiger and steampunk and find a way to combine it and maybe play with the colors and bring the palette out of the greys and the blacks and find some rusty and cool metallic tones and start defining the flesh in a different way. If some of those limbs are necrotic, are some of those tubes pumping life back into them? Do they change color depending on how long they have been in the collective? Does the body stay alive?
There are so many things to play with. It is sort of playing with what is there and playing with it. Michael Westmore Jr. did all the lasers and lights inside and LED components. That is something today with 3D printing we can push infinitely further. We can do a lot more lighting and moving parts.
Glenn wants to expose the Breen
Later Hetrick also picked up on a fan suggestion which he agreed with, saying he hoped to see the Breen in Star Trek: Discovery. He added:
No one in the universe, as per Worf, has ever seen what they look like under the refrigeration suits. So, that is definitely – as many times as I can put it forth – I want to get one of those refrigeration suits off and see what the Breen look like.
Star Trek: Discovery is available exclusively in the USA on CBS All Access. It airs in Canada on Space and streams on CraveTV. It is available on Netflix everywhere else.
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.