SDCC18: ‘Star Trek Discovery’ Panel Talks Captain Pike, Canon Connections, Saru’s Homeworld And More [UPDATE]

TrekMovie’s crew was in attendance of today’s Star Trek: Discovery panel at Comic-Con in San Diego and we reported out a few highlights earlier in the day. We can now report in more detail on what was said during the panel.

Cast members Sonequa Martin-Green (Burnham), Doug Jones (Saru), Shazad Latif (Tyler), Mary Wiseman (Tilly), Anthony Rapp (Stamets), Wilson Cruz (Culber), Mary Chieffo (L’Rell) and Anson Mount (Pike) were there for the Discovery panel. Executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Heather Kadin joined them. The panel was moderated by guest star Tig Notaro, who will appear as Chief Engineer Reno in Season 2.

UPDATE: Video of panel now available

“Short Treks” To Tide Fans Over Until Season 2 In January 2019

Executive producer Alex Kurtzman announced that there will be 4 mini-episodes of 10-15 minutes while we wait for Season 2 in early 2019. They know fans are eager to get more Trek content. He spoke of the long turnaround for the visual effects and post production (8 months) as one of the reasons why Season 2 won’t be until January and not this Fall. So instead this fall we’ll get a new Short Trek each month leading up to the January 2019 premiere of Season 2. Kurtzman says “there’s a lot of surprises coming up.”

The Hollywood Reporter got a few more details than the panel initially provided. Rainn Wilson will return as Harry Mudd, he will also direct his episode. Aldis Hodge (Leverage) will play a new character named Craft, who finds himself the only human on board a deserted ship. Another will explore Saru’s backstory as the first Kelpien to join Starfleet, and the final episode will be about Tilly’s journey aboard the USS Discovery and her friendship with an unlikely partner.

Harry Mudd will return…

Season 2 “guaranteed” to answer canon questions

One of the hottest topics about Star Trek: Discovery has been how it fits within the canon of Star Trek. The producers have said many times it is part of the prime timeline and at SDCC on Friday, Kurtzman elaborated on how the second season is guaranteed to answer questions about the fit with canon:

We know we owe you a lot of answers how Discovery connects to canon, and you will get a lot of those answers this season. Guaranteed. You’re just not going to get them the way you expect them. A lot of what the first season was about was about the crew finding each other, and coming together, and forming the foundation of a family. Now they really are a family. And so much of what’s will happen over the course of season 2 is going to test them constantly. And they’re even going to have to make choices between their real family and their starship family. So a lot of family pain is going to be a major part of it. As you may have seen in the trailer, there are these mysterious signals that appear. The signals are very significant, and form a lot of the investigative trail of why the Enterprise is here, and where they’re heading. And it will lead to a lot of surprises.

Exec. Producer Alex Kurtzman answers a question while Tig Notaro looks on (Photo: Terry Snyder)

Spock confirmed

The introduction of the USS Enterprise and Captain Pike has raised the obvious question about how Discovery will deal with Spock. one of the most important characters in the franchise. Spock’s name was mentioned twice in the trailer which kicked off the panel (and is now available online), however it appears he isn’t on board the USS Enterprise, but he is somehow linked with the mystery that brought Pike on board.

While we haven’t seen him yet, Kurtzman confirmed that will change, saying “Yes, you will be seeing Spock this season.” Of course, that in-and-of-itself doesn’t mean we’ll see an adult Spock. We know a young Spock will appear in flashbacks thanks to Jonathan Frakes dropping a tease a few months ago.

Spock’s empty quarters in new season 2 trailer

Number One confirmed, to be played by Rebecca Romijn

One of the next questions that pops to people’s minds is, if we Pike, will see his first officer, known as Number One, who was originally played by Majel Barrett.

Anson Mount, the new captain Pike, teased the crowd by saying:

We’re going to get to meet the original Number One, originally played by Majel Barett Roddenberry, she was also the voice of the computer on the ship, our new Number One, I can’t tell you who it is, but her initials are, Rebecca Romijn.

Romijn was actually at San Diego Comic-Con on Friday, but she was doing press for the DC animated film The Death of Superman.

Rebecca Romijn at Death of Superman event on Friday at SDCC (Getty)

While she couldn’t attend the panel, Romijn sent out a tweet talking about how she was honored to be playing Number One. The tweet shows her hands holding a USS Enterprise badge, and it appears she is in costume in a USS Enterprise command gold uniform.

L’Rell is dealing with the Klingon patriarchy

L’Rell actress Mary Chieffo spoke about where L’Rell is in Season 2:

She is trying to be the best chancellor she can be of this very patriarchal Klingon Empire. And there are male Klingons who maybe aren’t so happy with that, but she’s doing her best to uphold T’Kuvma’s mission. And with that also comes a fun new Chancellor esthetic which I’m a huge fan of. I hope you guys will be too. And I think there’s a lot of L’Rell that was shrouded in mystery in the first season, because the audience didn’t know so much of what my plan was … I’m really excited for the fans to be able to see more of her side of the story, and some of the secrets she’s been harboring for everyone including Tyler, and I think there are a lot to be learned from this.

Culmets is back, but how?

As we’ve heard a few times recently, we know Culber isn’t totally gone from Stamets’ life. We just don’t know in what way yet. But Wilson Cruz excitedly confirmed for the room:

I’ll be back, I won’t be telling you how. But you know, we’re still reveling in the fact that this gay love has not only saved the world, but the universe. All of the universes. So you’re welcome.

Wilson Cruz and Anthony Rapp at SDCC 2018 (Photo: Terry Snyder)

Tilly’s ambition faces challenges

Mary Wiseman was asked about the eager newly commissioned ensign Tilly’s plan to get to command a starship.

She’s going to keep trying to be a captain, keep working toward that goal, and she’s gonna not do great for a while… She’s gonna face obstacles and you know, not do a great job…

Saru goes home

Doug Jones spoke about playing Saru:

In the 30 some years of my career, wearing all kinds of different prosthetic makeups, and all sorts of characters and creatures from fantasyland to animal-land, and whatever else, this has been a true joy for me because I get to be a Kelpien, which has never been seen in a Star Trek universe before, and I get to develop this species from the ground up. So, it’s been a true joy for me.

Paying a visit to Saru’s homeworld:

We also get to visit Saru’s home planet this year. Season 1 set him up as the prey species; who is the predator? All these questions might come into play when we go to my home planet.

Doug Jones mugs for the audience (Photo: Terry Snyder)

Mount is one of us

Anson Mount who is new to the cast this season proclaimed his love for Star Trek: The Original Series.

I grew up with it in syndication. By the time I was ten I’d seen every episode of Star Trek. And that was one of our go-to make believe games, playing Star Trek. And so, every day, every day, we’re going to do episode 6, and I still, every day I walk on that set, and I have to pinch myself. It is so surreal to be on Star Trek. Me? Wow.

He also said he enjoyed working with Rebecca Romijn as his Number One. He also spoke about meeting Jeffrey Hunter’s son Chris who was in attendance of the panel. Chris said that he thinks he father would have approved of the casting.

Anson Mount answer questions about Pike

More Season 2 bits

Anthony Rapp teased the crowd saying: “There’s fun stuff about red shirts this year.”

Rapp praised guest star Tig Notaro’s work: “Wait til you hear Tig do some space talk. With flashing lights and darkness.”

Kurtzman, when asked about easter eggs, said: “Yes, there definitely will be. Obviously, we’re syncing up to canon here, so you’ll see quite a few.”

Tilly, at some point, will have to crawl her way “out of a sticky cocoon.” Notaro mentioned watching her film the scene.

An audience member asked Kurtzman if we are going to see Federation Lorca, and his answer was a noncommittal “Uh … maybe.”

More Discovery to come

There was a special press event following the big Hall H panel that TrekMovie also attended, so keep checking TrekMovie for an overview of the press event and exclusive video interviews.

Click here to see all our SDCC 2018 coverage.


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.

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Huzzah. Ms. Romijn will always hold a special place in my heart for her bravura performance in Mr. De Palma’s Femme Fatale- which has now become required viewing for all Star Trek enthusiasts. Her turns in X-Men and basic cable will not prepare a viewer for the brilliance she so channels as Laure Ash / Lily Watts in Femme Fatale. The Star Trek multiverse has become a little richer today. Thank you, Alex Kurtzman. Thank you, America.

Did Mirror Galt just give a complement to the makers of Star Trek: Discovery? Did I suddenly wake up in the mirror universe? What is going on???

As always Mirror Galt – you had me in stitches. Oh Alex… what wonders you will bring us

I see what they’re doing here. Season 2 is a tribute to the odd-numbered Trek movies. The signals are The Harbingers of V’Ger, Culber will be resurrected on The Protomatter Planet, and Sybok will show up and present some family issues. Hey, if you’re gonna coast on nostalgia, there are worse ways to go. Cautiously optimistic.

LOL, but in a good way!

I’m optimistic too. Let’s see what she’s got.

The crew as a family, music to my ears! Bring on the comradery and loyalty, post haste!

Agreed. Completely.

Hear! Hear!

A family. So if they bang each other on the ship would that be incest?

Yes I love this idea too. Every crew from the TOS to Enterprise has had that family vibe. It what makes Trek special to me. So I’m glad its finally being imported to Discovery.

Is it sad that I’m more excited for the “mini-episodes” than I am for season 2 of Discovery? Yes, especially considering that “Short Bus”–I mean “Short Treks” is about as stupid a title as anyone could come up with. Sounds pretty special. I can’t wait to see how the Discovery writers will mess that up.

I thought that the Michael Burnham character was supposed to be Number One. It would have made a whole lot of sense.

Anyway: other than Doug Jones, this cast seems so pretentious, like they are better than Trek fans. They remind me of William Shatner from the “ get a life” SNL sketch, a real holier-than-thou attitude.

Good Lord, really!? All this cast has ever done (sincerely or not) is talk about how honored they are to be part of Trek’s fifty-year legacy, with Anson Mount practically inviting his ten year-old self onstage to tell how awesome it was to put on a Starfleet uniform. So where are you getting this disrespect, other than from the voices in your head?

Lol, that’s just how it looks to me. I’m still going to watch the show, so calm down.

Instead of lolling, why not give an example or two of the actors dissing Trek or its fans, to bolster your claim if nothing else? Or would that be too much trouble?

As to DSC, it’s a matter of complete indifference to me whether you watch it or not.

She got her commission back as a lieutenant IIRC but I don’t think she was made first officer again.

What about the other “4” Star Trek show’s?! No word at all??

Sure you seen it by now but in case you haven’t Trekmovie actually did an interview with Kurtzman asking about them. He basically confirmed nothing but all but suggested they were on the table.

I read that Anson Mount would only appear in 2 episodes this season of DISCO. Is this correct?

@Matt Wright,



Yeah, I remember reading about that as well.

Edit: I found it, that has been reported from people attending El Paso Comic Con last April where Jonathan Frakes supposedly mentioned that.


According to Frakes, Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) sticks around for at least one more episode after the season premiere

@Matt Wright,

Semantics aside, that was the impression that people got from hearing that.

Also having Captain Pike & the Enterprise crew around for half of the season or all of it runs counter to what Alex Kurtzman told Variety about the plans for season 2


“The show is called ‘Discovery.’ It’s not ‘Enterprise,’” Kurtzman said. “So yes, the Enterprise will play a part of Season 2 but it will absolutely not overshadow Discovery.”

Matt Wright–

Agreed. If the producers chose to spend much of season 1 showcasing an authority figure we had never heard of (and much of that under false pretenses), only to ignominiously kill him off, why would they hesitate to give equal time to an iconic character like Christopher Pike?

Who knows–maybe he will only be around for an episode or two. But I doubt it.

Yeah, the trailer made that pretty clear as well. We probably won’t see the Enterprise much but Pike looks like he will be around.

He’s the new captain of the Discovery for season 2.

Has the Enterprise increased size, Spock’s quarters look too big. Remember when Scotty was in awe at Enterprise D quarters in Relics?

Yeah, we’ve SEEN Spock’s quarters, and they look nothing like that!

Corylea — we’ve never seen Spock’s quarters prior to 2266. While I don’t give a rat’s behind whether Spock’s quarters looks like a Motel 6 suite from the 1960s or not, the actual reality is, we have never been shown anything from this period. We’ve only ever seen events from 2254, and events after 2265. So even if you wanted to adhere exactingly to visual canon — since this era has never been seen before — there’s no reason why it couldn’t look this way, regardless if fans think it fits with established visual continuity or not.

If Pike is taking over as captain of the Discovery, does that mean number one is going to be captain of the Enterprise for the duration of the mission?