8 Things We Learned About ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 2 At Comic-Con Press Conference

Following the Star Trek: Discovery panel at Comic-Con’s famous Hall H, there was a press conference in which the Disco team got a little more in-depth about some of what’s planned for season 2. Here are the eight biggest takeaways from the conference.

1. This isn’t “The Cage” Captain Pike

Based on executive producer Alex Kurtzman’s description of Pike, he’s not the jaded, exhausted Pike we met in “The Cage” (which took place 3 years prior to the start of season 2).

What I love about Pike, and I think this kind of comes from what I took from Jeffrey Hunter’s performance, and to some degree the Pike that we did in the movies, is that he’s a man who’s very kind, who has tremendous authority, and yet can still apologize when he’s wrong. And so in many ways he’s the opposite of Lorca, that way.

Anson Mount, who plays Pike, clearly understands the legacy he’s taking on.

You have to be very careful about the footprints you lay, because they’re there for a very long time … Pike was Roddenberry’s original face of Starfleet. I only knew that there’s a tremendous optimism to this person. And a good heart, someone who probably had good mentors.

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2. Rebecca Romijn’s Number One will get some character development

Pike’s Number One, originally played by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry in the pilot “The Cage,” will appear in Discovery, portrayed by Rebecca Romijn. Kurtzman elaborated a little on what to expect.

I think what Majel conveyed in TOS is a real sense of authority and confidence and obviously a connection to Pike that could have suggested many different things. And we’re definitely digging into that. I think it was funny seeing Rebecca – first of all, seeing the actors show up on set in the TOS outfits was really incredible. It was just an amazing thing because the color scheme is obviously so different from Discovery. So seeing the actors in that place, you get this amazing feeling of re-interpreting and yet honoring at the same time.

The thing that I love about what Anson’s bringing and what Rebecca’s bringing is that there’s a depth that I think couldn’t be explored in those characters, obviously given what little screen time they had back then.

He added that there’s a bonus to casting Romijn, pointing out that “…obviously there’s almost a fanboy quality that comes with Rebecca just based on X-Men.”

Majel Barrett-Roddenberry as Number One in Star Trek and Rebecca Romijn

Number One, originally played by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, will be played by Rebecca Romijn, seen here in The Librarians

3. Saru’s history will be explored

Doug Jones was excited to talk about the plans for Saru, although (of course) he couldn’t reveal the specifics.

As far as Kelpiens go, I’m the only one you’ve ever seen in this universe. Of course in the mirror universe, they were dinner.

I think the keyword is evolution, this year. We do visit my home planet, we’re going to meet some of my family, we’re going to find out where Saru comes from, how he became what he is, why the fear, who’s the predator, all those things are going to come into play.

Saru, Star Trek’s first Kelpien

4. Dr. Culber is back, somehow

Wilson Cruz pointed out that his very appearance on the panel is a pretty good indication that Culber is going to be a real character this season, and not just an occasional Stamets vision or flashback. “My neck feels fine,” he said, referring to the first season episode “Despite Yourself” when Voq/Tyler kills him by snapping his neck.

I think we’re gonna learn a lot more individually about these two men, and together. I think we’re going to deepen this relationship and these characters.

Co-star Anthony Rapp (Paul Stamets) chimed in with a slightly more informative hint about how Culber might return, fueling fan speculation that the mycelial network may contain some of the answers.

It really is inspired by real science, that the real Paul Stamets, who’s a mycologist, has to say about the nature of mycellia and how it interacts with matter in the universe, and his theories about that.

Wilson Cruz as Dr. Hugh Culber from Season 1

5. L’Rell is the new Klingon Chancellor

At the end of season 1, L’Rell held the Klingon Empire in the palm of her hand, literally, having been given a detonator to a bomb buried deep inside Q’onoS by Michael Burnham. Actress Mary Chieffo explained where this story and her character are headed.

I do now have some power over the Empire. I’m now the Chancellor, trying to do my best to uphold T’Kuvma’s vision. But it’s fraught with strife, because patriarchies are patriarchies, and often times they do things when they’re angry at women. (laughs) But beyond that, I just think that you get the kind of grandiose side of things, the ruler, but then you also get the heart and the humanity.

Mary Chieffo as L’Rell in season 1

6. We won’t be revisiting the mirror universe

But Kurtzman doesn’t rule out the possibility of other parallel universes.

I think we felt that the mirror universe served an incredibly specific character purpose last year, in that the first half of the season was about blowing up Burnham’s life … and any choice we make about a universes isn’t just about, ‘Hey, let’s do that because it’s cool,’ it’s because there’s a great character journey to be had there. So I think this season is not so much about going to alternate universes as much as it’s about maintaining and growing the direction of the characters. But certainly, the idea of going to other universes is open.

Captain Burnham in the mirror universe from season 1

7. Season 2 will give us some TOS-like moments

The turbolift scene that ended the season 2 sizzle reel shown at the Comic-Con panel gave us a little taste of what to look forward to in terms of some of the lighter moments. Kurtzman elaborated,

There’s a lot of fun this season. I think, obviously last season was about war, and it’s tough to really stop down and have a whole lot of humor when the stakes are so high and life and death is really what they’re dealing with every day.

And tonally now, we’ve gotten to a place where the crew has more– even though the stakes are very high, there’s more down time in moments, which allows for more humor, which allows for a slower onion layer pulling open of character and the details of their relationships that we would never have been able to give time to. I feel like tonally it’s probably a more buoyant season, even though there are some episodes that are very very serious and intense. I think you’ll see in the first episode that there’s more balance between some of the humor that you’d see on TOS, and the high stakes of the more modern versions of Trek.

Linus and crew in the turbolift

8. Canon questions will be answered

When asked if they are ever tempted to just ignore canon, Kurtzman was clear that they won’t, and that that they understand some of the issues the fans are having.

We’ve never been tempted to just say screw it, we’re doing our own thing. However, we are constantly challenging ourselves in the writers’ room with how can we push really really hard against the edges of what canon is without breaking it. And that means things like coming up with the spore drive, which obviously never existed before Discovery, and why did Spock never mention his sister. These are huge, huge questions.

And we will be syncing up with canon, and we will be answering those questions … I think the key for us is to do it in a way that both feels inevitable and totally surprising. And hopefully by the time you get to the end of the season you will understand why all of those things have never been discussed.

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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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One question I have is will there ever be a blu-ray release of Season 1?

That is a damn good question. I have heard no talk at all about that.

Hopefully 4k version also

No one is talking about it, because CBS isn’t saying anything. It’s that simple. No one has heard anything. Including people who have good ties to the home video biz, like Bill Hunt.


Speaking of TV titles, there is absolutely no sign at the moment that CBS plans to release Star Trek: Discovery – Season One on Blu-ray anytime soon. That’s not to say it couldn’t happen as we get closer to the debut of Season Two on CBS All Access, but the network seems happy to keep the series behind their paywall for now.

CBS seems to be content to leave this without a physical media release.

If they do release it, it would likely follow the trend that Netflix does, which is release the previous season on Blu-ray right before the new season comes to streaming.

So, even if CBS is planning on a physical media release, don’t expect to hear anything until the fall or possibly even the new year (right before DSC S2 starts).

Could this mean there’s no faith in making a profit? That Discovery lacks the fan following? This makes me want to petition CBS for a DS9 Blu ray release so badly. I know we could raise it if we crowd funded. I hope Ira’s hard work pays off and he gets his wish. He’s been very transparent about why he has made his documentary and what the end game is. Imagine if DS9 Blu ray had more of a market than Discovery blu rays… I wouldn’t be surprised.

They lost money on the last TNG box set.

Does it mean they want you to subscribe to CBS All Access to watch the show?

Yes that’s what it means, in the same way other streaming sites don’t always put out physical media for their original series. Why would they make 50 bucks off you once when they can make 9 bucks off you ever month forever? Maybe down the road, but not anytime soon.

It’s a streaming show. It’s not going to be out out on some disk you can buy at Walmart. It’s not the business model and it’s not 2006.

So true, many networks are bypassing disk releases and just sell the streaming rights, and now with every network trying to start their own streaming network don’t expect a return to physical media anytime soon.

If that’s the emerging model for streaming programming, I’m seriously bummed. While I’ve occasionally bought digital seasons on Amazon, that has only been for stuff I’ve been writing about or shows that seemed to be taking forever to get to disk, like MANHATTAN. And I’ll probably do it for DOWNWARD DOG, since there has never been a disk release announcement for that (but the HD price is still WAY high for my tastes.)

Depending on extras, I’d’ve probably bought ORVILLE on Blu (used), but I still don’t know if there’s going to be ANY physical release on that, though the VFX are apparently slightly better than you can see streaming.

@Luke Montgomery,

You really have no idea what you’re talking about, do you?

CBS has released their first CBS AA show ‘The Good Fight’ on DVD.

House of Cards, The Handmaid’s Tale, Orange Is The New Black, Jessica Jones, The Punisher, 11.22.63 and many other streaming shows are all available on DVDs and some on Blu-ray as well.

Considering no one buys Star Trek box sets anymore, it wouldn’t be a great shock for CBS not to release it and just stick to streaming. How much money do they lose with the last TNG box set? Why would anyone spend money to buy it when they can press a button and have it streamed to them?

The unfortunate thing is some areas can’t accommodate streaming.

Well, for one thing, there’s no guarantee it’ll remain available for streaming. CBS owns the show — they could theoretically one day decide, nope, nobody is ever going to see this again. Or they could decide to raise the price for All Access to $50 per month.

Those things are unlikely, but you can’t rule it out.

The way I see it, if you’re truly a fan of something, you’re nuts if you DON’T want to own it physically.

Well you STILL can own things but more so digitally these days. I get why CBS may not want to sell discs but yeah I’m shocked they haven’t let Itunes, Amazon or Google let people purchase the first season digitally at least.

Maybe that might be an option by the time season 2 starts but yes it is weird how DIS is not on any other platform anywhere yet. I understood when it was still running because CBS wanted people to sign up to AA. But at this point my guess is everyone who signed up just to watch the show has essentially done it until next season anyway, so why not find other ways to make money off of it? My guess is quite a few fans will by it, if not on disc then by downloads.

I’ve never felt secure owning something digitally, unless it’s a download I can make backup copies of. But I’m in the minority on that, probably, and will only get more so with each passing year.

@Bryant Burnette — Disney used to do that with their VHS Home Video and DVD releases. Granted if someone wanted to see one of those Disney movies that had been pulled from the marketplace, one could almost always find a copy at Blockbuster. But the reality is, if you wanted to own it to watch whenever you wanted, Disney prevented that from happening. My how times have changed.

That said, I’ve yet to see an agreement that said once you bought a digital copy, that the copyright holder had the right to rescind that access, whether the purchaser ever downloaded it or not. So owning a physical copy is not necessarily an issue from an accessibility standpoint.

Where I do aknowledge your point is specifically with respect to CBSAA and DISC. So until such time as CBS at a minimum offers the show for purchase for download and streaming, the unlikely risk you propose exists. But I don’t see the need to go beyond that to a BD or DVD release to ensure it.

Yes they “lost money” on the TNG sets but they also got an additional 100 years of broadcast and streaming potential out of it in HD, so like how much money did they really lose over the long run?

Now that the issue with canon will be addressed, can you stop hating on Discovery? If you’re going to continue to hate on them, I suggest you sell your Trek things and stop being a fan.

So if I criticize something I don’t like then I am not a fan? Your idea of a fan is to blindly accept anything that comes with the brand name whether they are good or bad. I think a true fan is the person who can be critical of the product while at the same time enjoying it, otherwise we are no different than sheep who blindly follow each other. If we want to get the best out of the things we are fans of then we need to criticize the parts we don’t like.

Warning: No one gets to proclaim who a fan is or isn’t. Thread closed.

1. This isn’t “The Cage” Captain Pike

Nor should he be. Imagine if Pike had not changed his attitude after The Cage? It would have been a long 11 years until Kirk took over the Enterprise for everybody. This is 3-4 years after The Cage, and I’d fully expect Pike to have gotten a new lease on life, or gotten out by then. If for no other reason, imagine if Hunter had not stepped up the energy and enthusiasm for the role had he been cast for the first season — the franchise could have died right there.

8. Canon questions will be answered
And that means things like coming up with the spore drive, which obviously never existed before Discovery, and why did Spock never mention his sister. These are huge, huge questions.

I just don’t see these as major questions. The answers really have to be the Spore Drive didin’t work out, and was shelved and never spoken of again, and; Spock didn’t even tell his captain that the Vulcan ambassador was his father before awkwardly meeting them for a major diplomatic mission. Anybody who complains about Sybock really only has to take a look at Journey To Babel to easily explain why we’d never heard of Sybok, and the two aspects of canon together to explain Burnam. And if that doesn’t do it, then Amok Time is another must see episode. One of Spock’s fundamental character issues is his complete tight-lipped privacy when it comes to personal matters. Period.


Completely agreed. Sometimes I think people go on and on about this stuff in an attempt to make themselves look clever (and that’s actually one of the more benign explanations). If so, there are probably better ways of doing it than endlessly picking apart a TV show.

Exactly. People who are upset that Burnham wasn’t mentioned seem to have never paid much attention to the Spock character in the first place. Pon far. Sybok. Sarek being his father. All surprised to his closest friends. Sarek said it best when he said in ST III about Spock’s katra, “He never would have spoken of it openly.” Burnham fits in. Case closed.

The Spore Drive has the potential to destroy the Universe. Starfleet would bury that tech so deep, know one would know.

The Klingons knew, enough people probably know. Maybe it really was a dead-end technology

Take a look at the DS9 episodes where Sloan seemingly appears out of nowhere to Bashir and no one can find a transporter trace. Sure, it could be an advanced transporter, but the lad in me that likes to have fun connecting the dots asks why that can’t be Section 31 using the spore drive.

I will agree about the Pike thing. Picard changed a lot in the 3-4 years since he first got the D. Same with Sisko on DS9. In fact they both started off a little too serious and standoffish but by fourth and fifth season they had become friendly with the crew and developed a camaraderie that wasn’t there early on.

“Picard changed a lot in the 3-4 years since he first got the D.”

I… umm… wow. I didn’t know that about Picard and I really doubt I wanted to know.

Sybok was a stupid idea and most fans pretend that whole movie never happened except for the campfire scene. Don’t try to use crap to justify other crap.

@Darth_Meow_504 — Unfortunately it’s canon, and fans don’t get to pick and chose. And it’s actually canon that I’d like to see explored. If I learned more about Sybok during DISC, I’d not be unhappy.

That said, it was a generally poor idea, however, don’t ignore the fact that the roots of that bad idea were firmly rooted in some of the best canon we have — Journey to Babel, Amok Time, and TWOK & TSFS. There’s plenty of other minor examples about Spock’s notorious private nature throughout the franchise. So Sybok is in fact a justification, but not because it was a great idea, but because it was based on a rock solid canon of good ideas. Burnam follows in the legacy and so far I love what they’ve done with that story line — it’s no frivolous Sybok. There are deeply thought out root here which enhance my understanding of the characters I’ve known for decades.

Just in response to another thread… Hmm interesting take. Maybe it is like being a fan of a favorite sports team. Some are devoted to the max, no matter how the team performs or who they trade away, while others are free to be critical, even if the team is winning and doing great things. In the end both watch and support no matter what – because they are fans of the franchise. Btw did anyone see the “fans divided” panel? After seeing that awesome trailer and some of the announcements, even SOME of its harshest critics might find it tough not to be excited about the prospects for Disco Season 2.

you know, when a moderator locks a thread it’s not really a good idea (or appropriate) to respond further to it.

I’d love to see a Short Trek where Pike has nightmares about his stay on Talos IV! Great format to build upon canon! :-)

I thought the BSG “webisodes” were pretty good, and actually added to the overall narrative, so the idea definitely has promise.

I also like that these won’t be 10 two minute micro episodes but 4 fifteen minute installments.

@Afterburn — I agree, but I have to say, I found 10-15 minute increments to be a frustrating way to see anything. I guess I never realized how short that actually is, until I tried to watch the STARGATE ORIGINS webisodes. These are self contained episodes, but short nonetheless. Hopefully they will manage to be satisfying nevertheless …

Not revisiting the Mirror Universe? I might really be back in on this show for Season 2.

@Thomas, I just hope they don’t start exploring other parallel universes, or try to get clever with the Kelvin Universe somehow.

“But it’s fraught with strife, because patriarchies are patriarchies, and often times they do things when they’re angry at women.”

Angry at women or just this specific woman? Because, you know, there is that matter of threatening to blow up the homeworld… just sayin.

Why do you think all Klingons were under constant surveillance during TOS (mentioned by Kor in Errand of Mercy)? Because L’rell had to operate that way just to survive.

Uh… huh

Look season 2 is showing us how it all connects into established canon right. Thats what we are being told. With that in mind a hated chancellor holding rule through threat of extinction makes perfect sense to explain why a society of honorable warriors was such a police state 10 years from now, and why it isn’t later after her rule ends. Kor flatly states that all Klingons soldiers, of any rank, are always being watched. L’Rell works well as the reason for this brief period of totalitarianism in the Empire.

I really hope the canon is synched up. If they could link the visual inconsistencies. You know – they’re selective visual re-imaginings… I would be a fan of Discovery. They promised us a more diverse Klingon empire – show us the various Klingons we have seen throughout the 50 year Trek legacy – hark back to designs we grew to love – I didn’t even care for the Klingons! But redesigning them and erasing their design evolution is an insult to all the hard work that came before your lack-lustre series and an insult to our investment as fans. If you truly want to expand this universe, honor the previous series and have Discovery fit in more with them visually. You can still have your pretentious blue grading saturating everything, darkly lit scenes and lens flares, I promise.

“If they could link the visual inconsistencies.”

Right, well that’s impossible at this point. Unless the Enterprise’s distress call is something like “we just got out of spacedock for a complete refit of both the interior and the exterior of the ship–plus we changed uniforms for no reason–when our engines broke down! Can you tow us back to spacedock so we can get another complete refit to make our ship look closer to how it used to look, both inside and out?”

I’m sure that will be “Short Trek #5: The Enterprise gets changed back again!”

“4. Dr. Culber is back, somehow”

Should be pretty obvious by now… the Tilly short will reveal that Dr. Culber’s essence is inside her. We’ll finally get to meet Discovery’s CMO in Season 2, who will be performing reconstructive surgery on Dr. Culber’s corpse and will somehow manage to take Culber’s “soul” out of Tilly and back into his own body.

One thing that the new trailer has shown me is that they’ve managed to pull off making the TOS uniforms look more advanced than the DSC uniforms. I didn’t think that was possible when I first saw the DSC uniforms. So kudos to the costume department for pulling it off. It also lends credence to the plot point established in David Mack’s Desperate Hours that Constitution Class starships (as the ships of the line) have been granted the new uniforms while the rest of the fleet is still wearing the old ones.

Also, it’s good to see Anson Mount’s Pike carry on the more refreshed Pike after visiting Talos

@Amulius Victor — TOS already established the rest of the fleet wore older uniforms in Charlie X. THat said, I wish they’d left the metallic trim on the Enterprise uniforms. It would have fit with the canon we’ve seen in the TOS dress uniforms designs. Then it’s a logical evolution to the less formal TOS BDU attire we’ve all come to know.

This episode of Star Trek: Discovery is brought to you by Real Science®.

“But Kurtzman doesn’t rule out the possibility of other parallel universes.”

Good. Because Discovery takes place in one.

No it doesn’t. Only the franchise owners get to decide that, and they have, and Discovery is Prime, whether you like it or not.

Hey, as long as I’m spending my Quatloos to purchase the show, whatever makes it tolerable for me to watch I’m going with. LLAP.

The best forst season of any show ever in the Trek franchise does not need your irrelevant BS.

I love Wilson Cruz and I’m glad he’ll be back

“Reinterpreting yet honoring”–getting tired of this boilerplate. Personally, I just wish they would just do a full on reboot if they want to “reinterpet” or do something original and not drag Star Trek into it (though I know that is more a business decision than anything else). I think they could have it both ways if they tried a little harder with the “honoring”, but they seem to want to focus on the reinterpretation in which case they should discard canon and make a reboot or throw this into an alternative universe. Oh well, more important things to engage with so best be going…