Exclusive: Mary Wiseman Talks About Tilly’s New Position In ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 2

TrekMovie had a chance to speak to some of the cast and crew of Star Trek: Discovery at the press event at San Diego Comic-Con, including actor Mary Wiseman. Her character, Sylvia Tilly, went through quite a lot in the first season and Wiseman says she has even more to deal with in season two. (Video of the interview is below the transcript.)

Tilly on the bridge

The big thing for you this year is Tilly is now an ensign. Does that change anything for you in the way you feel about your character and how the character interacts with the crew?

Yeah, I think she feels less like a mentee this season. She really has a role on the ship for real this season. She is an ensign, she is moving up, she still has a lot to learn, but she is not a cadet anymore. She’s here and she has something to offer.

Can you talk about that new role? In the last season she was working a lot with Stamets on the spore drive a lot, but isn’t that no longer sporing?

As you see at the end of [last] season, you see that Tilly is on the bridge. She is going to be on the bridge much more. A bit more out of engineering and into the real command center of the entire ship. She is still going to be helping Commander Stamets (Anthony Rapp). They have a really deep bond personally and professionally. I think they really understand each other, scientifically. So, they really have a great working relationship. She will continue her relationship with [Michael] Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green). Burnham will still be able to teach a lot about how to be a member of Starfleet. More of the same, but bigger, better.

A big thing for Tilly in the first season was being on the command path and her ambition. Is that still a part of the character, that arc?

Yeah, it is central for her. She dreamed of being a captain like I dreamed of being an actor, from the time she was very little until her now, as an adult. It is her vocation and that’s her thing, her pie in the sky. That’s going to be a huge part of her arc in season two.

Tilly will be spending more time on the bridge in season 2

Michael and Sylvia, still roomies and besties

You have a new bunkmate? 

Nope, same.

So still with Michael Burnham, even though she is a commander now? Is there limited space on the ship?

Maybe they just like living together?

So, is there still a mentor/mentee relationship with Michael?

I think it will still be there. She is so much further along than Tilly is. Tilly has so much to learn from her, both personally and professionally. And they are friends, they are best friends. There is also that relationship, and there is a mentor/mentee relationship.

Tilly and Burnham have come a long way from this icy start

Missing Jason Isaacs and loving the Captain Killy outfit

How has the set dynamic changed with Jason Isaacs out and Anson Mount in?

We miss Jason. He is such a talented actor. I definitely miss his sense of humor and his presence on set. Anson is so lovely and such a kind guy, a silly guy and such a great actor. They are different actors, but we are still a family and it still feels really good.

You got to wear some interesting outfits during the first season. What were some of your favorites and do you get a chance to get into some different costumes for the second season?

I really liked the Mirror Universe getup [laughs]. I thought it was pretty cool, and pretty commanding. It made me feel like a different character, which was good. Next season, yeah, sure, there will be new stuff. New stuff and some same, same, same.

The “Captain Killy” Mirror Universe outfit is Wiseman’s favorite from season 1

Watch the interview

More from SDCC

There will be more exclusive interviews coming up from the Discovery press event. You may also want to check out our full panel report and the 8 things we learned from the press conference.

We have also been covering Star Trek merchandise and other Trek-related activities and panels from SDCC, with more on the way. Click here to see all our SDCC 2018 coverage.

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Wiseman’s Tilly was certainly a bright part of Discovery season 1. Looking forward to her continuing growth.

Wiseman’s character gave us some good light-hearted moments during a dark first season. Looking forward to some more acting silliness this season from Wiseman and Ensign Tilly. Also looking forward to the cast’s upcoming appearance on Car-pool Kareoke!! Hmmm, I hear Jason Issacs will be at STLV next week and his tweets seem to indicate he really did like working with the Disco cast up in Toronto. Looks like he doesn’t want to leave the Star Trek universe just yet!!

I do hope he comes back!

Love Tilly and Mary. So lovable.

Agreed! She brings a lot to the character

I have high hopes for Tilly. She is one of the few interesting characters on the show. I went from hating and despising her as the new Wesley Crusher to overall finding her character likeable and maturing. So I think Wiseman probably is due a decent amount of credit there, especially since she wasn’t given good scripts to work with in the second half of the season.

Oh, come on! The ISS Disco is still prowling our universe under the iron fist of Capt. Killy. We MUST get a showdown!

Sadly, no. Admiral Cornwell informed the Discovery crew that their Imperial counterpart starship was destroyed months earlier.

The one rule of TV is that if you don’t see them die they’re not really dead! I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually brought Prime Lorca with them.

Forgot that line… amid the torrent of unpaid set-ups in season one. Black badges, anyone?

The Black Badges were explained in the Season 2 teaser (in the exact way they promised they wouldn’t be)…

The ship was destroyed, never said Killy was dead.

Tilly is such a likable character, but my worry is that she has a very predictable arc ahead of her. I’d really prefer to be surprised. Also, realistically, isn’t it kind of unfair that she keeps getting personal mentorship from Michael who is a commander now? There must be many talented cadets and ensigns onboard.

Realistically we could expect a lot of ensigns and LTJGs, but Tilly was, I think, the only cadet, assigned to Disco because of her engineering genius.

As for mentoring, Burnham could take various junior officers under her wing at various times, or be the one everyone comes to for advice.

I like that she and Tilly have a friendship, because Tilly tutors Burnham in human relations, while Burnham tutors Tilly in her career path.

I have high hopes for Tilly. She is one of the many interesting characters on the show. I went from being a bit skeptical of her as the apparent comic relief to overall finding her character likeable and fun. I think Wiseman is due a decent amount of credit there, as she is charismatic and has good chemistry with Martin-Green; though some credit must go to the writers who provided her with good scripts and interesting character material to work with, particularly in the second half of the season.

I liked her sorrow over, and resultant rescue of, Stamets particularly, and their working relationship.

The highlight for me, perhaps in the entire season, was Tilly awkwardly doing the mirror universe salute to Emperor Georgiou. Much better than the desperate “look, we said a naughty word in Star Trek!!!!1” moment.

I too like Tilly. I hope Discovery season two departs from the whole Game of Thrones in space sex violence and profanity and make Star Trek cool again using science, compassion, and morality.

Oh, I don’t give a rat’s a** about the profanity. But then I was in the military, where we cussed. I don’t understand what the huge problem is with it, when blood and guts aren’t even mentioned.

If I had a kid, I wouldn’t let them watch until they were over 12, and that, because of the Game of Thrones-type horror scenes with Voq and the dead crew of the Glenn. The show is for grown folks and teens who can talk it over with grown folks.


I am really sad they’re giving up on the DASH drive. It was a unique element to this Star Trek and would have allowed them to travel through time without all the sling-shotting around suns and other BS.

I know a lot of people think the DASH drive is total BS but the concept works WITHIN THE UNIVERSE ESTABLISHED IN DISCO [canon naysayers be d—d], and if Discovery becomes a classified ship, she can use it again. *IF* they can figure out how to do it by mechanizing the DNA somehow and putting it into a mechanical structure. Would it be permitted in a cyborg? One wonders ….

I think Stamets makes some allusion to continuing work on the DASH drive at the end of #15.

What happened to her “pimple” on the forehead? Or was it just a part of the Tilly make-up?

It seems she had it removed at some point. In high res photos from SDCC you can even spot a small scar.

As long as she’s got the same spunky, plucky attitude and delightful awkwardness, I don’t really care!

Proof that Mary Wiseman is a good actress; I really like Sylvia Tilly, she’s the kind of person I’d want to be friends with if I was a member of the Discovery crew, but I am certain that Ms Wiseman & I wouldn’t get along in the slightest if we met in real life! 😂

(That’s not a criticism of, or attack upon, her person; just an honest opinion of the sense I get of her in comparison to people I’ve known & liked or disliked…)