TrekMovie had a chance to speak to some of the cast and crew of Star Trek: Discovery at a press event at San Diego Comic-Con, including fan favorite Saru actor Doug Jones. (Audio of the interview is below the transcript)
Saru and Michael’s relationship in season two
When we talked at the Star Trek: Discovery premiere, you talked a lot about the brother/sister dynamic with Saru and Michael Burnham and we saw how that changed during the season. Now that she is a commander again and you are first officer and she is ambitious, is the rivalry back?
No, not like it was. You meet us with brother and sister rivalry, absolutely, in season one. She outranks me when you first meet us, then she commits mutiny and under-ranks me, drastically. I get a promotion to commander and first officer, and then she works her way back and by the end of season one she has her commander pips again, but I’m still first officer, so I out-position her, but we have the same rank.
So, now what? What you are going to find in season two is the brother/sister relationships, the tender parts of it. That was my favorite part of season one. We had our bickerings and at-each-other’s throats moments, but we always had a make-up scene, where we had a moment of understanding, a moment of reckoning. And those were always my favorite scenes. We do have shared history together. We have Captain Georgiou as our mom figure, that we really came up under.
So, we are relying more on that this year. We both have families that we came from. She is foster sister to Spock. I have my own family back on my home planet, which we are going to meet in season two. I’m very excited about visiting my home planet. This season we are back to exploring and back to what Star Trek started as.
Saru goes home in season two, and Short Treks
Is your home planet called “Kelpia?”
It is not. The name of my home planet has not been put out there yet, I cannot be the first one to say it.
Have you done that episode yet?
We are about to start it, when we get back from [Comic-Con]. It is a good, thick script for me, oh my gosh! It’s a lot of responsibility.
And we get to meet your family
We meet some family. And the questions will be answered as to why am I the only Kelpien who ever joined Starfleet and how did that happen. That is going to be addressed. Between that regular episode and the [Star Trek: Short Treks] mini-episode I am going to be doing as well, a Saru mini-episode.
And the family are in the mini-episode?
Both, a little bit of both. Yeah.
When do you shoot your mini?
I don’t even know.
Saru evolves in season two
A big thing about your physicality in the first season, was the threat ganglia. Star Trek has a history with the interesting characters like Saru, Data, Odo, have these interesting abilities, and often as the series progresses, we learn about new abilities they have. So, are there other things or abilities about Kelpiens we will learn and how do you feel about them saying “Oh, now you can do this”?
[Laughs] I am on the ride with the fans. The audience and I are learning about Saru and Kelpiens at the same time, basically as I get one script. I don’t want to know too far ahead. The writers asked me last year “How far ahead do you want to know?” And I was “Let me handle one episode at a time.”
So, I am on an evolution. Every character is on an evolutionary track of some sort. My evolution is evidenced in season two, especially. Also, not only are we going to go to my home planet and meet some family, but I am also a prey species. That means there is a predator out there. Who is that? How do they have a thumb on us. All of that gets addressed and answered too. And my evolution might be part of that as well.
Acting with (almost) his own face in Space Command
Let’s talk quickly about Space Command [which was previewing its first episode at SDCC 2018]. What can you tell us about your character and how do you feel about getting to act – almost – without any makeup?
Almost! Dorn Neven is android in Space Command. I loved his character so much. He is much like other characters I have played, in that he is tall and lanky, but very poised and very mannered. He is an android that served as a servant for rich people in this future setting, but he ended up getting a heart and soul of his own, getting more human characteristics and asking questions he wasn’t supposed to ask. So, they end up demoting him and putting him in the salt mines, and that is how you meet him in the beginning of Space Command.
I had a helmet piece and they wiped away my eyebrows and gave me a very pasty, pale sort of not-quite-human look. But, it was my own face and I was tickled pink about that. I have done a lot with my own face over the years, but in the sci-fi world it is usually with rubber.
If the show gets picked up, are you going to be available?
I doubt it, because I am very committed to Star Trek: Discovery now.
Listen to the interview
More from SDCC
This is the last of our Star Trek: Discovery exclusive interviews from San Diego Comic-Con. Click here to see our other six red carpet interviews. You may also want to check out our full panel report and the 8 things we learned from the Discovery press conference.
We have also been covering Star Trek merchandise and other Trek-related activities and panels from SDCC. Click here to see all our SDCC 2018 coverage.