Saturday at Star Trek Las Vegas featured two panels with guest and recurring actors from Star Trek: Discovery with one featuring Klingon actors Mary Chieffo (L’Rell) and Kenneth Mitchell (Kol), along with Jayne Brook (Admiral Cornwell) and Clint Howard (Creepy Orion). The panel had some news about the second season of Discovery along with some interesting insights into the first.
Mary Chieffo talks new look for the Klingons at peace
The first season of Discovery wrapped up the war with Klingons, with Mary Chieffo’s L’Rell putting an end to it with a little help from a giant Federation bomb. At STLV, the actress talked about her role in the Klingon Empire for the second season, proudly proclaiming “I am the Chancellor!” She also spoke about changes she sees for the Empire for season two:
It is a time of peace and there is a certain aesthetic that comes with that. We are not at war, so I tease that there is not only a Klingon aesthetic change, there is a Chancellor aesthetic that L’Rell gets to embody, that I am really thrilled about on a superficial level, but also on a thematic level. You are going to see as she embraces her femininity, she is not a commander, not a soldier anymore. She is trying to embody this more female archetype as she embraces her power. It’s going to be fun.
Ken Mitchell indicates he returns for season two
Kenneth Mitchell spoke about the challenge he had doing the Klingon dialog playing Kol in the first season of Discovery:
It’s like memorizing a sequence of numbers, I had to approach it that way…I would wallpaper the Klingon all over my house, because I would print it up in big posters around my house and for weeks I would try to memorize syllable by syllable. It would take me two weeks memorizing eight hours a day to memorize two scenes.
Kol was last seen on board the Klingon Sarcophagus Ship shortly before it was destroyed in the ninth episode of the first season. However, that may not be the end for Mitchell’s time on the show. A fan asked if we might see him return to the series, possibly playing another role. Mitchell said at first “I would love to come back,” he then theatrically asked the audience to stomp their feet while he posed the question to himself saying “Am I coming back?” He then reached out his hand and slowly gave the thumbs up sign, to indicate he will indeed be returning, with no sign if that would be as Kol, or possibly a different character.
Mary Chieffo, then chimed in (with a reference to the other big news from yesterday):
Jean-Luc Picard is back, and Kenneth Mitchell is back
Jayne Brook thrilled to play powerful woman on Discovery
This was Jayne Brook’s first convention ever and she was thrilled to be there. The actress talked about what it was like for her to land the job playing Admiral Cornwell:
It was so much fun and was completely unexpected. I had some catching up to do, and still have some catching up to do…It was thrilling to be part of [Star Trek: Discovery] and to play a woman who has power, but is so multi-dimensional. We saw so many different sides of her.
She also spoke about how she was clued in to the secret that Jason Isaacs’ Lorca was really the Mirror Lorca, and therefore not the same person as Corwell’s old flame, Prime Lorca. However, she noted that she had to put that info aside, to do her intimate scenes with Isaacs:
They had talked to me about [Lorca’s secret], but I just put it into another compartment and just played it as it was real.
Clint Howard connects TOS to Discovery
Veteran actor Clint Howard drew a through-line from his first time as a child actor on Star Trek: The Original Series, through to his guest appearance in the season finale of Discovery and how the franchise has always valued the input of the actors and directors on set:
Being on the original [Star Trek] and hearing about it from my dad [actor Rance Howard] and there was a fellow named Joe Sargent who directed the first episode I did [TOS: “The Corbomite Maneuver”], is the actor’s element, the stuff that Leonard [Nimoy] invented or the stuff that the director told Leonard to do, that ended up becoming part of Spock’s life. It’s like what can’t happen is the show becomes so much soap opera, that it loses the human element. Why does that moment work? Because it works because the actor made it work. So, as the show evolves, they still have to let us have that ability to make it real.
It was nice that Akiva [Goldsman, director of DSC “Will You Take My Hand”] asked me to come back and when I was thinking about it, of course there is a way they want you to do it. But my experience is, that they hired me to do it. Now, I am not going to rewrite their dialog, but I am also not going to be a mimic for what the showrunner wants me to do. They can hire somebody to do that. What made the original special, was that the actors brought their own humanity to the table, which is really important.
Brook and Chieffo reenact the scream
A fun moment that delighted the crowd was when Mary Chieffo and Jayne Brook reenacted the dueling scream from their scene together in the episode “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum.” TrekMovie captured the moment for our live coverage on Twitter.
— TrekMovie.com @ STLV (@TrekMovie) August 4, 2018
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All photos by Andrew Britton/TrekMovie.com