The main cast of Star Trek: Discovery were on hand for the final day of Star Trek Las Vegas, holding two separate panels. One was with Anson Mount, Sonequa Martin-Green and Doug Jones, and the other featured Mary Wiseman, Anthony Rapp, Wilson Cruz and Shazad Latif. We have highlights and photos from both.
Mount on Pike fulfilling Roddenberry’s vision
Anson Mount joins the cast for the second season of Star Trek: Discovery, taking on the role of Captain Christopher Pike, originally played by Jeffrey Hunter in the first Star Trek pilot “The Cage” and then later by Sean Kenney in “The Menagerie.” At Star Trek Las Vegas, Mount showed his deep knowledge of Star Trek, when talking about what has informed his performance from the original Star Trek:
There is “The Cage” and then there is “The Menagerie,” and those are two very different things. I do kind of play around with this idea that we have this established character and now we are going back, and I am wondering, am I establishing a guy we can see moving forward that ends up making that decision in “The Menagerie,” but in a way that is victorious and self-realizing and not a tragedy. But, that hasn’t really informed me at all.
What has informed me more is growing up and watching The Original Series, and knowing the series and knowing Roddenberry’s work and that if this is Roddenberry’s original guy, he kind of has to be the embodiment of an optimism, the same optimism that Roddenberry had that we are at our most basic, good and curious and adventurous. So, having to put together a guy that covers those bases, but is still not a flat portrait of something that is just a protagonist. Because I am not the protagonist. I am here to augment the protagonist of this show.
Martin-Green on Discovery reflecting our times, with optimism
Sonequa Martin-Green also discussed the optimism of Star Trek, when asked by a fan about the darker tones of the first season and if the second season will see a lighter feel. The actress first noted that the first season was set in a time of war and loss, and due to the serialized nature of the show, “We remember that, we don’t get the reset at the end of every episode, and because of that, it is automatically going to seem like it is darker.”
She added that the series reflects our times, but keeps the core optimism of Star Trek:
I think that the hope and optimism that is still inherent in our show is about fighting through those things. And I think that it is very much a mirror to the lives we are leading right now, especially the divided, ugly time we are in right now. It is about being able to go above and beyond what is tough and rough and difficult and straining and to reach for the hope, even still.
Jones on Saru inspiring hope for the fearful
Doug Jones also talked about the message of hope within the context of finding, like many fans he has met, a personal connection to Saru’s journey:
I know what it is like to live a life of fear. I was kind of fearful every day. I also wanted to say thank you to everyone who has come to my table this weekend and told me your tales of fears and anxieties, and how Saru has been a beacon of hope for you. Because I have been on the ride with you, watching Saru overcome fears and actually come into his own, finding a sense of leadership, finding courage he never knew he had before. That evolution continues. So, let us all look to Saru for a little bit of hope.
Doug Jones also said that following his work in The Shape of Water, he thought he might be done with acting in rubber suits, noting the many challenges including “not being able to go number two for fourteen hours.” However, the part of Saru in Discovery was interesting enough to convince him. He also got the crowd laughing when he talked about how being Saru is even harder than his role in Shape of Water:
Saru is more difficult for me, and more fulfilling, simply because what comes with any Star Trek entity is paragraphs of science talk. And words intimidate the crap out of me, and that many of them in a row, oddly configured and hard to say in an emergency. Oh my gosh. And doing that while balancing on hoof feet at six foot, eight…This has taken more out of me and it is all-consuming, but at the end of the day you can flush that toilet and say “Yeah, I did it!”
The Burnham/Saru sibling dynamic continues into season 2
When talking about how the character dynamic with Michael Burnham and Saru changed during the first season, Doug Jones and Sonequa Martin-Green opened up a tiny bit about season two:
Jones: Our brother sister thing was still there [in the third episode of season one], even though the trust had been broken, but we had a place of trust to build from, and boy did we throughout season one. And the brother/sister thing and the deep love and connection between us continues, season two is going to be good!
Martin-Green: It is you guys. Oh, yes!
Cruz promises season 2 will be “lit”
As the panel with the rest of the main cast started, actor Wilson Cruz hyped up the second season of Discovery, telling the crowd:
We are really excited for people to see season two. I think we have found our footing. We’ve gotten a little past the awe of the set. We are so in love with each other and love working together, and because of that, season two is going to be amazing. Lit as the kids say it.
Stamets sings in season 2
When asked by a fan if Anthony Rapp will be able to show off some of his Broadway musical talents on the show, the actor revealed:
Are we allowed to say there is a little bit of singing this season? We are allowed to say that, right? Unless it got cut, but there is a little bit of singing, so far.
Wiseman ready for some weird Tilly love
Mary Wiseman entertained the crowd with some interesting notions on who her Ensign Tilly should be hooking up with:
I want Tilly to start dating a ball of gas, or something – a really conceptionally different alien, not a humanoid. Like a ball of sound or something really weird…Like, my parents don’t approve and I’m “You just don’t get gas!”
Wiseman also got the crowd laughing when she channeled Tilly, responding to a question about breaking the f-word barrier on Star Trek:
It was so fucking cool. It was really fun. It is very appropriate that I did it, because I curse with relish at all times.
Shazad talks about the real Tyler
Shazad Latif was put in the unusual position of playing two characters, Voq and Tyler, and keeping that fact a secret for a long time during the first season. He spoke about what it was like for him to see the fan theories and reactions to the reveal:
It was great to see it. We had spent ten months filming it, so it was great to see people watching episodes. That was just fun.
He also confirmed what happened to the real Ash Tyler:
That soldier died. The real solider Tyler and they used him, I don’t know how.
Playing Stamets and Culber is a “miracle”
Both Wilson Cruz and Anthony Rapp spoke about what it means to them to be able to portray the relationship between Dr. Hugh Culber and Lt. Cmdr. Paul Stamets. In response to a fan question, Anthony Rapp talked about how it felt to be cast to play the first openly gay couple on Star Trek on TV:
It’s amazing. We’ve been both out publicly for a long, long, long time and before it was as popular as it is now…Apparently part of the reason we both got the role is because we were out actors, and that is still a little bit rare, but it does make sense. It is important now for representation…So it just means everything to be part of that.
Cruz noted how they both understand how significant it is for the franchise, saying:
What I love about how we work, is we acknowledge the firsts with each other, we have to. In that tooth brushing scene, and later on with that first kiss, we had a moment when we acknowledged it between us. This was a first and it comes with responsibility, but right away we put that away and commit to the moment and to the scene. But, we have to do that, because it means something to us personally to have these characters on television to begin with. But the fact that we get to play them, sometimes feels like a miracle. It is still rare for an openly gay actor to play an openly gay character on a drama. So, the fact that we get to do that and tell these stories on this show is overwhelming every day.
More STLV 2018
We still have a bit more content coming from Star Trek Las Vegas, so stay tuned for more. CLICK HERE to see all of our STLV coverage so far.
Photos by Andy Britton
Sounds Great to me.
I cant wait for season 2!
A lot of great quotes here. I really do think they are going to turn a corner next season!
I share in your optimism, Tiger. Hoping for much better things in Season 2, in no small part due to Anson Mount’s involvement, and hopefully the shakeup in the writer’s room will provide us with some good story…
Yeah, I do hope season 2 is an improvement in the writing department even if its still not perfect. I think I just feel more hopeful because so far at least everything that has been shown or we heard about (like changes in the Klingons) have only felt like a positive to me where as a lot of things in season 1 I was a bit concerned about when it was announced, and most of it (but not all) confirmed my fears when it was actually shown.
It doesn’t mean I’m going to love season 2 obviously, but at least it’s showing a tone and direction I was hoping we got more in season 1 but never did and that is science and exploration (the spore drive was the only ‘science’ part of the show last season and it’s really just a plot device), but stuff that is actually Star Trek. I really felt they missed the boat last season.
Can they bring Cruz’s character back from the dead like STAT?
Singing?!? Am I the only one who doesn’t enjoy singing characters in Star Trek (and other shows)?
Agree. Uhura singing in TOS wasn’t so bad when the song was to tease Spock but most of the time songs feel like filler, such as in “The Apple”.
I’m OK with it… So long as it’s sparse and there is an organic reason for it. It does work sometimes. Like in that Buffy episode, “Once More With Feeling”. Not so sure it worked as well in that Flash Supergirl crossover.
Ugh, none of the cast of Buffy could carry a tune, though, especially (unfortunately) SMG.
There was no singing in “The Apple.”
I’m guessing he means “The Way to Eden”.
Correct. I always confuse those titles.
Reilly seemed to think it was okay until he had a sip of his space drink!
…makes me recall Data singing at the beginning of Nemesis (shivers). Hope it’s used sparingly.
For sure. Really any singing for that matter. The whole Vic Fontaine thing in DS9 was lame. Same for the constant opera from the Doctor in Voy. And not just in Trek – I think it’s weird when they try to drop it into episodic TV.
I never got into the whole Vic Fontaine either. He was ok for an episode but when he became a recurring character it kind of put me off to him.
I reacted exactly the same. He did have the occasional use but I felt they went to him far more than needed. And almost every time they went there, for me at least, the episode came to a screeching halt.
The episode where Nog gets injured and Vic is there to help him was one of the best episodes that season but outside of that I usually found the character annoying. He just felt too out of place and I never understood why he was one of the few holodeck characters who knew he was a holodeck program? Someone decided they really just wanted to have a lounge singer on the show and bent over backwards to do it. As if DS9 didn’t have enough recurring characters at that point.
Ack! Saw your comment too. Late. Excellent episode!
(It’s Only a Paper Moon)
LOL no worries and you helped with the name of the episode. I honestly couldn’t remember it.
That’s why I said “almost” every time he showed up the show came to a screeching halt.
“It’s Only a Paper Moon” (Nog recovering from wartime injury) is outstanding, though.
It’s a real shame Cruz’s character is in the show for the sole purpose of being a gay love interest for Stamets. Otherwise he has no personality, no storyline, nothing. He’s literally just “the gay character”. A character created so the show can tick a box that says “diversity”. And before anyone throws abuse at me, I’m a gay man. One who finds this forced diversity in 2018 utterly suffocating and tedious.
Representation matters. Bodies are at stake. Lives are at stake. That’s all.
Yes, I thought the character was dry at first but I’d say his story line really kicked in when he died. Seriously. Now we know he comes back somehow from the mycelial network. Sounds like more than just “the gay character” to me.
Interesting you think that. I actually found both of the characters more interesting than both Burnham and Tilly combined. But to each his own.
I found it to be quite the bummer when Culber died, as he was one of my favorite characters up till then. Once again, I see no reason why they have to push he and Stamets as the ‘gay’ couple. Why can’t they just be a couple, without all the fanfare? I work with people who are same-sex couples – no one says “Oh how great we have a gay couple here at work, how progressive,” they’re just a couple. I appreciate your feelings on this, Steve.
And I hope they give SMG some better material to work with this season – Burnham, as a supposed lead character, was drier than day-old toast in season one.
Before the start of season 1 I was concerned that they would make too much of an issue with the fact that Stamets/Culber were gay, but in fact found that they were just a couple, without the fanfare… As far as Burnham being dry, I agree. I found very few endearing qualities to her personality. However in her defense, she was going through some issues…
Issues that we never really saw her deal with at all, however. They seemed to all vanish by the 5th episode.
This is too everyone thinking Burnam was dry. She spent 20 odd years having to be Vulcan. In the episodes where she enters Sareks head, and the tome-loop episode were great at showing her struggle with her humanity. She is having to go from no emotion, to learning how to dance and love romantically, and so on, in the space of a season. I actually think being “dry” is her response to having to play Vulcan all those years. I loved the scenes in the two episodes I mentioned where we saw hope for Burnam to grow out of that dryness.
When I heard the “human raised by Vulcans” thing I was intrigued. How would that work out exactly? The sad part is we got exactly zero insight into such an upbringing. That was the writers dropping the ball. Unless such a character trait was never really an issue… In which case, why do it?
Yes, I said the same thing by episode three and that they basically dropped the Vulcan aspect from the character. It’s clear that was all Fuller’s idea to make her raised in Vulcan culture and a good one at that. That was definitely new and different.
But then they did nothing with it. I thought we would see her still have Vulcan traits like meditating in her room the way we saw Spock, Tuvok and T’Pol would do. I thought she would wrestle with her emotions more. They sort of did that in the first episode and then it was dropped. I was kind of hoping we see more flashbacks of her on the Shenzhou and just trying to connect with her human side again.
I loved when she first arrived with Sarek to meet Georgiou and was very Vulcan. I loved the Vulcan eye brow raise she gave lol. I thought we would still see that side of her, even if just a little, but it’s completely erased. It does seem like they just made her Vulcan so they had a reason to get Sarek and Spock in the picture.
Agreed. We saw some of it in the pilot. Then it vanished completely. Then it seemed what we all figured it would be came true. They only did it to have a physical connection to TOS in the form of Spock and Sarek. No other reason.
Is it that different than other characters who started out as the love interest, ex. Keiko O’Brien, or other initially minor characters, like Miles O’Brien? Very few of the characters have much of a backstory so far (and we’re only like 15 or so episodes in.
So I don’t know if diversity is really to blame. Would it be any different if the character was white and straight? Maybe the problem is that so far, he’s just been the concerned spouse, which is usually a pretty thankless role.
Season 1 was overstuffed with plot points. Maybe Season 2 will find time to let these characters come to life. At least Dr. Culber got a few lines. I am rewatching the season and can count on one hand the lines for each of the bridge crewmembers.
That’s one of the reasons I’m wondering why we need a Klingon storyline. Let’s get to know the crew of Discovery first. And now with the Enterprise, Pike, Number One and Spock coming….it’s looking crowded again.
Agreed. With the limited number of episodes it feels like they just can’t afford to flash the “Meanwhile on Qo’nos” card.
I would love to do away with the Klingons completely too. They were my biggest concern going into the first season and that sadly proved true.
But I’m fine if they are more of a side story this time and not the main story. And I have a feeling they will be making LOTS of changes to the Klingons. Not just looking closer to the TNG versions, but probably less Klingon talking (man did that get tiring quickly) and maybe, just maybe see Klingons have some fun again.
Someone brought this up on Reddit how they hated the DIS Klingons because they got rid of their partying personality where we use to see them drink, eat, sing and laugh together or just show an actual personality. They been doing that with them since TOS. DIS just stripped them of all of that and turned them into overly serious and violent thugs who never even heard of a sense of humor. I don’t know if we will see that side of them again but it would go a long way of feeling like true Klingons again and not just giving them hair.
I wouldn’t have too big an issue if Klingons show up. But it’s got to be a decent reason. I honestly really have zero interest in the goings on with L’Rell and Ash. If we never see them again they won’t be missed by me.
What I am precisely interested in is how Discovery intends to use the character of Pike to interrogate normative tropes of white privilege and white supremacy.
Still found the “F” Bomb unnecessary.
I love Sonequa’s comment about hope! And Doug Jones is consistently adorable. :-)
Prediction: Culber comes back in a green candle and turns into Stamets love ghost and later he moves out and given to Beverly’s grandmother.
Green spore lands on Tilly from last season and inhabits her body like the time that crazy woman inhabited Kirks body.
Don’t laugh. You know these writers would copy that.
Sad but true.
They can promote the series all day long with pats on the backs of this huge mutual admiration society. It means nothing to me, they hyped the first season the same way. The ONLY thing that gives me hope is knowing they canned the show-runners, so maybe…just maybe…the second season will be better written. Time will tell.
I can see the latest billboard now… “Sign up for season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery! Those who thought having the Captain really be an evil twin was a good idea are mostly gone now!”
I do have a feeling with all the original show runners gone now they can make some dramatic changes to the show. People always point out how bad TNG was in its early seasons but improved in third season on. Well that’s because they got rid of basically all the people who controlled the first two seasons (including Roddenberry himself) so there was a lot less fragile egos around to make the changes needed.
Yes Kurtzman helped come up with the show as well but its very clear he didn’t make any hard decisions on the first season, he left that up to Fuller, Berg and Harbert. I know many people still don’t trust him either but I DO think he’s a better fit than the last two show runners. I just don’t think they really got Trek and why so many were disappointed in the first season direction. They tried to make it more like GOT and I don’t think it worked IMO.