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