Star Trek Las Vegas included a lot of panels dedicated to Star Trek: Discovery. We have already done reports on panels with Rainn Wilson, Jason Isaacs, Mary Chieffo and other recurring actors, makeup designer Glenn Hetrick, and the six members of the main cast including Sonequa Martin-Green and Anson Mount. We also covered new Discovery merchandise on display and the Discovery expansion of STO.
But believe it or not, there was another actor panel, featuring bridge crew cast Sara Mitich (Airiam), Emily Coutts (Keyla Detmer), and Oyin Oladejo (Joann Owosekun), along with Rekha Sharma (Commander Landry) and Sam Vartholomeos (Danby Connor).
Season two will reveal more about characters, including Detmer’s implant
A fan asked if the second season of Discovery would reveal more backstory about the bridge crew. Without wanting to give away much, both Emily Coutts and Sara Mitich said “Yes.” When specifically asked if Detmer’s implant is related to the Borg, the actress did give some details about what we will learn in season two:
It is an original. It is not a Borg piece. You guys will learn more about that soon…It will be explored a little bit more. I know there is not a ton of information on it right now.
Moderator Matt Mira jumped in and said he assumed it was due to how she got injured during on the USS Shenzhou during the Battle of the Binary Stars and the implant was used to “put her back together,” to which Coutts replied:
Yeah, it is a healing…That is pretty much it, actually.
Doug Jones has taken Sara Mitich under his wing
Sarah Mitich talked about the process of being transformed into Lt. Commander Airiam and how prosthetics veteran Doug Jones (Saru) has been a big help:
They have got it down to about two hours…I think the makeup is phenomenal. I had never done anything like this before. I had never done prosthetics for Halloween, not for anything. Doug Jones, he was one that took me under his wing. As all of you know, he is king.
Mitich went on to talk about how the makeup team takes care of her.
It took some time getting used to and how everything works and I had a lot of questions and they always answered them. And James [MacKinnon] and Hugo [Villasenor] and Chris [Bridges] and Shane [Zander] and everyone in the group who does it is so professional and great, that they take the best care of me.
Rekha reveals deleted scene that gives context to Landry’s death
One fan seemed perplexed by the decision-making of Commander Landry when she dropped the forcefield, unleashing Ripper the tardigrade and getting herself killed. Actress Rekha Sharma revealed that a deleted scene would have helped add context to Landry’s state of mind:
What they were exploring, which may not have been totally clear. There was a scene that was cut that showed my very complicated relationship with Lorca. Basically he had me wrapped around his little finger and things were getting very, very intense. And I was going to do what ever I could to make my captain happy and to do what I could do to try and save my people.
But, Sharma went on to agree, Landry was not thinking straight:
From the point of view of the story, of course it was a terrible decision. But you know when you think you have a good idea, but you have narrow tunnel vision because you are so scared, and you make terrible decisions because you are in your own little world? Well, that is what Landry did.
Sam doesn’t share the same fond memories of Sonequa
Some of the actresses talked about how much they have picked up working with Sonqua Martin-Green. Emily Coutts noted “the way she runs the set as the leading woman is the greatest gift to watch, she brings us all together” with Rekha Sharma agreeing, calling Sonequa a “queen” and drawing a favorable comparison to how Edward James Olmos led the cast when she was on Battlestar Galactica. Sam Vartholomeos then interjected some sarcasm into the love fest, quipping:
I am just going to jump in. I don’t have very fond memories of Sonequa.
With a nod to how his character has died violently on the show twice, arguably at the hands of Martin-Green’s character both times, Vartholomeos deadpanned:
I have no idea what these fine women are talking about. I don’t want to be in an elevator with her. I don’t want to be in a room with her. She texted me today to invite me out to dinner, I said “Nope!” Listen to them, but have that in the back of your mind. You see her in an elevator…
Star Trek makes Oyin try to be a better person
A fan opened up with a question to Oyin Oladejo saying it meant a lot to her to see so many women of color on the show and women with natural hair, and she wondered if the actress had to fight to keep her hair for the show. Oladejo said she was actually ready to change her style, but there was no need:
I had my sides shaved prior to me getting this job. I came on set and realized Emily [Coutts] had her sides shaved. But because I had my sides shaved and I had my hair twisted, I think they went with that look. They tried to accommodate us. There was no fight, whatsoever. I was willing to do whatever, if they wanted to shave my head I was willing to do that, but it was easy.
In response to a question from a fan about what they learned from Star Trek since starting working on the show, Oladejo gave a heartfelt answer about how the show has changed her:
When reading the scripts, you feel such a connection to it that the longer you do it and the longer you are on set and the more you spend time with the family and the more you spend time with the scripts, on some level you are forced to try to be a better human being. Because, the show demands that of you as an actor. Then you go away and are like “Oh shit, I have to live up to this.” I know it is TV and fictional, but I want to be a better person. I say these lines and hear people say these lines and then we go and wrap after twelve hours and you forget about it, but there is something that remains the next day. On some level you are forced to try to be a better person and Star Trek does that.
Singing and dancing on the disco set
The group talked about life on the set a few times, discussing how they keep things light. Emily Coutts talked about how director Jonathan Frakes saw parallels with the notoriously boisterous set of Star Trek: The Next Generation:
When Jonathan Frakes was directing he was like “Ah, this reminds me of the good old days, back on the bridge shenanigans.” And that is kind of like what it is. You get so deliriously tired that eventually you start singing. Saru gets his long legs up there on the captain’s chair and it is a good old time.
This subject of singing on set came up again, when a fan asked about set pranks, with Coutts revealing:
I don’t think it is pranks, but a lot of singing and dancing. Doug Jones [spearheads the singing]. He is going to get his own show.
And in reference to the dancing, a fan asked if they would back up Shazad Latif’s claim that he is the best dancer in the cast, and in reply, Mitich talked about a scene recently shot:
I don’t know about dancing, but we were shooting recently and [Shazad] pretended to jump out of the front window of the bridge, that was pretty crazy.
Both Mitich and Coutts also talked about how they deal with boredom in scenes when they have no dialog:
Sara Mitich: I know for myself what my buttons are. I made it up in my mind. So, when it is black alert I am going to hit these three buttons and hold this thing like this.
Emily Coutts: I try to create these weird games because there is a lot of automated things, but I like to get it at the right time so it is actually me doing it. And there are numbers that roll, but they stop at weird places, like 177. And I’m like “OK, I’m going to tap it when it gets to 177.”
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 to date.
All photos by Andrew Britton/TrekMovie.com