Exclusive: Anthony Rapp Says Captain Pike Sets Lighter Tone For ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 2

TrekMovie had the chance to chat with some of the cast of Star Trek: Discovery at the Star Trek Las Vegas convention, including actor Anthony Rapp. We talked about the tone of the show in the second season and what’s next for Paul Stamets after the dramatic events impacting him in the last episodes of the first season. We have highlights and full video of the interview below.

Discovery and Stamets emerge from the darkness

Rapp acknowledged that the first season of Discovery had a darker tone than typical Star Trek, but he put that into context:

So much of the darkness was informed by the fact that our captain was from the Mirror Universe. Everything was geared toward telling that story. And how do we reach our ideals, sometimes you have to go through darkness to come out and realize what you really hold up to be true. So, yes it was unfamiliar in some ways, but it was still ultimately steeped in the tenets and beliefs in this universe, always. Going to humanity’s higher purpose. But, yes, it was unusually dark.

And he promised a lighter tone for the second season, led by Anson Mount’s introduction as Captain Pike:

So in [season two] we have moved through this and come out the other side. Pike is sort of an exemplary captain. He is exactly the kind of familiar Starfleet captain you would always want. And I think that alone sets such a different tone. And yes, there is certainly more humor, but there is also this settling that happens after all the craziness of season one and all the massive events. Now, in season two, so much of it gets to settle and we get to deal with it. And there is time and space for all of that, which is really satisfying.

Specifically, regarding his character of Paul Stamets, Rapp said that Stamets will have that time and space to deal with the trauma he went through due to the loss of Hugh Culber in season one:

It’s been really satisfying that it’s not in any way that is cliché or typical. It feels specific and human and true to Stamets, and I’ve been really grateful that the writers have given me that kind of material to work with.

Stamets and Tilly share a moment from the season two first look trailer

Inspired by Patrick Stewart

Rapp, who considers himself a big fan of Star Trek, talked about what it was like for him to witness the big announcement of a new Jean-Luc Picard Star Trek show :

I was in the room when Sir Patrick Stewart announced … that “Jean-Luc Picard is back,” and that was thrilling, and it was also thrilling to see how moved he was and inspired he was. You know, he has been around the block and had tremendous success and to see someone as accomplished as him still have his heart and soul deeply affected was really meaningful and inspiring.

When asked how he felt being part of the Star Trek family and how it is said that once you join you have work for life, Rapp spoke about the richer benefits of being part of the franchise:

[Work for life as Star Trek celebrity is] a great side benefit, for sure, but if it was for doing something that didn’t have meaning or it was … just cashing in … if it wasn’t linked to something that had meaning and heart and soul, it wouldn’t be such a cool thing after all. It is amazing to be part of something that resonates so powerfully.

Ready to snack on Short Treks

Rapp could not confirm if he was going to appear in any of the four Star Trek: Short Treks mini-episodes, which will start running this fall leading up to the season two premiere of Discovery in early 2019. However, he did offer some thoughts on what they are going to be like:

I do know that there is some really cool stuff. I am personally really excited about it, ’cause I think it’s a great new way to explore the world and the characters. I think it’s the perfect little – like, I don’t know, you know when you go to a nice fancy restaurant and they bring you those little treats before the meal? It’s like that. It’s like a really satisfying thing that doesn’t fill you up, but gets you ready for the meal.

The actor also noted that even though Short Treks are indeed short, they still have a lot of effort put into them, saying:

I think it’s really smart, and it also shows a tremendous commitment on the part of CBS and all the creative team. Even though they are short, they are still a lot of work and take a lot of resources. I think it is tremendous that they are giving so much life and energy and creativity, to telling all these stories.

Watch the full interview with Anthony Rapp


We have a couple more interviews from STLV coming up, so stay tuned.  Click here to see all of our STLV coverage to date.

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So excited about Season 2 and the the 4 mini-episodes before Season 2 starts!

So is Pike going to be the Discovery Captain all season? Sounds like it.

Glad it will be a lighter tone though. It was trying way too hard to be dark and edgy and it wasn’t working a lot of the time.

Yes, back at SDCC we got him to confirm that he’s in all 13 episodes of the second season. So it looks like Discovery is doing a rotating “captain of the season.”



However, that doesn’t mean he will sit in the captain’s chair in each episode. Little is known thus far.

I did know he was going to be in every episode but I was kind of hoping he wouldn’t be the Discovery Captain every episode either. I get it, but yeah.

I imagine that this season will be “The Search for Spock”, with a surprise appearance towards the end. And that’s why Pike will be throughout the season. Surely the mystery they investigate involves several ships and other captains.

Sounds like he’s the captain of the Discovery for the entire season.

I really like Kayla’s hair… and Kayla.

Okay cadet — no need to go to Red Alert ;)

You better put me on reprimand, too…

I too must be written up I guess…

Lol… Same!

Translation: You know all that stuff we mocked The Orville for doing last year and said wouldn’t work for today’s audiences because modern television is dark and serious? Well, NEVERMIND!

Calm down Billy Boy. They won’t be doing juvenile humor like dick and fart jokes.

No, just a Saurian snot joke in the season premiere.

Denny, it wasn’t the season premiere. It was a trailer. And it wasn’t every episode of the season. Unlike Family Guy in space.

I only remember a few dick jokes in The Orville. And they were all funny. Plus, it’s better sci-fi than the first season of Discovery is.

So bring on the dick jokes, as far as I’m concerned.

There were a few too many. Well there you go, The Orville, the dumbing down of America.

LOL epic cat fight!

I only seen 2/3rds of Orville first season so I can’t really weigh in but the ones I have seen didn’t have any except for one that had a ‘glory hole’ reference. But it could be a lot more in other episodes. I’m pretty sure on Discovery, someone ate one though lol. JK!

Absolutely agree, Bryant.

“So bring on the dick jokes, as far as I’m concerned.”

If they are funny then absolutely. The humor is what sets Orville apart and why I enjoy it. That show works much better when they aren’t trying to be serious.

And for the record… It IS possible to enjoy both Orville AND Star Trek.

…which I could have done without. We will see how typical it is.

I think it would be super if Discovery adopted a lighter tone, but still addressed the issues of the day, like online sockpuppetry, self-righteous Twitter mobs, and humblebragging.

So if Pike takes command of Discovery, that would leave Number One in command of Enterprise. We might find out what her name is. Years ago Trek magazine suggested that she was Christine Chapel’s sister, in which case I think her name should be Roslyn Chapel.

Her name is Number One. That is all.

If Spock can have a sister Number One can have a name.

In the first Discovery book her name is Una and Saru has a crush on her.

Her name is Una.

Totally agree! I hope they go with that name and don’t just totally disregard all the Trek novels over the years she has been in and that was her name!

No reason why she shouldn’t have a name, just like Riker and every first officer in the Royal Navy.

A full season would be nice also, I am so sick of the 8 to 12 episode seasons. What happened to 20-25 episodes, to me the first season was great, it had twists and turns. Ultimately they could have done a lot more I believe, and season 1 ending could have been more of a large mid season finale.

It comes down to money, especially when shows are produced at a loss. Broadcast networks still deliver series with 22 episodes or more, some cable series delivery close to that number (The Walking Dead delivers 18 per season) but most cable and streaming shows don’t pull in numbers big enough to generate enough revenue to warrant a 22 episode season. One 22 episode season can be split to create and finance two separate series.

TV Seasons have been trimmed as the years have gone on. Most TV shows in the 90s had in region of 22 to 26 episodes. It was standard. Flash forward to today, and the standard is generally in the region of 12 to 16.

Let’s not forget that TNG, DS9 And VOY all had filler episodes within the seasons that probably didn’t need to be made? But that is a subjective argument I suppose; some of the filler episodes are actually quite good!

Not entirely correct. Pretty much only streaming and cable shows have the mini 8-13 episode seasons. Standard network fare still tend to get the 20-24 episode seasons. Only FOX is starting to shorten many of their shows seasons.

And I agree.. “Filler” episodes are subjective. And just because you have a short season doesn’t mean you are immune to “filler” episodes. They still happen no matter how long the season is. Personally, I prefer the longer seasons.

No, I agree too.
Longer seasons mean more time for character development.
And I’ll admit I was second guessing myself a little on season lengths as they are today compared to the past; I believed they were indeed shorter in general nowadays.

No one does that anymore. 25 episode is just too much to watch. 13 – 15 per season is the sweet spot.

I don’t want 20 episodes of Disco personally. I’m quite content with the 15 eps we got in season 1, even if most of them weren’t that good [to me]

I’m not sure I’m onboard with the hair, Kayla.

And what exactly prompted you to share this most relevant opinion? I’m sure Kayla will rush to the hairdresser to rectify this at once, after which she will certainly solicit your approval.

@silvereyes – Don’t be a hater.

Practice what you preach.

Nice interview. Stamets is one of my favorite characters and I’m happy that Rapp is pleased with the material he’s getting from the writers! The ‘short Treks’ concept sounds intriguing. Looking forward to them.

He didn’t give away anything that wasn’t made obvious from the trailer. But I wouldn’t expect anyone to give anything away that hasn’t already been told.

The word you’re looking for, Anthony, is “appetizer”.

Looking forward to the new season but I’m still bummed they got rid of Lorca. He was a well acted, relatable character that stood out from those around him. A true badass… and that never goes out of style.

Well… He was until we found out he really wasn’t.

Great job, Kayla!

A lighter tone is fine. So long as Pike doesn’t start boffing everything in a skirt a la Kirk.
We don’t need a TOS MKII

Kelvin Pike never came off like that so I doubt this one would either.

I believe those days are over.

Lol doubt it. I’d almost put money on him being gay anyway.