After the Star Trek: Discovery panel at New York Comic Con, TrekMovie had a chance to talk with the panelists at roundtable interviews in the press room. We have been rolling them out all week and today we have returning cast members Shazad Latif (Ash Tyler) and Mary Chieffo (L’Rell) talking about where we’ll find their characters in season two. Watch the full video below the interview.
Did previous Star Trek Klingons help inform your performances as Klingons?
Shazad Latif: Not really. I always loved Worf, but reading about the history and stuff, the legends, that kind of stuff fed my imagination more, and our take on it was quite different. Also, my character’s non-traditional, he’s got his own – he’s also an outside there, so we took what we created, we were allowed to sort of run with it, which was great for us.
Mary Chieffo: The real fact of the matter, too, is that they didn’t have the prosthetic capability and so it’s finding that balance too, accepting that is part of … we know that all will be justified in canon in one way or another. But let’s celebrate the fact that we’ve advanced and we get to create these fully embodied characters. And I said, too, with the hair that [makeup designer] Glenn [Hetrick] took this one reference, and expanded upon it, because why not? Why not take the seed of something exciting and use it to justify this esthetic change, which I find very exciting. And we’ve always been this honorable culture that’s based on ceremony, and so why not make that part of canon.
Shazad Latif: I don’t think you saw that side enough in the old ones, you just saw … angry, evil Klingons. I like the calm peaceful side as well.
Shazad, is Tyler spending all of his time with the Klingons?
Shazad Latif: Yeah, when we first see him, he’s trying to find his place between the Klingons, between Starfleet, trying to keep that balance, he’s in limbo. He’s trying to find his place in the universe. I don’t think he will, but… it’s tough for someone like him, who’s been through what he’s been through.
He’s still trying to understand what happened to him, he’s confused, he’s got this other person’s memories, trying to do a day-to-day job with her, you know, there’s lots of things going on.
You start off, it’s good because you see the sort of grandiose Klingon world and then you hone in on these intimate scenes between them. It’s them trying to deal with those details… it’s like a kitchen scene where you see them, or a Klingon bedroom. Gardens. There’s lots of places.
Mary Chieffo: L’Rell has a garden. Fans got really excited when they saw the map of my garden.
So, you are on Qo’noS?
Mary Chieffo: We’re on Qo’noS, yeah.
Is L’Rell still carrying that bomb?
Mary Chieffo: She’s got it, in her back pocket! (laughs)
Is the bomb the source of her power?
Mary Chieffo: Yeah – that was the symbol, certainly, the actual weapon, for sure. That’s what she used to command their attention, that is always there as a potential threat, that’s what she had to do. But in the second season, it’s not about, “Haha you guys, do whatever I say.” She’s actually trying to be a leader. And trying to uphold this idea of unification, which is a legitimate and good idea. And she’s finding other ways to bring them all together, which I think the fans will get a kick out of.
Is the story of Tyler and L’Rell a love story?
Shazad Latif: I think it is. I think it’s something we haven’t seen before… just different species. Polyamorous.
Mary Chieffo: I appreciate that we get a little of reverse Beauty and the Beast. Often times, the beast is the male character, and it’s the duty of the beautiful woman to see the beautiful man inside of him. And for me as L’Rell, I actually had to look at the beautiful man and see the beast inside of him, which I found really interesting and definitely fun to play.
Are you interacting with the characters on the Discovery?
Mary Chieffo: We can’t tell you, yeah. I mean … we’re allies. That’s all we can say.
Are you speaking more in Klingon or English this season?
Mary Chieffo: There’s a good mixture, all with justification (laughs). That’s what I’ll say. But we are still being respectful of what we developed in the first season, but there are also really different ways to make things more accessible to the audience. It’s really fun to play with.
Watch the full interview
More from NYCC
There are still more interviews coming from all of our coverage of New York Comic Con. So stay tuned.
Star Trek: Discovery is available exclusively in the USA on CBS All Access. It airs in Canada on Space and streams on CraveTV. It is available on Netflix everywhere else. The second season will debut on All Access and Space on Thursday, January 17th, 2019, and on Netflix January 18th.
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news here at TrekMovie.