Thursday’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery showed how much the character of Saru has changed since going through the Kelpien process of Vahar’ai. Saru actor Doug Jones discussed the “The Sound of Thunder” and its future implications for the character and the show in some post-episode interviews, and we have gathered together some of the highlights.
Saru is testing his freedom, but still a gentleman
Doug Jones was the guest on this week’s episode of The Ready Room where he talked about shooting “The Sound of Thunder” as well as what it means for the character of Saru, who has been going through some changes. The actor uses an analogy to explain how a Saru without fear will deal with the rules of life as a Starfleet officer, saying:
It’s like when you turn 18 but you are still living at your parent’s house. This is kind of like what Saru feels like now: “I can vote, I can smoke, I can do porn! I am old enough for all those things.” But he is still living under his parent’s rules. So, there is some tension there. Is this going to make him do a complete 180 and change personality altogether? You don’t know. I think of it like I think of me personally. When I was 18 I was a much different person than I am now at 58. I think Saru is going through the same kind of change. It is the same person with the same morals, the same ideals, but with a new found freedom. He is testing that freedom, I think. He has freedom from fear.
However, Jones indicated that the conflict we saw with Saru and Pike in “The Sound of Thunder” was unique to the situation:
He has courage he has never felt before, mixed with anger because of what he knows about this home planet. So, standing up to Captain Pike is something out of character for him. But it feels right in the moment. “I am not afraid of anything. I disagree with you, I am going to say so and I am taller than you so I am going to be intimidating.”
Jones also talked about the moment when Saru demonstrated his new spike-firing ability, and what that implied about the history of the Kelpiens and the Ba’ul:
I am angry and looking at the predator and this instinctively comes out and shoots at him. I didn’t orchestrate that, it happened on its own, kind of like any animal in the wild does instinctively, that just happened. And it was kind of like “where did that come from?” And that is the first time we realize, this is what the Ba’ul have been trying to prevent from happening for all these centuries and generations. They have been afraid of us. The tables must have been turned back in history and they in technology built themselves up to a place where they can control that. That is very eye-opening. It takes the anger and puts it into perspective. Okay, they had a reason for wanting to oppress us, because we were a threat. We were a big threat before.
But again, Jones clarified that this new Suru is not controlled by the changes, saying:
I still think Saru is still a gentleman. I don’t think he will ever turn vicious. I think he will need to keep his newfound instincts in check….The immediate change you will see in him; he will not make decisions based on fear anymore. He will make his decisions on “why not? Let’s give it a try.” He’s got more of that coming out.
Jones also provided a lot of info on the shooting of the episode including how he had to run “Kelpien classes” and why he turned down the offer to play the Ba’ul, a role which then went to his friend Javier Botet. Watch the video below…
Speaking to IGN, Doug Jones talked about the possibility of promotion:
Saru might be ready, but others on the ship also might be ready. Because I share a rank. I’m Commander Saru. [Sonequa Martin-Green’s] Michael Burnham got her status back as Commander. We also have others that have been given promotions and whatnot. And once we get through Season 2, you know, who will have earned what? But Saru, yes. That’s the big mystery for Saru personally now. I was acting captain for a minute at the end of Season 1. On our way to Vulcan to get a permanent captain assigned to us, we were intercepted, so now we have a temporary captain with us. So he can’t be with us forever, he’s got to get back to the Enterprise at some point. So where does that leave Saru is the big question. We’re gonna find out. We’re gonna find out, I believe!
Behind the scenes on Kaminar
CBS also released a behind-the-scenes video from the filming of “The Sound of Thunder” with more commentary from Jones.
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.
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.