Interview: Anthony Rapp On Stamets’ Future And “Powerful Completion” Of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 2

On Sunday the cast and creatives from Star Trek: Discovery held a panel at PaleyFest Los Angeles (see our recap). While there, TrekMovie had a chance to talk with actor Anthony Rapp about the spore drive, what’s next for Stamets, and how he sees the second season wrapping up, leading into season three. 

What is the deal with the spore drive? Is it still hurting the mycelial network? Is it fully functional?

My understanding is what was happening to the jahSepp was because of Culber’s presence in the mycelial network. That there was a kind of a “what’s happening?” when we would come through and a “what is that?” And then the damage that was being done is that Hugh was there and covering himself with the bark. So, it was a misunderstanding, as Trek does so many times when you think one thing is the problem and it turns out it is not the problem.  So, that is my understanding. Going through the mycelial network is not doing any harm, as long as we are not doing any of the things that Hugh was doing.

What about the harm to Stamets, wasn’t it driving him crazy in season one?

Well, I’m not sure. It’s an intense experience, but what was really intense in season one was the 135 jumps. That was crazy, to do 135 jumps was crazy. I think—I don’t know for sure—but my understanding is that doing individual jumps in a controlled situation, that in of itself is not a harmful thing.

Anthony Rapp in “Into the Forest I Go”

At the beginning of the season, Stamets had no purpose on the Discovery and was going to leave to go to Vulcan. Is that now resolved and Stamets is back on Team Discovery?

I think at this point in the story it is sort of like—not necessarily one foot in and one foot out, but not totally resolved perfectly. But, leaning towards more and more part of this crew again.

Are you bringing back some of season one gruff, especially when Stamets was dealing with [Jett Reno]? You got nice by the end of season one, but there is still some grouchy Stamets?

There is grouchy Stamets, but grouchy Stamets is only there when there is work to be done. Grouchy Stamets doesn’t suffer fools and waste time. So, it’s not like just randomly being mean to people. If you are interfering with my ability to do my job, I might get a little grouchy with you.

Anthony Rapp with Tig Notaro in “An Obol for Charon”

What can you say about the final four episodes and any wishes for season three?

What I can say about the final four is if we have done our job—based on what was on the page and based on the work we did on set—there should be hopefully a sense of powerful completion to all the stories and all the threads we have been carrying for these first two seasons. And then we are going to go—that will lead us into something really cool for season three.

Watch the video interview with Anthony Rapp

More from PaleyFest LA

In case you missed it, click here to see our previous reports and interviews from PaleyFest. And we have more red carpet interviews coming, so stay tuned.

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

No updates on where Jett is hiding?

She is out

Why do you say that? She could be ( hopefully WILL be ) appearing in further episodes as well as season 3 perhaps.

There’s been speculation that because we’ve seen all the scenes she has mentioned in the press she likely won’t appear again (this season).

That would have been the question to ask.

She said (previous article) that she offered to leave the series after 2 episodes as she had great difficulty learning the dialogue, particularly the technobabble and had to have visual prompts on set…

…but that Kurtzman’s response was to give her more.

So, it sounds as though more it will be.

“So, it sounds as though more it will be.”

That was also my understanding. In fact, it sounded like these 2 episodes are only the “appetizer”. Maybe she will be a regular and chief engineer in season 3?

Stamets and Culber are two special people.

Be careful what you say, Professor. Im not sure if “special” is on the blacklist already ;)

What the hell is that supposed to mean?

Stop making yourself a victim. You’re not.

I like this guy – actor and the character.

I like him too.

He’s starting to grow on me — I really didn’t like character or the acting in the first season.

He brings a quirky and edgy dimension to Trek.

He’s a first in terms of having a lead character that’s been pulled out of an academic research setting onto a starship.

We’ve always known the ship’s had boffins doing research somewhere on board, but they only surfaced in the occasional episode. They are engaged through the chief science and engineering officers, but mostly off-screen.

Given who the audience is it was past time to see a research scientist/engineer in a major role.

He’s put the hours in on watching the previous shows properly. As far as I know none of the rest of the cast have done that.

Yes that’s one of the things I like about him. I remember seeing reports of his tweets about his Trek marathons and getting really into DS9.

This is a slight tangent, but there are a few references to Trek familiarity among the cast.

Mary Chieffo is a fan of DS9. A quote of hers: “In those last three seasons, I got so caught up in the plot that I stopped just watching the Klingon-featured episodes, because I felt that it became extremely profound. I think it’s got so much nuance, and all the characters are so wonderful, and lovable, and the way that they really get to evolve and develop is wonderful. Of course, I have a soft spot for Odo. Then, I think about the great female Klingons on the show, and one of my favorites, Grilka, comes in.”

As for the rest of the cast, Anson Mount watched syndicated TOS as a child, Mary Wiseman says that she watched TNG with her family as a kid, and SMG has talked in interviews about her love for TOS. With regards to SMG, she recently stated that Journey to Babel (she called it “Tower of Babel”) was her fave episode, so I’m guessing she’s not a mega fan but definitely not a total noob.

That’s True. I think a lot of us have liked this cast mainly because there does seem to be a genuine chemistry. Chieffo is another who really does seem to have absorbed herself into the Trek world and Mount seems to be loving it too. Ken Mitchell is another one who seems to be a fan and seems to love being involved in the show even though he’s only had a handful of episodes and keeps getting killed off every season!

SMG: Do I really have to watch all these episodes?
Producer: At least watch this one it has Sarek and Amanda in it?
SMG: ???
Producer: Your character’s parents!
SMG: Okay fine. I will watch “Tower of Babel”. Good grief.
Producer: Journey …
SMG: Yeah, whatever.

Lol to be fair I can well imagine that would be an accurate conversation for many of them. One of my brothers is a huge Trek fan but he’s only managed to watch through TOS for the first time this year. By the end of it he’d got into it but it was hard work for him to begin with.

That’s hardly fair. While it’s kinda cool if some of the talent are fans, it’s not a prerequisite to get the job….

Oyin Oladjedo, who immigrated from Nigeria as a teen, remarked in an interview that when she was cast she started to watch Trek because she wanted to ‘get the voices’ of the show.

She felt fairly overwhelmed that there was more than 270 hours of Trek to catch up on. Someone advised her to focus on TOS to start as Discovery was set in a similar period.

I thought the story showed a lot of commitment – as well as her legal training to do be thorough in her research.

@Phil Nobody is suggesting that it’s mandatory that all the cast watch or even like Trek just, like you said, it’s kinda cool when they are into it.

I think it is east to forget that for these people it is just a job. As an actor they take on many roles. This is just one of them. It is unreasonable to expect them to dive in to the series and what even a fraction of the 270+ hours of television. I think it is great when they do, and I think more research is needed when you are playing an existing role like Spock. Too much is already known about him. Even given that, could any of us really see Leonard Nimoy (or Gene Rodenberry) Spock going through any of this that has happened on Discovery?.

I like how Pike is being portrayed, but we have no real idea how the character should act based on his appearances on TOS. He does have a medal named after him that Sisko received during the Dominion War, something Kirk does not even have, so he is a good and honorable Captain.

Absolutely Michael but when they do throw themselves in it almost makes them one of us! Also I totally agree on Pike.

The award didn’t exist when Kirk was Captain, or subsequently an Admiral.

He creeps me out. Seems like someone with a lot of hidden life. Nothing to base that on, just my perception.

I don’t like the spore drive and I wish it would go away, but I do like Stamets (and Anthony Rapp) so I hope that when the spore drive dies they find a way to keep him on the show.

Stamets is the key to the Spore Drive and one of the problems they have to solve to line up with canon is eliminating the technology from the future. I can’t help but feel the powerful and emotional ending they are alluding to involves a tragic end to Stamets which will help to end the viability of the tech. I don’t really think that will happen, but it’s been riding in the back of my mind all season. Of course there are plenty of other possibilities but that’s one that came to mind. I don’t think they’d change the premise of the show that dramatically, but the Spore Drive story seems to have run its course so getting rid of it wouldn’t be impossible. Either way, really looking forward to what’s next.

They made a big point out of bringing back Culber, in part because of his relationship with Stamets. Somehow I doubt that they would just kill off the other part of that pair after going through that trouble.

Sounds to me like they are planning a fresh direction for S3. Good idea.

To the Powers That Be (if you’re reading…)
Stametts was under-used this season. Give Anthony Rapp more dialogue, more involvement in season three, please!

And let’s see a Pike/Enterprise show, too.

No. I can’t stand any scenes with him or Hugh (the guy who plays Hugh is the worst actor ever in a Trek series). This is nothing about sexuality as I’m also gay! They’re just awful actors.

We all have our opinions. When Culber first showed in season 1 I instantly liked the character. I don’t know why. Both actors, I am forced to admit, seem to be much better actors than almost anyone from TNG save Stewart. For sure better than Sirtis who was the absolute worst actor ever in Trek, IMHO.

As another point of view, I felt that TNG was a solid ensemble, with each and every one of the 7 principal actors more than able to carry an episode focused on their characters.

On the other hand, the writers still weren’t all comfortable or able to write female officers well…which was why Face of the Enemy written by their then science consultant Naren Shankar was such a revelation.

Voyager on the other hand had the air of being too rushed in its casting. Paramount moved up its launch to be the flagship of its then new United Paramount Network UPN.

Beyond Kate Mulgrew as a late replacement in the captain’s role, the ensemble was much more varied in acting experience and credentials and didn’t seem to gel as an ensemble.

There definitely seemed to be a couple of the actors who were not up to carrying an individual episode, at least at the beginning of the series — and the contractually required ‘starting’ episodes for one of them were very painful in the first couple of seasons.

Funny that you bring up Voyager. An ensemble I felt worked FAR better than TNG ever did. I chalk a lot of the character and casting problems with GR himself, BTW. Every other show had more interesting characters and overall better acting as a group. It seemed like the other shows all learned from the mistakes of TNG.

I would argue that most of the actors in TNG were just badly miscast. As Burton and McFadden could certainly hold their own given parts that were a better fit. But let’s be honest… Marina Sirtis was just not a good actress whatsoever.

Just have to disagree with you on Sirtis.

She did a fine job when given something to work with.

She’s not an American style actor, and the accent she was asked to use was just odd, but not everyone needs to be either UK Shakespearean or Julliard. There are other schools of acting…

And she’s done well (and is under consideration Emmy nomination for a Web series) since.

To be fair pretty much everyone is “under consideration” for Emmys. Most of that is campaigning by studios and/or producers to help draw attention to their work.

TNG would not have suffered if the cast were just Picard, Riker, Crusher (Dr, not wonder kid), Worf and LaForge.

Probably true. The bulk of the best episodes were concept based rather than character based.

McFadden was horrible

Not a big fan of his acting either. He has that jealousy look on his face and comes off as a teenager whose feelings are all jumbled. I know that’s part of the story, but he doesn’t have a strong disposition, and wears his sexuality on his sleeve IMO.

Deadline is reporting that Rapp is involved in a new project.

And so is SMG according to other reports.

Yes certainly the actors need to be working during Discovery’s production hiatus…

But July is not far away…

What are the SMG reports? This sounds like a small indie film that Rapp has joined towards the end of the year so probably wouldn’t interfere with season 3. Obviously though I get where you’re going with this and I’m always down with engaging in outlandish speculation so I feel obliged to point out that it goes without saying that if this season was to offer a definitive end to Discovery’s story then they could have just put out the season 3 renewal as a red herring or to cover for another production.

The SMG reports are in Variety and Deadline.

I’ve seen the SMG reports now thanks FLB. I don’t think it’s necessarily a large role so I wouldn’t think it was a problem but you never know…

So? You’re implying something here that may not be anything more then in demand talent working more then one project. Nothing wrong with that.

Take a look at the Variety story Phil.

SMG’s film project looks to be major, and the summer 2021 release date with major animation post-production suggests the live action production will be happening winter of 2019-2020.

She also has a made for TV holiday movie that is starting production now that sounds more like filling in the hiatus.

Agree that Rapp’s friend’s indie project is also likely to fit in the hiatus.

Assuming a year in post, that would very roughly line up principle photography with a season three hiatus next year. Nothing to see here, folks.

@Phil I’m sure you’re right and that there is nothing to worry about here. However, given that we’ve been led to believe that there are some shocking developments heading our way in the season finale I think it was perfectly reasonable of TG47 to add this to the conversation. Nothing wrong with a bit of harmless conjecture, most of the comments we make on here are speculative.

Couple of things that I miss and I don’t see happening in discovery so far are 1) very less use of ship’s computer nobody seem to use it or interact with it or use its voice capability as much as we are used to see in star trek 2) the crew seem to work in silos many times bridge crew are not aware of or don’t care about what’s happening in engine room and vice versa. It is as if there are two separate events in two different places. They are all part of one ship hence engine room and bridge should know what’s happening. The best thing about earlier trek was anything important all senior officers are in one place. Here even if Stamets is suffering or Tilly is almost getting killed by an entity in engine room, the bridge and capt Pike is not interested and don’t even care to enquire. Disconnected crew within the same ship.

Having all of your senior officers in one place during an ‘event’ would be a tactical blunder of epic proportions.

They don’t need to be in the same place.

Data is remarking, I believe, that we don’t see, or aren’t shown, the kind of checking in between the bridge crew and others the way we were in other series.

Main engineering is offscreen, as is the CMO.

There are check ins when the Captain wants to proceed on orders, but there have been barriers to communications on more than one occasion.

Episode 9 was the first that I recall the captain asking for casualties and getting a report from tactical… something that was routine after any incident in TNG or Voyager.

The fact that all the characters (save for the Captain and Saru) seem to be below a department head who we have never seen bothers me for some reason. It’s fine they be at the level they are. But why are they the ones informing the Captain and not their superior? In 25 episodes we have never even heard the NAME of the chief engineer. The show creators didn’t want them to be top level so we can get a different perspective. Fine. But that doesn’t mean that department heads don’t exist. Yes, they are the main characters but it’s just not believable that the ship runs like it does without department heads. The show seems to want it both ways.

Agreed ML31.

I can’t understand why the CMO and Chief Engineer aren’t recurring characters. Both are people the chief science officer should be interacting and collaborating with.

I also agree with commentators elsewhere that Discovery has a strange lack of ship sets in comparison to other Trek shows or the Orville.

There seems to be a weird feedback loop wherein the sets don’t get built because the writers don’t insist on putting the spaces in, but then the writers are avoiding creating scenes in spaces that aren’t available. Or using spaces in strange ways…e.g. Hyper confidential conversations in the mess.

Tamara Deverell commented that the spore drive area was originally built at great cost as an armoury, and then was redressed when the original concept changed. Like what?

I think one of the first things they wanted to do when creating Discovery was to do away with everything that worked in previous series so they would be credited with new ideas, always wanting to inject their own creativity into something already established. That’s why they keep doing prequels. They’d rather recreate the past than continue the story that someone else created.

This guy gives me the creeps (the actor). I’m not quite sure exactly what it is. I wouldn’t get into any windowless vans with him, let’s put it that way.

This is the second “he’s creepy” comment from you in one thread with no basis of your opinion. He’s active on social media (posting when he and his husband vacation, his Broadway life, etc), he’s a well-known actor who has been in the business since he was a kid, an advocate and activist and all around nice guy (and a gamer). Is it the pale thing with fair hair that gets to you…?

Well, I’m not sure I’d get in a windowless van with you, either. If you’re ‘not sure’ what it is, smearing someone with no basis in fact is just a bad reflection on you. I can tell you why I don’t like Shatner, but I can back it up with public behaviors that paint him as self serving, as an example.

Uhm, Jo…

I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt that you don’t realize that this actor has called out the creepy and inappropriate advances that were made to him as a teenaged actor in a major hit Broadway musical.

Otherwise, it sounds like throwing shade on the victim rather than a perpetrator…

Personally he seems a competent actor (the only other thing I’ve seen him in is A Beautiful Mind, but it was a small part) and the character of Stamets is a decent one, but what I take from this interview is an actor who is uncertain about the trajectory of his own character, has tried really hard with what he’s been given and is very much looking forward to the show undergoing whatever change is about to happen. In short, to me he sounds pretty frustrated. Ymmv.

He’s great on-stage. He was great in School Ties, but I first saw him when I was a kid in Adventures in Babysitting. He was the super horny sorta annoying best friend that everyone had at some point.

Wow. Season 3.…