Interview: Doug Jones Talks New Saru And Shows His Reaction To ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season Two Finale

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 Doug Jones about the changes Saru has gone through during the second season and what they mean for his fut. 

Following Saru going through vahar’ai, how are you as an actor performing differently? Do you see the new Saru as a different character?

This has been a tough one for me, as I didn’t know this was coming. The writers surprised me with this evolution. So, I had so defined Saru as a fear-based species who has overcome it and is very prim, very proper, very respectful of authority, all those things. Now that I have no fear, that did change things up a little, but I didn’t want to make it overt. I want to play him still as a gentleman. He is still refined, he has manners. I don’t want him to lose that. That is part of his charm to me.

Is there a dark side to the new Saru, maybe a dangerous side?

A lot of fans have been speculating about this, saying, “I wonder what’s happening, what’s he capable of now?” Darker? No. But without fear—think of it, if any of us had no fear whatsoever, we’d have to keep ourselves in check, wouldn’t we? And me standing up to Captain Pike, like I did in an earlier episode, and last week I stood up to Captain Leland of Section 31, telling him: “You mess with my family, I mess with you” kind of a moment. Those are moments that Saru would not have had before. So that’s an evolution that’s okay, because he is doing it for the right reasons.

Doug Jones and Anson Mount in  “The Sound of Thunder”

What can you tell us about the final four episodes?

From my perspective, when I read the scripts and when I played in them and saw where we were headed and where the story was going all I could do is [agape and mouthing “Oh my god!”]. Right? That’s all I can say.

With Anson Mount not part of season three, are you ready as an actor, and is Saru ready as a character to step into the captain’s chair? Or are we expecting another captain?

I have no idea, honestly. We knew that Captain Pike—played beautifully by Anson Mount, I think he is such a gorgeous job with that role—we knew that was going to be temporary because we borrowed him from the Enterprise. So, that can’t go on forever, we knew that. But now what happens with the open captain’s chair when he goes back to the Enterprise. It’s anyone’s guess because Michael Burnham also has Commander status again, and Saru has Commander status, but I am first officer. But she has been the one to save the day all the time, and Saru is well aware of that. And Michael Burnham and Saru have been through an awful lot this year. We have an understanding and respect and our brother/sister-type surrogate relationship is even deeper than ever before. So, we both want to see the other succeed. So, I am not going to elbow her out for the captain’s chair if I feel she deserves it, and she is not going to do that to me either. So, it’s anyone’s guess as to who gets the captain’s chair next. I don’t know.

Doug Jones started off season two in the captain’s chair in “Brother”

What would you like to explore with Saru in season three?

I would like Saru to find a balance with his newfound freedom. Because he is like a teenager now, who is exploring out of the house for the first time. No fear. “Woah!” So, I want to see him hone that in the right, respectful direction. I also wouldn’t mind him finding love along the way, whatever species that looks like or whatever form that comes in. Because I may or may not be able to get back to my home planet again. We don’t know. If I had a love life, would it be with another Kelpien or would it be with another species? Let’s see what works.

Are we going to get an update on your home planet after your revolution? Are the Kelpiens eating all the Ba’ul?

No, no, because we are part of the new Balance now. We are finding a peaceful solution for the Ba’ul and Kelpien relationship. I believe we will circle back for a second to find out what happened there. I think we’re fine. 

Watch the full video interview with Doug Jones

More from PaleyFest LA

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

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

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When is the series finale? My CBS All Access subscription ends on April 1. I might renew it to watch The Twilight Zone and that’s it. I will stick with CBS until May. I want to watch Game of Thrones on HBO after I’m done binge watching Star Trek: Discovery. Winter is coming boys and girls!

The finale of season 2 (episode 14) will be released on April 18, 2019

Which is why I started January 19th. So I can cancel right after I watch the finale. TZ or no TZ.

You’re such a bad boy 😄

I don’t understand why you would cancel? It’s like 4 bucks a month……There is plenty of stuff to watch on CBSAA. 4 bucks.

It’s 10 bucks, not 4 and there is nothing on CBSAA besides Trek that would make me subscribe. I’ll check out TZ. But that is not enough to keep me subscribed. I’ll catch the episodes I didn’t see when I re-up for the Picard Show. HBO has more, better programming than CBS ever will. And I’m not paying for it, either.

Compared to every major streaming platform out there, CBSAA’s offerings are abysmal. My opinion, of course, but Netflix at $12 – endless programming, Amazon Prime at $10, endless, Hulu at $14…and the list goes on. And here comes Disney Plus, which will cost about what CBSAA does and will offer as much or more in content than those I’ve listed. And CBS has Trek, TZ and…um, good luck.

Danpaine have you heard that Apple has their own streaming platform called Apple TV +. That looks terrible. I hate iPhones and Apple in general. Google is better. Android is better than iPhone. I pay $16 for Netflix and $9.99 for Hulu and Spotify Premium. Of course I will sign up for Disney Plus. I don’t have Amazon Prime anymore. CBS needs more original content other than Star Trek to survive. The Twilight Zone is a good sign of things to come for CBS.

Chris I pay $10 a month for CBS All Access because I hate the commercials. The one you’re talking about has advertisements. I might renew my subscription if I can.

Supposed to be $9.99, but then taxes ,of course, bring it to $11.31. I too don’t like commercials. I enjoy shows on CBSAA, as some nights my guys watch wrestling, so I can’t watch these that are on those nights lol

ML31 I’ve been watching Star Trek: Discovery since the beginning. I will watch season 3.

I catch Game of Thrones on Netflix about a year after it airs on HBO.

ML31 Game of Thrones is not on Netflix. You can watch Game of Thrones on the HBO app anytime.

I get Game of Thrones through my Netflix subscription. Season 7 is available now and in my cue. I can move it to the top but I can wait a bit. Why pay for HBO when everything they have makes its way to Netflix within a year? I recently finished off season 5 of Silicon Valley through Netflix.

…already have a Game of Thrones season premiere party lined up. HBO NOW is one channel I very happily pay $15 a month for all year-round. Worth every dime, imo, their content and library are fantastic.

Danpaine the final season. Season 8.

Never seen Game of Thrones. I never liked fantasy.

Yes, because STAR TREK is real…

A34 you need to watch Game of Thrones. It is so good. Way better than Harry Potter and most fantasy shows in general.

Saru is my favorite Star Trek: Discovery character thus far. He deserves to be captain on his own ship. Good leadership and relatable. Saru has changed a lot since we first met him in season 1. He’s not afraid anymore.

I’ve really appreciated that Saru’s been shown doing some of the officer management and development that is very much part of the first officer’s role.

One thing : Doug Jones sincerely seems to think the door is open for either Burnham or Saru to be promoted to captain in season 3.

Which suggests that the upcoming finale will leave next season’s scenario as up in the air as much as did season 1’s.

ICYMI, Doug was in last night’s series premiere of What We Do in the Shadows, the FX comedy series based on Jemaine Clement’s loopy 2015 mockumentary of the same name. I won’t spoil the part that Doug played; let’s just say he was hilarious and leave it at that.

Saru is easily one of the most compelling and layered characters Trek has come up with in a couple of decades, ably acted by Doug Jones, whose resume is off the charts. He should be put in the captain’s chair way before the mutineer…

I like Saru; I think he’s evolved quite a bit as a character from his Sheldon Cooper-esque early days in season 1 when he was afraid of everyone and everything. That said, I think he works better as a character when he is not in the captain’s chair as his strengths seem to lie elsewhere.

Personally, I’d like to see somebody completely new in the captain’s chair; having that wildcard will keep things interesting, less predictable and all the other characters on their toes.

I’d also like to see Discovery turn into more of a true ensemble show where everyone is an equal partner and not every problem is centered on or solved by Burnham. I get that she is the de-facto star of the show but the reality is that as written she is one of the least interesting or relatable characters and it seems many fans have already latched onto and identify more with other regulars.

I think Discovery will jump out of the universe (or time) it’s known till now.

Does anyone remember Fringe Season 5? How the show completely departed from everything it had been and was very different from previous seasons?

My guess is it’ll be something like that.

There has always been a thing that has bugged me from Berman Trek forward: the use of apostrophes to make words look alien. In transliterating other languages, an apostrophe indicates a glottal stop. So Ba’ul works with the apostrophe, but with Vahar’ai, given how the actors pronounced it, the apostrophe is just incorrect.

Is Mr. Jones giving us a hidden signal by dressing in garb reminiscent of a red shirt?