STLV19: Jason Isaacs Really Wants To Return To Star Trek As Prime Lorca

After Anson Mount, Star Trek: Discovery’s captain for the second season, held a solo panel at Star Trek Las Vegas (see earlier report), he was joined on stage by the first season captain, Jason Isaacs. The pair had fun comparing experiences and bonding over costume tightness. Isaacs also took some time to talk about his experience in season one and how he hopes there is more Lorca to come.

Isaacs ready to return to Star Trek any way, any how

In the first season of Star Trek: Discovery, the USS Discovery was led by Captain Gabriel Lorca, a no-nonsense leader who pushed the crew to their limit in the Klingon War and then into the Mirror Universe, which turned out to be his true home—and alas, that was where he met a grisly and fatal fate. At Star Trek Las Vegas, Isaacs talked about how he went into the job knowing the full story of Lorca’s one-season arc, but by the end, he was already feeling the loss:

I knew going in that I was doing just one season…It felt like a great thing to do and I felt fine about it, but as I got close to everyone and close to and understood the significance of Star Trek and the brilliant storytelling and what it means in the world, I felt the loss of that.

During the Q&A section of his time on stage, Isaacs was asked straight up if he would return to Star Trek as Lorca. The sardonic English actor started with a bit of mischief:

How do you know I am not already? [grin] Of course I would do it. I loved it!

Later Isaacs said that he has actually talked to producers about returning to Star Trek:

So, I have talked to them plenty. Where and when? Nobody ever dies. There is a Prime Lorca. There are three different shows coming out and multiple seasons, and if I can squeeze back into that eight year-old’s uniform, would do. Who wouldn’t want to do it again? They are timeless stories.

The Mirror Lorca in charge of the Discovery had replaced ‘Prime’ Lorca, whose ship was thrown into the Mirror Universe in the middle of a battle. It’s plausible Prime Lorca survived and could pop back into his home universe in the 23rd century. Add a bit of time travel and in theory, he could show up on Discovery or even Picard. Isaacs’ mention of different shows and different seasons shows he is aware it may be easier to slot Lorca into some shows more than others, possibly Short Treks or maybe the Section 31 series, which will presumably be set in the 23rd century.

As for how he sees Prime Lorca, Isaacs says he may not be that different than the Mirror Lorca he played in season one:

The point about the Mirror world that we built is it wasn’t meant to be how it was in “Mirror, Mirror.” This was meant to be a Darwinian universe, just with a different political attitude that the strong should rule the weak. I don’t think he would be that many miles away from Prime Lorca. It wasn’t a coincidence that I sneaked the line in: “Let’s make the Empire glorious again.” It’s about a different political attitude…I think Prime Lorca would be pretty much the same.

Jason Isaacs in episode 13 of season one, revealed as Mirror Lorca

Why being in Star Trek matters, and why he was afraid of the chair

Isaacs has talked in the past about how he was a Star Trek fan from a young age, watching The Original Series with his family. The veteran actor has had steady work for decades, but sees Star Trek as something special, especially now:

There is such divisiveness going on in the world, and then there is this story and this world that has been around for decades that continues to posit and hold up some notion of how we are better and we can do better and we need to do better. I was hoping we can honor that and celebrate that and be something beyond distracting you with the fabulous effects and lovely acting and the emotional presence of stuff, and actually gave people reason to have some hope or belief in the better power of human nature.

Isaacs says that taking on the role of Lorca gave him a sense of reverence for those who came before him and made him reluctant to sit in the captain’s chair on set:

I didn’t want to sit down in the chair. I said no initially to the part and not because I had something better to do. I thought it was fabulous and I didn’t want to walk in the giant boots that had come before me and be found wanting, particularly Patrick [Stewart] and Bill Shatner. When I saw the script and saw it was different than everything that had gone before and it was a single story, I thought  I could get my teeth around that as an actor. But I didn’t sit in the chair. I didn’t sit in the chair for three episodes or something. I walked up and down. My rationalization being: Lorca doesn’t want to be there, he thinks they are a bunch of idiotic hippies who got this crazy idea of equality, and he just wants to go home [to the Mirror Universe]. But really I just didn’t want to sit in the chair and have the pictures compare [to previous Star Trek captains].

This concern about being unfavorably compared to previous captains extended to his accent on the show. Isaacs confirmed when asked that he didn’t use his native accent due to Sir Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Jean-Luc Picard). He was also not able to be dissuaded from using a Southern accent:

Absolutely. I thought there’s been a definitively brilliant English captain before, why set myself up for a terrible comparison. I also thought there hadn’t been one with Southern twang before. Just before we started shooting [EP/Director] Akiva Goldsmith came to me and said we need to do a preview and “I hear a rumor you would like to do it a bit Southern, they are not crazy about that at CBS, why don’t you do one English, one Mid-Atlantic and one dealer’s choice.” [I said:] “Because Patrick Stewart was a genius, because I have flown over the Mid-Atlantic and they would sound extremely moist if they tried to speak, and because I’m doing it Southern.” And he said: “Alright, fuck it, I asked.”

Jason Isaacs as Captain Lorca in episode 4 of season one of Star Trek: Discovery

Isaacs impressed with season two, jealous over ready room upgrade

The actors had high praise for each other’s work. Mount was particularly impressed with Isaacs in the 2018 film The Death of Stalin. After poking a bit of fun at Mount, Isaacs revealed how he felt about his replacement on Discovery:

I have never seen you in anything [laughs]…The fact is, I did watch. I loved the second season of Discovery, much more than the season I was in. Not because it was better or different, but I didn’t need to be self-conscious about myself in that weird costume. But I did think to myself: “let’s see how he gets on…oh he’s really fucking good, so annoying.” But wait until it turns, it never turned. Just before it started people were like: “Bring back Lorca, Prime Lorca!” Then it was like: “Oh, Pike’s good, let’s have a Pike series.” You are so fickle!

Isaacs got more serious later, talking about how watching the second season made him nostalgic:

Normally when you do films or any project you are on location and some scenes you do with some people and some days you meet other actors who come in, but this is more like doing a play. It is the same people every day on the same set. It might look like we are traveling around the galaxy, but we are in a big green box in Toronto. So, you really get to know people well. I adore all the actors and I loved the fact that in the second season I got to see them all have their moments of glory and they will continue to have that. It was odd to see the show and miss my friends.

Isaacs also expressed a bit of jealousy over some of the changes in sets for the second season:

I don’t know if you noticed this, but if you were watching carefully they constructed a new thing. Alongside the bridge Lorca had a ready room, and it was a crappy little room and all the directors hated going in there, because it was nothing. You had a much better one. They were like: “let’s not do that again.”

Jason Isaacs and Anson Mount meet on stage at Star Trek Las Vegas 2019

A comedy duo in the making

Their time together on stage was the first time Jason Isaacs and Anson Mount had met in person, but they immediately showed chemistry, as well as having some fun with each other, with Isaacs clowning it up to Mount’s straight man. Jason broke the ice by bonding over the uniforms:

We have a lot of things to talk about, like how desperately uncomfortable that uniform is. It’s been a year and my balls have just dropped.

Isaacs revealed he stole his Star Trek: Discovery costume, saying he regretted not keeping any of his costumes from his time with the Harry Potter franchise. He joked he only uses his Starfleet uniform for “special nights.”

Isaacs had the crowd laughing most of his time on stage, with exchanges like this:

Fan question: If you could were flown far into the future like Discovery now is, and you could bring one person with you, who would it be and why?

Anson Mount: My wife.

Jason Isaacs: I’d bring Anson’s wife.

And when asked who would win in a fight between Lorca and Pike, Isaacs had some thoughts:

Well, Lorca would fight dirty, that is the thing. Pike is a very virtuous – I would say quasi-Mormon-like captain…There is nothing wrong with being “The Osmonds” of Starfleet. But, there is no Queensberry Rules with Lorca. Clearly, Anson could take me with his little finger, but Lorca would fight very dirty.

Jason Isaacs cracks up Anson Mount at Star Trek Las Vegas 2019

More STLV to come

The TrekMovie team was in Las Vegas to bring you all the news, so check back soon for more articles from the convention.  Check out all of our coverage on STLV.

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The character would probably be a good fit for the Section 31 series. Particularly as Mirror Lorca was one of Mirror Georgiou’s lieutenants.

I would suggest he is best forgotten as far as any of the other series go though. This is no indictment of Isaacs – I just don’t think the season 1 story was particularly good nor in line with the other series.

Prime Lorca would be an excellent fit for the Section 31 series. After all, the show already seems to be shaping up as Star Trek: Misfit Toys, so why not?

I could see Prime Lorca as a recurring character on S31 for sure.

They would need to come up with a way to get him back to the Prime Universe, but there is no reason to believe he would come back at the same time as he left, even if little time had passed in the MU. Or it could be that he’s in stasis or marooned somewhere and the S31 team pick him up.

It could be interesting to have MU Georgiou have to work with Prime Lorca.

It could also be interesting to have Georgiou return to the Mirror Universe on some kind of mission for Section 31, and she could meet Lorca while she’s there.

Prime Lorca isn’t a misfit. Starfleet would give him a new ship.

No, that would be Lower Decks.

We need a ‘Star Trek: The Lorca & Pike Lovestory’

L/P fan fiction?

Lol! YES!!!!!!!!😂

Or Star Trek Presents: Pike and Lorca

I would TOTALLY watch that show lol.

Wouldn’t that be a fantastic Short Trek next year? It would kind take the spotlight off of Culber and Stamets though, don’t you think?

“there’s been a definitively brilliant English captain before” but — he’s French, lol.

Nah, for an actor, he was English. Just us nerds think he was French. :-P

He meant the accent, and yes the actor is Brtish with a british accent.

I never understood why when they cast Patrick Stewart they didn’t just tweak the character and make the captain a Yorkshireman like he is.

Historically America doesn’t go for English heroes we play bad guys and that’s it usually due to the American war of independence. But the French had some positive influence on the war so they made him french

LOL Where did you come up with that? Yea, we sit around over here in the U.S. holding a grudge still for the War of Independence??? That is about the silliest thing I have read on the internet all year.

If someone can come up with MU circumstances for zapping him into the 31st century so that a crossover event can unite him with the crew, why not. His character was VERY MUCH cheated in the final act of S1.

The S31 series I would just as soon see scrapped after what we saw of them in STD S2.

Might be good. Like a Pike type leader trying to make s31 do more good than evil?

Not been the biggest fan of discovery but lurka for me was one of the highlights. I would love for him to return to season 3 as the new captain. It would be easy to do story wise he was never confirmed dead, he tried to transport himself back to the prime universe and accidentally returned but in the far future. It’s not like that is any less probable then what we saw in season 2.

Somebody make a buddy show out of these two, I don’t care if it is in the Star Trek universe or not, this needs to happen :))

Why is it the more I hear from Issacs the more I really don’t want him to ever return to Trek?

Because he threatens your masculinity?

If he were talking about Anson Mount, that might be more believable…..

Or Sonequa Martin-Green.

Because you are reactive and petty?

Why is it that the people who are the quickest to throw around the reactive and petty labels do it with little to no evidence it exists and tend to be the ones who are more likely to be that way themselves?

Well your question had no logic to it that I could see. Why ask the question then if you are not going to provide your context and thinking behind it? The question seemed moronic to me. Obviously you meant it more seriously than it came across. It came across as an emotional throw away. I nevertheless apologize for my response though.

Lorca is really well liked, and a lot of people want him to come back, so instead of asking us why you don’t ever want to see him, how about just tell us why you don’t like him?
to be honest, your first post sounded kind of condescending, so I think some people like the ones who like Lorca, are naturlly going to make those kinds of comments, you know?
also seems like you kind of wanted to get that response.

Agreed. So ML31 makes that post, which looks to us now like “negative click-bait” on Isaacs, but then acts like he’s this misunderstood intellectual who is unfairly getting picking on?

I think you are correct. He knew exactly how that remark was going to be received by some, and was ready with his “I am above all this” sarcastic retort…all part of the plan. :-)


You make and insulting and condescending response only because you did not like the comment and did you NOT expect to get a reply of some sort? Are you disappointed that I did not drop down to your level? Newsflash… Just because you personally don’t understand a post does not mean it qualifies as “negative click-bait” as you put it. I was making a legitimate comment regarding how I feel about Issacs whenever I see him speak or read his comments regarding his association with Star Trek. There was nothing more to it than that.

How about this… Instead of making foolish assumptions or insults how about asking to have something clarified? How about that instead of feigning surprise that someone might not appreciate being falsely accused of being “petty”?

OK. I wasn’t talking about Lorca. I was talking about Issacs. Saying I’d rather not see or hear from an actor is hardly condescending. That’s quite a leap on your end, Urban Turf I should think.

the thing about Lorca isn’t Lorca himself, but the fact that he was such a fascinating character but then TPTB decided to pull the rug out from under the audience by telling us, ‘no, he rally isn’t a layered fascinating and nuanced character. He’s just a cartoon mustache twirling one dimensional bad guy from opposite land.’

Seems like a no-brainer for the Section 31 series, right?

It was the script, the story, the start for Discovery….not Jason. He seems very down to earth, has a lot of respect for Star Trek, and he is a great actor. Same thing happen to Wesley.

That was a really funny and quick joke about Mount’s wife.
But I don’t understand how he and SMG and others can discuss how Discovery continued the Trek tradition of showing humanity at its best, most enlightened, and most tolerant. Discovery distanced all over that more than any other Star Trek series. Starfleet being against genocide (The last episode of the first season )is as close as they got, and that’s Not particularly impressive.iI think you can’t claim that legacy when your show doesn’t do it. You have to earn that.

The show is filled with messages and morals. It just doesn’t shy away and present humanity as ‘perfect’. Hell, the whole Ripper arc was just understanding the other and working through your fear of the Other and standing up for what is right, even when the chips are down.

That! It’s good old-fashioned Star Trek, minus the sugar.

i love that description of discoevry!

this is all so much fun. loved the lorca twist and that it was arced out from the beginning. i remember some fans thinking they made it up as they went along. he was really good but mount really stole the show. maybe season 3 will have a new awesome character who will die or leave and everyone will want them back too.

Season 2 had a character that seems to be about as universally loved as a character could get and had to leave. And fans are clammoring for a show centered around him!

I don’t know if you were around last year for this but during season one there were fans speculating Lorca was from the MU. I personally dismissed it because I could not believe that the show runners could do something so monumentally dumb. I mean, it was great just having a morally gray captain! He was the best thing about the show. And then he was the worst thing about the show.

didnt think it was dumb at all and i try to not over guess and read theories… i get the temptation but it’s more fun old school just watching without knowing too much and having fun… i saw theories after the fact… so many… naturally some are gonna be correct.

That’s great. But the point is even if I never heard the fan theories I would have never come up with ‘he’s from the MU’ because it was ridiculous. And when it was revealed I could not believe they actually did it! The entire season was a sinking ship and at that point it was entirely under water racing for the bottom of the ocean.

” The entire season was a sinking ship and at that point it was entirely under water racing for the bottom of the ocean.”

The Lorca MU twist was a huge middle finger into the face of fans who despite everything (Klingons) wanted to give Discovery a chance, as it devalued so much of what happened and was said in season 1 before the “reveal”. They managed to cheapen and ridicule not one but two explorations of PTSD (the other being Voqler), and as such it’s true what people say above, season 1 was hardly the Trek exploration of important issues that the actor makes it out to be now – it spat on those issues and half of its audience.

It really was a huge middle finger to viewers. With all the problems the show had from behind the scenes changes, to out of time and place production design to the bad writing and plotting, they did manage to make Lorca a truly fascinating character. And he became the sole reason to keep watching. I would have never dreamed he was from the MU because it was just monumentally idiotic. And I dismissed those theories for that reason. Why could we not have a morally gray captain? It was brilliant! But no. It wasn’t. Quite the opposite in fact.

“Why could we not have a morally gray captain?”

Totally agree, and in the early 2000s or even the 1990s we would have gotten it, but at this particular point in history, for these very carefully curated creators, we live in utterly black and white times. Now it’s “if you are not with us, you are against us” for the other side, so I suppose any messaging beyond “the Other is pure evil!!1” was not wanted (or “is” wanted, as per Isaacs above).

Maybe black and White in the U S but whole shades of grey overs here my friend

That’s because we are still upset over the War of Independence and it clouds our judgement.

I could tell from about the 4th ep that he was obviously from the MU. You missed a ton a fairly obvious clues. You may not like the writing or the plot twist, but it was the worst kept secret of Season 1 if you had been paying attention.

A short Trek about his time on USS DIscovery and how he arrived in the MU would be sufficient

He should either play a new character or someone connected to the Lorca line but from the 32nd Century.

a short trek of lorca meeting MU lorca would be pretty awesome… and see how it all went down

The two never met. They swapped places, just like Kirk and crew did with their mirror counterparts in Mirror, Mirror.

I would love to see Lorca kick Picard’s butt.

Picard is in his 90s. I would imagine that almost anyone could kick his butt at this point.

Have a thing about senior citizen bum fights, do you?

It’s the next big thing in entertainment.

Prime Lorca would go a LONG way to stoke my interest in a Section 31 show.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if, after Discovery saw Prime Georgiou give Mirror Lorca the spotlight, in Section 31 Mirror Georgiou ends up giving Prime Lorca the spotlight?

Let Lorca stay gone. Would much prefer a Pike Series instead

Lorca could be part of the Pike series.

Speaking for myself, I’d really rather we never ever hear from or about Lorca ever again. There should be no on screen reminders about that atrocious season 1.

TNG’s season 1 was much worse than Discovery’s, but they still kept bringing back Denise Crosby.

But what they did to Crosby wasn’t even close to the plot idiocy of making a potentially great character (and arguably the best reason to tune into the show the first half of the season) and decide, no, he really isn’t. He’s just one dimensional bad buy from opposite land.

And Discovery’s season one was ten times worse than TNG’s. The same would be true if you count Discovery’s first 25 episodes as their first season. It was still worse. I will admit that a LOT of that was due to two seasons of particularly bad season long story arcs they were locked into that TNG wasn’t. Had they had a better story and better writing they might have had something.

Exactly. Who’s to say that the Enterprise under Captain Pike’s command never bumped into Captain Lorca? Maybe a flashback episode from before the Klingon war with Pike and Mirror Lorca meeting. Or, maybe after escaping the MU, Lorca shows up on the Enterprise to help with some mission that his time in the MU made him an expert on. All I’m saying, is even with an Enterprise series with Pike, Number One, and Spock, it wouldn’t be hard to come up with a story that involves Captain Lorca.

Discovery Season 1 was really rough around the edges, but Captain Lorca was one of the more interesting characters of the season. It was to bad that instead of being a complicated character struggling to live up to the ideals of the Federation he was actually a silly comic book caricature of a villain the whole time. That twist hurt the character allot more then it helped endear him to fans. But if Prime Lorca is kind of like MU Lorca where he’s morally ambiguous at times from all the tough experiences he’s faced, and okay with colouring outside the lines to achieve the mission objective, but still an actual human being with feelings, internal conflicts, and a sense of right and wrong to keep him from going all super villain again, he’d be a fascinating character to learn more about.

They very well could eventually do a show with such a complicated captain. A LEGIT prime U complicated captain. It would have to be a different character, however. And given how close we are to Lorca it really can’t happen for a number of years down the road. But I for one would really like to see how that goes. Too bad it feels like that bridge was burned by the Discovery people. It will have to get rebuilt first now.

While Discovery season one was not the finest in ST history, it was by no means the worst, but Jason Isaacs was a gem the whole season through.
As for Lorca’s return- That would be easy:

Mirror Lorca was likely an operative of Sec. 31 from the beginning, (remember the sec. 31 agents in Discovery S1, ep.3?)but unbeknownst to the rogue Starfleet organization was Lorca’s true identity.
It’s quite possible that Prime Lorca was found among the Buran’s wreckage a broken man by Sect. 31. While deep down he believed that destroying his ship w/ all hands was the right thing to do, he can’t seem to live with the notion of being the death of his crew. As a result, he opts to remain Missing-In-Action, joining Sec. 31 as a field agent…

Meanwhile, Empress Georgio/Captain Georgio steals the Red Angel suit, confiscates it for Section 31, and uses it to travel back to the 22nd century where Sect. 31 detects a transmission from Georgio who asks to be picked up. Agent Lorca is sent to retrieve the unknown agent. Needless to say, there is a moment of tense confusion when the two meet face to face.

That’s just one way of pulling it off…

Prime Lorca wouldn’t be among the Buran’s wreckage. If he’s alive, he’s in the Mirror Universe somewhere. Possibly a prisoner of the Terran Empire or the rebels. It would be cool to see an episode of Section 31 where Georgiou has to go back to her home universe for some reason and meets up with Prime Lorca.

I still want to see Prime Lorca.

Yes please! I’m ready for more Lorca

Although I never cared if they brought Lorca back or not, I definitely be up for it if they did! And he’s right A. Its Star Trek where no one TRULY dies lol and B. They have so many shows coming up, they could certainly find a place for him if they wanted. Section 31 would be the most obvious choice (assuming it really is happening and back in the 23rd century) or he can show up on a Pike show if that happens one day as well. But yes he could even be in a Short Trek and show us who Prime Lorca really was. There are many possibilities.

For pete’s sake, they are bringing back Data, they can figure it out with Lorca too lol.

He could even be a regular on the S31 show. Kind of like the Starfleet liaison. I could imagine that would make this show more palpable for quite a few people. Just one “minor” issue left: Space Hitler. Lorca, and especially Prime Lorca, who could be more of a Jellico-like captain, would no doubt be the least problem in this show compared to our favorite genocidal maniac ;)

The only way such a thing MIGHT be palatable is if they confirm what Issacs said that Discovery MU was NOT the MU referred to in TOS, DS9 or STE. That it is not opposite land like every other incarnation. It’s just Darwinism-land taken to absurd extremes. But I’d still rather we never hear from Lorca again. It just feels like it would be best to close the door on that character the same way some other uncomfortable characters in the past have just been conveniently forgtten.

I don’t really know how that would be possible now since they literally connected this MU with the Defiant’s disappearance from the PU taken from Enterprise. I think that boat has sailed.

Like I said I don’t care either way if we saw Lorca again but sure if he showed up I wouldn’t have an issue with it, especially because this basically be a new character. It would be interesting to see how different he is, but its not a priority either.

The thing is, if Discovery MU is the same as the Defiant arrival MU then PU Lorca may very well not be a watchable character at all. It it is a different MU then all bets are off and prime Lorca might be OK. The thing is such a thing would be monumentally confusing to viewers I think. Especially since they did not make such a distinction in season 1 at all.

In the end it would probably be for the best to never deal with the Lorca character in any way ever again.

Jason Isaacs really wants money? surprised!

Are you Woodward or Bernstein?

Actors actually like working! Newsflash at 11.

I’m okay with that. Who’s to say he doesn’t show up sometime in the third season.

Oh, I bought my Disco tee shirt at the CBS store at the MGM Grand in Vegas today. Don’t want it to be said I don’t support my franchise.

Jason Isaacs was the best thing in Discovery’s first season. Once he was revealed as the moustache twirling villain and killed off the show lost all momentum and just limped to the end like a lame horse left out in the desert to die. The absence of that morally ambiguous but utterly fascinating captain from those first set of episodes cast a large shadow that was never truly removed until Anson Mount took over the center chair.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing a “Star Trek: Adventures” type show where you have two or three different crews and bounce back and forth between them. Give us Pike, Spock and No. 1 on some episodes; a restored Prime Lorca commanding a new ship with a new crew in a few more and maybe a third one as well.

I’d love to see them in some standalone stories instead of the season long arcs which ultimately always seem to prove klunky, collapse under the weight of their own continuity and have very little replay value.

Lorca > Pike

Regarding accents, before the show aired I was hoping for Isaacs to do a Liverpool accent. It is where he is from, after all. As Lorca turned out to be a villain though I’m glad he didn’t make that choice. On a related point, where are the English regional accents on Trek? The only one that I can think of is that blink and you miss him guy who got fried in Star Trek 09 during the sky jump.

I have a feeling he’s already back. That’s why you see Jason doing the circuit.