Wilson Cruz Sees ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 3 Themes As Prescient, Thinks It Will Be ‘Healing’

As reported yesterday, Star Trek: Discovery actor Wilson Cruz has been doing Instagram Livestreams to connect with fans.  He held one yesterday, this time joined remotely from New York by co-star Anthony Rapp. The pair talked about how the coronavirus lockdown is affecting them and answered fan questions, including some about Discovery.

They noted that they are doing what they can via social media to share the best information they can and help when they can. They took the time out to wish a fan happy birthday and offered advice on how people can keep their spirits up and cope. Anthony even did a little singing by request. Wilson shared that as he lives alone, reaching out with these chats has been helpful for him to cope with the isolation.

Disco cast hunkered down and safe

The pair started things off by relaying some info about the rest of the Discovery cast:

Wilson Cruz: We just got off a nice group Zoom with all of Star Trek: Discovery family. They send their love. Everyone is doing well, we are happy to report. They are all safe and hunkered down in their homes and in good spirits and thinking about all of us.

On a personal note, Rapp said that things in New York City are “really locked down” due to the sheer amount of cases in the city, but he and his fiancé were prepared and are stocked up. Rapp and boyfriend Ken Ithiphol were set to have their wedding in mid-August. Responding to a fan inquiry about his plans, Rapp said they were in a “holding pattern” and will decide by mid-May if they will stick with their original wedding plan.

Wilson Cruz and Anthony Rapp interact with fans on Instagram

Season 3 themes prescient to issues of today

In answering a fan question about balancing creativity and audience expectations, the pair got into talking about how their work can tie into events of the day, and how the upcoming season of Star Trek: Discovery has grown more relevant:

Anthony Rapp: Everything is political, whether it tries to or not, it is always making some sort of political statement. I am always reminded of Jonathan Larson who wrote Rent, he very intentionally was aware of the political messages in Rent and he leaned into that. Tony Kushner wrote Angels in America, incredibly aware of the political messages, and he leaned into that. I am not sure everyone is as aware of that and can be blind to it, but there is always something political. It is not like it should complicate or curtain a human story, but I think you should be aware of when you put something together what it presenting and what it is putting out in the world.

Wilson Cruz: I think in terms of when we are actually working, I don’t thing that is at the forefront of our minds. But when we are reading it, when it is being developed, the [Discovery] writers and producers have been amazing at taking our input. I think we take great pride in what we are trying to put out there. I am really excited – I was excited before the pandemic about people seeing season three – but I am even more excited about season three, just because of the themes involved and about how healing it can be for people to watch. It’s prescient. It’s going to be very interesting to see what the effects of it are.

David Ajala as Book; Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham in a preview image for Star Trek: Discovery season 3

Pivotal emotional season 2 moment was tied together, literally with rope

One fan question related to Cruz’ return to Star Trek: Discovery and Culber’s return from the dead in the season two episode “Saints of Imperfection,” and asked what it was like shooting the emotional scene when Culber and Stamets were reunited with the ship halfway jammed into the mycelial network. The pair talked about what a big deal it was to finally bring Culber back, but also how challenging it can be to deliver an emotional performance with the logistics of a sci-fi show.

Anthony Rapp: That episode was bananapants. It was a very chaotic environment on set. There was so much happening. We had to imagine, like when you watch it you see that line of mycelial network, but that is not really there. So, there were all the logistics of the camera could be, where we could be, when we were through that line, where it is dangerous – there was a lot of coverage, it was bananas. So, it was really challenging to maintain focus. But, thankfully I have this man [Cruz] to work with, who is one of the most focused people I have ever work with. So, we have that to hold on to, to carry us through. Also, Kirsten Beyer – who was the writer of that episode – has always been so supportive and collaborative on set. Every episode we do, the writer of that episode or one of the writers from the [writers’] room is on set to help make sure what the intention was is being done.

Wilson Cruz: The thing I remember most – yeah, there were so many emotional moments. There was a lot we needed to deal with in that episode. And I remember that moment…that scene we have to act as if not only what we are dealing with emotionally and with each other, but the fact that the ship is moving, and David [Barrett] the director wanted to us to seem we all moving in the same way. We were in the middle of that scene – that really beautiful emotional scene where I am telling you that you have to let me go and all of that – and I don’t want to have to think about all that jarring, so he tied us to ropes! We are doing the scene and he was literally tugging us, so we would move when he wanted us to move. That was not my favorite acting moment of my life.

Wilson Cruz as Culber; Anthony Rapp as Stamets in “Saints of Imperfection”

The third season of Star Trek: Discovery wrapped filming in February and is currently in post-production. It is set to be released sometime this year but no official premiere date has been set. You can watch the NYCC 2019 trailer below.


Star Trek: Discovery is available exclusively in the USA on CBS All Access. It airs in Canada on the CTV Sci-Fi Channel (formerly called Space) and streams on CraveTV. It is available on Netflix everywhere else. The cast and crew are currently shooting season three.

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

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ST has always had, and always should have (to some extent) underlying political messages. Much of art inevitably represents in some ways our cultural values. Not precisely sure how musicals with political messages relate, an odd analogy! Would love a 2-part musical in S4, though!

To some extent yes. There where no in Discovery yet, apart from SJW sperging behind the scenes ala “you don’t like DSC? you’re a homophobe! you don’t like burnham? you’re racist!1!11!” I bet if those writers ever put some political massages on screen it’ll be a childish desaster.

Is time to get better Discovery, first 2 seasons were bad, now is time to improve.

I’ll be waiting until the season is over and I’ve read all reviews to even consider checking out season 3…the first two seasons were bad enough to chase me away from this series until further notice.

I did think season 2 was much better than season 1 at least but yeah there were still some pretty bad areas, especially the entire Red Angel back story for me. Started off with so much promise and then deflated.

For the first half. Then oh boy.

Whatever crack you all are smoking please don’t share it. Discovery was great in both seasons.

I agree completely. Know by going to the future they can let loose creatively. I miss the days when we had many Star trek shows to choose from.

Nothing wrong with having an underlying political tone… Where appropriate. But I don’t think Trek ever had that. They dealt with morality or better yet, difficult choices. And the best episodes presented the situation to seem to be a damned if you do damned if you don’t type of things. The worst ones where ones where they had a blatant, in your face kind of message. Even if that message was something everyone would have no difficulty getting behind. Those episodes just didn’t work. So hearing this just doesn’t bode well for season 3. On the flip side, Stewart said Picard would have current day allegories and yet there is NONE of that in it. Unless it is buried so deep no one can see it…

There’s a difference between “political” and “partisan.” I think what people are reacting to nowadays is how many SF shows feel partisan. Doctor Who is a good example. Yes, it (and Trek) have always been political, but they historically kept it more in the abstract. They let us connect our own dots and come to our own conclusions. They gave us the seeds of a moral or social conflict, and often let us debate it ourselves after the episode ended. Nowadays it feels like shows often as not just pander to an obvious, existing agenda.

Rather than bringing people together, this approach splits them apart.

I can get behind this comment. When a show panders to an agenda it doesn’t help anyone. People have often wondered why people from differing views can all get behind Star Trek. Well the reason was because it did not pander to one side or the other originally while still giving cause to think about things.

Ummm…no. Star Trek has ALWAYS catered to a “liberal agenda” because a conservative view would have everyone gun toting, ignoring the poor while favoring the rich and being HIGHLY xenophobic. Maybe a good match for those conservatives who hate “liberal agendas” would be to petition for a show like Star Trek: Mirror Universe. I’m sure that would be more of your speed.

Wow… A perfect example of Star Trek’s IDIC ideals right there…. (eyeroll)

Are talking at me? I mean are you saying because I can perceive political bias, I must belong to one or the other political tribe? I hope you come to learn how this says so, so much more about you than it ever could about the person you’re talking about.

Trek has not always had a liberal bias. In fact I’m not sure Trek has really ever had a liberal bias. Even modern Trek. Some episodes portray outcomes that would fit a bias, sure. Others don’t. Some are occasionally conservative, but that’s rare, too. There’s also quite a few libertarian ideas floated in Trek. I mean you might be shocked to realize that The Offspring (the Lal episode) was, at the time, highly praised among libertarians and conservatives. Did you think that one was an example of “liberal bias?” A Private Little War is almost a straight-up endorsement of the US’s involvement in Vietnam, or at least an admission that it’s was a lesser evil.

How about when they sat back and let whole worlds or species die because “nature has a plan?” And they did that in more than one episode. Do you want to lay claim to that as a liberal ideology?

If Trek has a history of political bias at all, it’s of centrist moderation. Of not reaching right for your pet ideology to solve a problem but taking a look at the problem itself and deriving a solution that works. Yeah, of course, episode quality and consistency varied and you can certainly find one where our heroes let their religion do the talking for them (those aforementioned “nature has a plan” episodes come to mind). But by and large, Trek did not shove an ideology down our throats aside from the basic message that we can always do better, and we’re worthy of doing better, but it has to be us that does it. That’s just optimism for humanity and our future, and no political tribe owns that.

I kind of agree with this. One of the best episodes of DS9 “Duet” can be a great example for this. It showed the main idea it wanted to tell from both sides of the perspective and in the end it was up to the audience to reach their own results instead of going one way or the other. For me at least, Star Trek worked best like this when it showed a situation from different perspectives and asked us to come to a conclusion rather than blindly spelling it out for us.

Duet is a great example of how to do it right. I think it’s my favorite Trek episode of any series.

Agreed. Duet is the perfect example of how to do it and still one of the best Star Trek episodes ever done.

The showrunners are intent on fast-forwarding us through emotions as quickly as possible to get to the next nonsensical action plot twist (“OMG, Section 31 made the angel suit!”). The problem is that none of these emotional moments are earned. Culber isn’t a character, he’s a walking billboard. Them reuniting should have been this emotional moment but it wasn’t, because we barely know these characters. Same with Tyler and Burnham. The whole premise and production of the show is flawed. Instead of us slowly getting to know Airiam (or how about Bryce/Rhys, why is it just the women bridge officers who get development?), the show gave us FOUR mirror universe episodes in season 1. What a waste.

Airiam was so interesting and… poof! =(

One thing you can’t fault Kurtzman for is the timely political themes explored in his CBS Treks. Disco s1- this was about Brexit and mushrooms. Disco s2- this was about Brexit and killer robots and time crystals. Picard s1- this is about Brexit and killer robots and Giant Space Flowers. #StarBrex

These shows have absolutely zero to do with Brexit in any way, shape or form. This is probably the biggest reach I’ve ever seen.

Hopefully there’ll be more focus on Michael Burnham this season. She doesn’t get nearly enough attention.

Thanks Palizia! That gave me a VERY good laugh this morning as I sit her sheltered in place.

Be well, friend.

Oh noooo… a show is focusing on a main characterrrrr… It’s almost as if the show is about herrrr… Next you’ll complain that Kirk got too much screen time.

Actually, some of us preferred the 90s Trek series over TOS because they were true ensembles, with less emphasis on a single heroic captain.

Which is why the choice made to have a huge ensemble of very talented actors, but make everything centre on Burnham seemed bizarre to us.

Not to mention that it undermined the show with an excessive amount of small world syndrome and undermined Burnham’s representation as an African-American woman, by making her super special in every way. (Check out interviews with Avery Brooks on the topic of why it was essential for representation that Sisko was an ordinary human man raised in an ordinary family.)

And I’m speaking as someone who thinks SMG is a great actress, and really liked Burnham as a character up to the middle of season two.

Will be interesting to see what Discovery can bring to the table given engineered AI has been declared on par with organic life with respect to imagination, creativity, etc. Are there fewer Federation members because they are all locked away replaced by living starships that can beam down holograms and androids that can breath in space, super strength, etc? Or was Picard wrong, the AI life forms rebelled and/or went anti-exploration and the whole Federation had to fracture? Why haven’t the Borg evolved to a bunch of self improving engineered networked Datas?