Jason Isaacs Takes “The Fifth” On Lorca In ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,’ Hints Writers Could Make It Work

On Saturday, Dragon Con Goes Virtual streamed a prerecorded panel featuring actors from Star Trek: Discovery. Included on the panel were Jason Isaacs, who played Captain Gabriel Lorca in season one, and Mary Chieffo, who played L’Rell in seasons one and two. Both addressed the question on if they could be returning to Star Trek in the future.

Isaacs on how Lorca could return

When a fan asked if Lorca could return in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, or perhaps on the Section 31 show or Short Treks, Jason Isaacs cryptically decided to dodge the question:

Taking the fifth. The whole point of having a story told to you is that you don’t know what’s in the story. It’s like asking when someone is going to tell you a joke: “Give me the punchline and I’ll make my mind up.”

Since wrapping production on the first season of Discovery, Isaacs has made it no secret that he would like to return to Star Trek. As recently as June, Isaacs hinted on a podcast at the possibility of him returning to play Prime Lorca, the counterpart to his season one Captain Lorca character who was revealed to be from the Mirror Universe.

Jason Isaacs shared this photo with the season one Discovery cast on Twitter in early 2018

If Prime Lorca were to show up again, a logical place for him to appear would be on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, the show set on Captain Pike’s Enterprise shortly after Discovery season 2. In the months since our previous report on that podcast interview, it has been revealed that writing on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is underway, and the show is now set to go into production in 2021.

During that June podcast, Isaacs said “we talk” in reference to the people behind Star Trek. And on the Dragon Con Panel on Saturday—and entirely unprompted—he heaped praise on the Star Trek writers and suggested that if they bring Lorca back, they will do it right:

When Discovery first came out, there was a lot of reticence with fans. Understandably people were protective of this legacy of extraordinary stories. There was some doubts that the people writing it really knew all about Star Trek, and that doubt must be gone now. Because all this stuff, like ‘How are they going to focus? How is discovery? How does the spore drive ever gonna figure?’ They dealt with it. They’ve now gone to the future. That’s why there is no record of them. All of the questions are answered. There are people in the room, however geeky you think you are and whatever minutae you think you can sit up all night discussing, they can do it to the power of 100 in the room.

And if they do bring back Lorca, or anyone else, it’ll never be token. They take it more seriously than you could possibly imagine. Making sure that honors the legacy and gives them license to invent new and great stories. So I presume those voices have been quieted now, although we don’t want to stop the fans talking. But the notion that there aren’t real Star Trek fans and people who really understand every word that’s ever been spoken in uniform in the room is clearly nonsense by now.

Jason Isaacs as Captain Gabriel Lorca in “Lethe”

Chieffo hopes L’Rell returns too

During yesterday’s Dragon Con panel, Mary Chieffo answered the same question about returning to Star Trek as Klingon Chancellor L’Rell, saying she “would love that,” echoing sentiments she made on Instagram in July. During the panel she also talked about the fan feedback she has been getting on social media about a potential return:

I really do appreciate it. I’ve really felt a lot of love and support on Twitter and Instagram and just all social media that people do want to see more of L’Rell or me in general. And that means a lot. I know fans are watching and I can’t say enough how much that means to me. So if it can happen, I hope it does.

While Chieffo did appear in the season two finale of Star Trek: Discovery, she and her fellow Klingons stayed behind in the 23rd century as the Discovery crew jumped into the far future. When later pressed on if she might have a role on Strange New Worlds, Chieffo indicated there is no news yet:

I don’t have any information for you because I don’t have any information. But I guess all I can say is that I would love it, it would be an honor to return in any shape or form.

Mary Chieffo as L’Rell in Star Trek: Discovery season 2

More Strange New Worlds news coming on Star Trek Day

On Tuesday, September 8th CBS is planning a series of streaming panels to celebrate Star Trek Day. One of those will be for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and feature the stars and writer/producers for the show.

TrekMovie will be providing updates all day with news and releases coming out of the CBS Star Trek Day event.

Keep up with all the news and analysis of the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com.

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Prime Lorca and Captain Pike. I could see them as friends.

Isaacs had problems with people on the set. I don’t think we’ll ever seen him again on Star Trek.


Who told you that?

I work in the TV industry. As such, I can’t say who told me that, or else I’d be getting two people in trouble. You might see that as reason not to believe it, but I honestly don’t care. It’s not like I know anyone in this comment section, so I don’t care who does or doesn’t believe it–likewise, I have no reason to lie about it. But I know it to be true. If you disbelieve it, that’s fine. It makes no difference to me.

Who did he have problems with?

Not buying it

Don’t care.

Rubbish. It was an absolute love fest between cast and crew. It’s reflected in all of their interviews, podcasts, videos, photos and, from personal experience, on the convention circuit – they love him and he loves them. When discussing the fired show runners, both him and Sonequa mentioned at DST 2018, unprompted, that as actors they didn’t witness anything wrong back stage

Not rubbish. Fact.

How do you square this rumor with the photo above (“Bring Back Prime Lorca,” with pretty much all the cast posting with him, and the affable nature Isaacs seems to have with his co-stars at conventions? While backstage drama can be papered over, it does seem that he’s going above and beyond to hang out with the crew in a way that (say) Takei and Shatner, or Mulgrew and Ryan, never did.

True. Go away, rumor mongers! Very much looking forward to / hoping to see Prime Lorca!

He won’t be back.

The same was said about Anson Mount butting heads with a director. Total BS.

Not BS at all. Fact.

Not here to doubt the info or pledge to believe it. Not even here to care about such minutiae.
BUT “Why would I lie” is a question I might be able to theorize about. There are plenty of folks that are working hard on spreading misinformation or searching for it to spread it further to then bank on fake outrage and clickbaiting people by stirring up hatred. I am not naming names here, you know probably which personas I am writing about.
I am not accusing you of anything. Just … “Why would I lie” is just not a strong argument nowadays. Unfortunately.

I am not one of those people. I am a major fan of Lorca, Isaacs, Discovery, and all the current Trek shows, and I’ve never been one of the haters here. I’d love to see him come back, as he was one of the best things about season one. But I know he won’t be.

Let’s not get into rumors and gossip. CLOSED.

I wish they would just write a new character for Chieffo to play. She’s so vibrant in interviews — the writers should take advantage of it.

As for Isaacs, yes, please.

I’d be happy to have Chieffo back either way.

I agree though that there is no need to limit her to L’Rell. Suzie Plakson played a Vulcan and a half-Klingon, but we haven’t had a female actor who’s covered numerous roles in Coombes fashion.

Chieffo has already shown she can act through the makeup: L’Rell is so different from her off-screen personality.

In the meantime, a Klingon-focused Short Trek would be welcome.

Plakson played not quite as much as Combs, but to her credit she also played a Q and an Andorian.

But if we include TAS I belive Majel will beat Combs for most parts anyway.

Yeah she’s done four different roles, most just happen to be one offs unlike Combs who played Weyoun and Shran through out the shows he was in. But she was great and loved her as an Andorian. I was hoping she would be a recurring character like Shran was.

You guys seem to be forgetting Vaughn Armstrong who I believe holds the record at playing 12 different characters if I remember correctly.

Not forgetting him at all. I was only talking about Plakson since she was being discussed But yes he definitely holds the record for characters.

It is amazing in general how many actors made careers just playing different Trek characters over the years

Mary Chieffo should be a new Jeffrey Combs for Trek. Her presence on screen is undeniable, she puts in the work, and she’s amazing with fans.

Absolutely. It would be criminal not to find a way to keep her around long-term.

While I like the idea, I don’t want Strange New Worlds picking up on the threads Discovery left behind. They need to forge their own way.

I tend to agree, even though I enjoy DSC. SNW DESERVES to forge its own way.

SNW needs Lorca and Mother.

Strange New Worlds would be nothing without Discovery.

Entirely untrue. It’s based on The Cage, not Discovery.

Seems to me that at this point, it’s based on both.

Well they can, but L’Rell is the Klingon Chancellor, so her character already has a big influence if Klingons are ever shown on the show. And I would love to see her back.

Lorca isn’t necessary at all but he was popular, at least to some of the fans. So I can see him coming back, even if its just for an episode or two.

Ugh. Lorca and the sewer rat “Klingons” from Discovery were awful. Please no more Lorca. Kurtzman et al. at least acknowledged that their Klingon redesign was a disaster and undid it.

As others are saying, find a non-Klingon role for Mary Chieffo and reintroduce her on Strange New Worlds as a new character.

I loved the Klingon designs from S1. They were clearly based on designs from the aborted TOS reboots in the 1970s (as was the Discovery ship design). They were way better than the TNG designs. It’s a shame so many fans have such delicate sensibilities about change/improvement. Hell, if it were up to the most vocal fans, the USS Discovery would have had CRT monitors and other 60s-era tech because “canon” blah blah blah

What does CRT stand for? And yes, a Discovery that looked reasonably like the TOS Enterprise would have been a vast improvement.

The Klingon designs are obviously a matter of taste. The Klingons of the TNG era are iconic now, and seem to be what many people like given that Kurtzman et al. rapidly tried to convert their orc-Klingons into something more recognizable from classic Trek.

CRT = Cathode Ray Tube; i.e., an old-style TV monitor. Not LED not plasma.

Thanks, Marja.

Lorca on Strange New Worlds does make a lot of sense. I can see that happening.

I wasn’t thrilled about Lorca on Discovery but he’s a wonderful guy.

Strange New Worlds should be independent from Discovery. It must forge its own path.

I agree, but I imagine it will be like a TNG/DS9 type of thing where you will see some of the DIS characters cross over because they take place (or use to ;)) in the same time period. Unless SNW is pulling a Voyager and in a very different part of space I wouldn’t be shocked to see a few characters from Discovery showing up.

I think it’s possible that it will be in a very different part of space. It’s supposed to be an exploratory vessel, even moreso than the Kirk-era Enterprise, and the title basically promises it.

Yeah I agree SNW and Discovery could connect once in awhile.

Make Lorca the Captain of the Enterprise.

They’ve got a guy for that. A considerably better one. But I do like the idea of Prime Lorca showing up; Isaacs is good enough that that needs to happen, if not in SNW then somewhere.

That makes NO sense. The Enterprise’s captains are all known, in order: April, Pike, Kirk, Decker, Kirk again, Spock, Kirk once more. There’s no room in the timeline for Lorca to have been the captain, as we know how long Pike was in command, bringing his captaincy up to the beginning of Kirk’s.

Isaacs is still one the Trek payroll. He’s coming back.

He hasn’t been on the payroll since season one. That’s not how TV works–you don’t pay an actor without using him for a whole season.

Don’t feed the troll.

Bringing Lorca back is strictly optional and I guess how much they think he can fit into the stories in SNW and/or Section 31 if that’s based in the 23rd century. It’s not a necessity obviously but it would probably be easy to bring him back if they want.

With Chiefo though, to me that just seems obvious since L’rell is the Klingon Chancellor and they been very important in past Trek shows and films.No she doesn’t HAVE to be there but it would seem like a natural fit to see her from time to time at least.


Trek has a history of actors also playing their ancestors or other family members. I think Isaacs could come back as an ancestor of Lorca in Discovery.

I think you mean “descendant.”

Oh yeah, sorry. I was posting that late at night.

More Jason, yes- Make Star Trek Great Again Again.

The standout character in the first season of DISCO, but shouldn’t be forced back in.

I’d love to see Prime Lorca, battered after years in the MU, come back to the Prime Universe and remember how to fit in, how to do things the Starfleet way.

One dealing with PTSD, having gone through therapy but sometimes still having to use therapeutic tools to get through the day.

I’d love to see him on Strange New Worlds, a captain who can team up with Pike, who may have a friendly rivalry with him, even friendly arguments, who does things differently. A good captain, but different.

This would be awesome.
Also would be cool to have him come aboard the Enterprise as part of his rehabilitation (and dealing with an obvious grudge against both the Klingons capturing 25% of Federation space and the MU).
He could be the Kirk to Pike’s April (Diane Duanes Final Frontier) having a more militaristic bent (keeping some of what was cool about Lorca in Discovery but not over the the top).

Lorca could easily get his own series post SNW, or parallel to it – or even set in Kirk Era. It could be a good reason to even have the two meet. The first two to come back.

the notion that there aren’t real Star Trek fans and people who really understand every word that’s ever been spoken in uniform in the room is clearly nonsense by now.” It was always nonsense.

There are no such things as real or non-real fans.

This seems to be a story that isn’t going away.

This writer, however, has no desire whatsoever to see a return of Lorca to SNW. If Issacs want’s to return let it be a brand new character. But honestly, I’d rather he just steer clear of Trek completely. I consider Trek better without him.

I’m looking forward to this new series.
I liked Discovery, but it strayed far from Star Trek’s original optimism for the future. We need more enthusiasm, and positive energy these days. I say bring it on!

Ahem, no, just no. Yes, they dealt with the issues and wiped Discovery from the prime timeline (at least sort of), but that still does not explain everything they messed up in the first place. It just doesn’t.

And it doesn’t make the characters more likeable, either. But that’s subjective.

I’m with you. Best to not dredge up anything reminiscent of the tire fire that was STD. Bringing in Lorca will just conjure up bad memories.

I hope to see cardassians