Doug Jones And David Benjamin Tomlinson Talk ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 3 Hints And Season 4 Prep

The third season of Discovery just premiered, but the cast is already about to begin production on season four. At last weekend’s Virtual Trek Con 2, actors Doug Jones (Saru) and David Benjamin Tomlinson (Linus, Cosmo, and others) talked about both.

More Linus and Kelpien singing in season three

The panel with the two Discovery actors who spend the most time in the makeup trailer was wide-ranging. It started off with David Benjamin Tomlinson talking about playing the Book’s rival courier Cosmo Trait, filming in Iceland, and the “bonkers” alien language lines he had to learn to play the Betelgeusian. He also confirmed that he worked with famed Star Trek linguist Marc Okrand on the alien language, who would coach him on Skype during his ADR sessions. “He was incredibly supportive, incredibly good to work with, and very patient,” Tomlinson reported.

David Benjamin Tomlinson as Cosmo in Star Trek: Discovery

David Benjamin Tomlinson as Cosmo Traitt in “That Hope is You, Part 1”

Jones dropped a season three hint as he also talked about working with Okrand on Discovery:

[Marc] is the one who helped me with my Kelpien as well. A brilliant man. Good gosh. He is creating these languages as we need them… He and I had a funny exchange when I had to sing in Kelpien for Airiam’s funeral—and you might hear Saru sing again in season three at some point. [winks]

Tomlinson is probably best known to fans as Linus, the Saurian on the Discovery. He confirmed Linus will be more prominent: “We will be seeing a little more Linus this season.”

Jones also weighed in on Linus:

I love Linus so much. I am so envious David gets to play him, but I can’t imagine anyone doing a better job. I wouldn’t come close. Whenever he is on screen it’s always good for a laugh and is a light-hearted moment. And he is so adorable, you just want to pet him. I love Linus.

Tomlinson picked up on that, giving his view on the character’s appeal:

The thing about Linus is, he is a bit awkward, but he is completely comfortable in his awkwardness. He doesn’t’ feel weird about it. He likes what he likes. No apologies.

David Benjamin Tomlinson as Linus in “Through the Valley of Shadows”

Bold storytelling and future tech in season three

The pair also talked about Discovery jumping into the future. Tomlinson discussed how this has freed up the writing:

I think it is an opportunity for the writers to just let their imaginations go wild and conceive new and exciting things… It’s a huge creative opportunity for some bold storytelling and they’ve totally stepped up to the plate and delivered this season.

Jones picked up on that to talk about how the show is beyond canon:

And they can step outside the confines of canon and keep continuing to create canon from this point forward. That’s been very liberating for the writers, I do believe.

He also got into how some elements of this jump into the future manifest on the show:

We do have new sets. We do have new places to explore, new people to meet. That was the newness of season three… We have to adjust to technology. We have jumped 930 years forward. Technology has evolved and we are finding out about it step-by-step and going, “Whoa, you can do that now?”

After some discussion with the panel hosts about the season premiere and some of this new technology, Jones added some more detail:

What you are talking about is programmable matter. That is something you will see more of in season three, for sure.

Programmable matter on Book’s ship from “That Hope Is You, Part 1”

Fewer people on set for season four production

Doug Jones also briefly talked about the upcoming production on season four and some of the new COVID protocols:

I feel we are blessed to be back at work at all. November second, cameras are going to roll. The preparation for all of us Americans in the cast had to return here [to Toronto] for enough time to quarantine for fourteen days, by the Canadian government standards. I’ve already had two COVID tests since I have been here. We are going to be COVID tested three times a week while in production. The departmentalization of everything on set, there are going to be different department bubbles and much less intermingling with fewer people on set. And maybe a shorter workday as well. We aren’t sure how this is going to go. It feels like a big COVID dance and we are going to throw some filming in just to make a show while we are at it. [laughs]

Watch the full panel


New episodes of Star Trek: Discovery premiere on Thursdays on CBS All Access in the U.S. and on CTV Sci-Fi Channel in Canada, where it’s also available to stream on Crave. Episodes will be available on Fridays internationally on Netflix.

Keep up with all the news and reviews from the new Star Trek Universe on TV at TrekMovie.com.

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Season 4 is ramping up production in Canada. Following guidelines and quarantine. Saru and Linus are cool characters.

America is going through a second wave of COVID by the look of it. Winter is coming and flu season is around the corner. Well, a vaccine can’t come any sooner.

We’re not in a second wave. Our first wave is a tsunami that’s still growing and going strong today.

I love the trend of giving aliens human names. Linus the Saurian and Jennifer the Andorian.

I’m not crazy about it, especially when the names are so Anglo-American.

It seems to fly directly in the face of Star Trek’s values of embracing and celebrating diversity.

If the human characters had alien or even a broader range of human names, I’d be more inclined to be amused.

As it is, it comes off as an Anglo-American assimilation or melting pot phenomenon.

I fully agree. Linus isn’t even a humanoid. Give him a fun, new creative name.

I hear what you’re saying but I think it’s cute. And I’m guessing he’s a big exception. We know its more of a joke. This very alien creature with such a boring human name. Most people are not even named Linus today lol.

I didn’t mind it for Linus, but the very boring (to me) names in Lower Decks makes me feeling that this is very much going in the wrong direction.

I love Lower Decks, but that’s sincerely a negative that I’d like to see turned around in season two.

Well LDS it’s probably just seen as one looooong joke lol. But yeah I agree they probably over do it with the names there. I also think this all speaks to how ‘contemporary’ these new Trek shows feel in general. They all sound like they are speaking in the 21st century with the common slang, how they curse, etc. Not a HUGE deal but probably all a symptom of the same problem.

Well, I’ll put it out there:

those of us whose ancestors had their names anglicized at Pier 21 when landing in Canada (oe Staten Island in the US), or worse had their ethnic names rejected by birth registrars find this uncomfortable rather than funny.

Canada’s made a lot of progress on this, but it’s not more than a generation ago that Eastern European and Asian names were an issue in the workplace. In fact, in my workplace we blind out names in hiring processes to avoid unconscious bias.

So, while it’s a practical issue if your audience sees that people with diverse names aren’t making it in the Federation, it also seems offside of Trek’s brand and values.

By the way, the reason it seems ok for Linus is that his Saurian name would be unpronoucable by humans, and he would have chosen Linus as either an analogue or something he just liked.

Dude you’re talking to an American black guy who I’m 100% sure my ancestors didn’t originally have names like Fred, Michelle or Chris, before they were brought to America. So yeah, I obviously get it. ;)

But you also know people who are not Star Trek fans don’t remotely think about these issues related to the show, especially when it comes to the weird aliens.

And since you just brought up Linus choosing a name for himself because others can’t say his name properly then maybe that’s just what all the other aliens on the show are doing as well? Remember we never even heard Mr. Spock’s full freaking name because he claimed it’s too hard for humans to pronounce (although we’ve heard tons of Vulcan names since, none of them seem all that hard but whatever). So, MAYBE that’s what it could be with the others right, right?

And in fact this is still pretty common in Asian countries like China and Korea. I use to teach English in Korea and many Koreans had English sounding second names because the foreigners just screwed them up a lot. Same issues in China as I have a few friends there who has English names too.

So just use that as your head canon and it’s not so bad.

I think it’s more disturbing when they do it for non-American human characters like “Philippa Georgiou” who is supposed to be born in Malaysia. Most ‘ethnic’ characters in Trek are written as American anyway (explicitly or by omission) and that’s just the icing on the top. Again, we were already further than this thirty years ago in TNG even with minor characters like Keiko Ishikawa O’Brien!

I also have really felt that giving a British-Palastani actor Shazad Latif the character name “Ash Tyler” was a missed opportunity.

I have a suspicion VS that neutral Anglo-American or European names are being chosen to support avoid preconceptions when casting. Which is great in principle, but then the writers and showrunners should just consider these “working titles” in effect, and then be open to adjusting the names and backstories to enrich the ethnic and national diversity.

As an aside, it turns out that Trek-lit author David Mack created Keyla Detmer’s name when he was writing the first Discovery tie-in novel. He had the writers bible, but the character hadn’t yet been named so when he asked, they let him provide the canon name.

Last edited 1 month ago by TG47

At the time when TOS aired Germany had a short lived Sci-Fii series very similar to Star Trek. Non of the characters had any German name, only English, Russian or Scandinavian. To be honest, because these nations are considered way more cool than Germans. There is more German name dropping in Star Trek than there was in that show. Germans are obsessed with American culture anyway so the American centered ST universe is very popular here for that reason.

We even made Hans Gruber of Die Hard a British citizen.

Last edited 1 month ago by odradek

“Germans are obsessed with American culture anyway”

Stockholm syndrome? ;)

Let me say it this way: “American culture is like root beer, so bubbly and cloying, and happy… just like the US, if you drink enough of it, you begin to like it – just like the US.”

At least I remember a time when it was that way. Maybe I’m a ghost for beliving it might be that way in the future again.

Strange, the analogy I’d rather have in mind is the Borg, although I believe that is from the same source ;)

Last edited 1 month ago by Vulcan Soul

So happy Linus will be back!! He was one of my new favorites in season two just like Pike and Reno was but he was only in a few scenes.

Season 3 sounds like the show I ALWAYS wanted and hoped we got with Discovery in its first season. All the talk about pushing pass old canon and having new technology we never seen before (although this is funny coming from Discovery….that’s never been this show’s problem lol) is exciting and fun. I never heard of programmable matter until a week ago and now know its a real idea in scientific circles. This is why Star Trek is so fun, they can take every crazy idea out there, real or imagined and make it part of the show.

Tiger, have you checked the leaked season 3 episode title list? There’s a huge hint in there right in the middle that they will pick up on a beloved TNG two parter and exciting story line! I think it was then when it fully doomed on me these writers get to rewrite the entire Star Trek universe for only the second time in 50 years (the first time was 2009 with the Kelvin universe, and apart from the deplorable destruction of Vulcan they did not really make full use of it!) – for better or worse!

As for programmable matter, check out Claytronics on Wikipedia – it’s a real thing, its being worked on, and unlike most treknology there are no theoretical roadblocks (safe for transmutating elements, maybe!)

I give them props for coming up with this after the decidedly fantasy “time crystals” in season 2, and banning this timey-whimey nonsense in season 3 outright ;) Sure, it’s somewhat unbelievable it would take us only a few decades for the warp drive, a century to transporter but a thousand years to programmable matter, but this is (for once!) not the fault of Discovery but of previous Trek creators (the concept was conceived in the 1990s already).

As it is, they were right to grab this unused huge concept and utilize it to set apart the new world of Discovery from the rest of Trek, and I’m happy with it!

Last edited 1 month ago by Vulcan Soul

Time crystals are real as well. They don’t allow time travel, of course, but it is a real thing. Regular crystals have repetitive molecular structure in space. Time crystals have repetitive structure over time.

We don’t always need to repeat that same arguments. Appropriating the name of a – completely unrelated – scientific concept for a clear fantasy gizmo does not make the show more “scientific” and does not mean the gizmo becomes more “real”. And we’ve been talking about this ever since they first (ab)used it!

But again, kudos for doing it right for once with programmable matter!

Last edited 1 month ago by Vulcan Soul

Hey there, sorry I’m just now responding to this, I just seen it. But yes I think I know what you’re talking about. I’ll speak in ‘Tendi code’ but are you talking about “Uni#bleep#fication#bleep#III? If so, yes I heard about it. ;) I saw a Youtuber a few weeks ago talking about it and theorizing how it can tie into TNG. If so yes, VERY VERY interesting!!! But I also learn when it comes to these shows and theories, they are usually 95% wrong lol, so I won’t over think it too much until we get closer to it.

As far as Claytronics, I never heard of it but saw you mentioned it in another thread a few days ago and looked it up then. Anytime someone posts something I never heard about here I always look it up. I learn a lot on this board lol. I like the idea too. It was a little hard to understanding reading it but I checked out some Youtube videos that explained it with actual images and yes I think this would be more realistic too.

But this is exactly WHY I don’t mind seeing Trek going farther into the future because there are still lots of interesting real world concepts you can propose centuries into the future and not just have it all feel ‘magical’. And to be fair about the programmable matter, we don’t know when it was started being used in the timeline. Sure we are seeing it for the first time in the 32nd century but could be invented in the 25th or 26th century. Another fun thing about going so forward, nothing has to feel as locked down like stuff like transporters or holodecks feel because its all so far away now.

But I never cared about how ‘magical’ the tech would be in the future because Discovery stepped over that line the second the spore drive showed up; so anything is pretty fair game at this point. ;)

Last edited 1 month ago by Tiger2