Jason Isaacs Reminds Us Prime Lorca Is Still Out There, Just Waiting For A Great Star Trek Story To Be Written

(Photo: Variety)

It’s time once again to ponder the possibility of Jason Isaacs returning to Star Trek. The Discovery season one star is talking about Prime Lorca and what it would take to get him back in the captain’s chair.

Isaacs: There’s a clamor for more Lorca

Actor Jason Isaacs is out promoting his new movie Creation Stories, and during interviews, he’s inevitably asked about his possible return to his best-known roles, which are spread out across the Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Star Trek franchises. With regards to reprising roles in general, Isaacs insisted to comicbook.com that it always comes down to the writing first:

“It’s always in script. There’s no part I’m interested in, there’s no people, no matter how much I admire them and I’m into them, it’s always the script. It’s always, what story am I telling? I wouldn’t ever want to go milk something just to please the fans or my bank manager. I try and find something that has something in it that will make me entertained… I don’t want to just be in things because other people want to see them. I want to be able to play something. “

While generally non-committal, Isaacs did point to some particular interest for Star Trek, continuing:

“So, in all the things you’ve mentioned, I felt like I had something great to play. And, for instance, there’s a clamor often for me to go back to Star Trek. Had a fantastic time on Star Trek, I loved all the people, I love being part of that universe, and Prime Lorca, the Prime Universe version of my captain, has yet to be found. But I wouldn’t go back just to be in it, I’d go back if you had a great story to tell.”

Of course, after it was revealed late in season one of Discovery that the Captain Lorca was actually from the Mirror Universe, it did leave the fate of the original Lorca as an open question.

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

The idea of returning as Prime Lorca is something the actor has been thinking of since wrapping his work on Discovery. A year ago, Isaacs indicated he had talked to Star Trek producers about returning to the franchise, saying “when and if we come up with something we think is fabulous I will happily go on a starvation diet required to slip into the snakeskin uniform again.”

It’s hard to imagine Isaacs saying no to getting his own Star Trek show or miniseries, but projects of that scale may not fit into Paramount+’s plan for Trek; there are already three live-action series currently in production, at least in the short term. However, a guest spot or arc on one of those series is always a possibility. Star Trek: Discovery has jumped into the 32nd century, so it may no longer be the best place for Prime Lorca’s debut; a better fit could actually be in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, which is still firmly set in the 23rd century. And there could even be a place for him in Star Trek: Picard with all the time-warping possibilities coming in season two.

Jason Isaacs as Captain Gabriel Lorca in “Lethe”

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When we do meet the real Captain Gabriel Lorca, we’re meeting him before Discovery and he wouldn’t know who Michael Burnham is. I hope he will be in Strange New Worlds.

Strange New Worlds is the perfect vehicle!

But do we know whether Strange New Worlds takes place before or after Discovery Seasons 1-2?
Anyway, Even If it takes place after, Prime Lorca could still appear, as he was never confirmed dead (only presumed).

I heard somewhere that it may be both before and after Discovery’s 1st two seasons.

Unless Q shows up in the 32nd century and transport him there, I think he’s out of luck being back on Discovery again. But I can definitely see him in Strange New Worlds.

If Section 31 with Michelle Yeoh goes forward after Picard finishes its run, he could make an appearance.

Also true. But I suspect that show is now years away (if it happens at all) and it would be nice to see Lorca a bit sooner.

Yes! Yes!

Q on Discovery would be awesome.

Something we fully agree on. Now go away please.

Never. I’m your personal Q.

Pathetic is a much better word for you.

I worked on a set with Jason once. It… was a unique experience.

How so?

He was unpredictable. Not a bad guy–I liked him. But very unpredictable.

He had a tendency to pull practical jokes on others on the set. It was funny at times, but the directors sometimes got annoyed with him.

Or at least the 1st AD’s ;-)

Are you JonBlizzard?

I don’t know what that question means, sorry.

On a related note, Paramount+ finally has a watch list function.

For me Discovery season one was a freaking mess that showed the broken and never-completed development process plaguing the start of the show. The sewer-rat redesign of the Klingons, Lorca and his fascistic nihilism, the killing of Prime Geogiou before the character was ever developed…bringing back Lorca would drag us back to that dank era, and it seems unlikely that the current Discovery management would want to go there after all the work they have done to reboot Discovery.

I agree early Discovery was mess, but the two things they did well, and threw away, were Prime Georgiou and Prime Lorca (at least as much as we saw in Mirror Lorca passing as him). If Trek brought them both back (with practically no explanation), I would be content.

I agree FULLY with you first season of Discovery was a mess and why it’s my least favorite season of Star Trek now. BUT I don’t think bringing back Lorca would be an issue because it’s essentially a totally different character than the one we saw, so he doesn’t have to be as ‘dark’ as the other one. They could mold Prime Lorca to anything they want basically.

And Lorca was a pretty popular character, at least for Discovery. I think many would like to see him back but same time the show has moved on in more ways than one so it’s probably not a huge issue if he wasn’t seen again.

Part of the reason I loved Lorca [before the Big Reveal] was that he was “crusty,” all about getting things done. A bit like TNG’s Capt Jellico, in fact [see Steve Shives’ YouTube video, “Was Jellico Really Such a Bad Guy?”].

He was not as nice a guy as Pike is, but is still a good Starfleet captain. I think it would be interesting to see the different command styles of Pike and Lorca.

I hope he’d be a guest character, appearing in episodes here and there. I hope they don’t set him up for only one appearance like Commodore Matt Decker. I hope, if Isaacs insists on a limited story with a beginning and end, that it’s sprinkled throughout a whole season, but not as a “mystery box”.

As you can see I have a lot of HOPES for Prime Lorca 😉!

Oh yeah I remember you were the biggest cheerleader here to bring Lorca back lol. I never cared one way or the other but I did like the character and would be curious to see how Prime Lorca is like. So hopefully it will happen and yes maybe a role where we can see him show up from time to time.

Here is the real problem. Before we knew he was “evil” Lorca, he was easily the most interesting character on a terrible show. Learning what made him tick was the one and only one reason to even tune in. But the character was completely ruined when we learned it wasn’t because he was a nuanced character with real depth. He was just a one dimensional bad guy mustache-twirler. That reveal felt like a HUGE “screw you” to everyone watching. So since what we got was “evil” Lorca it follows that if we get “good” Lorca he would just be the exact opposite. A boring slice of white bread. And that is the last thing Star Trek needs. More bad characters few like.

I wouldn’t say the EXACT opposite because Admiral Cromwell was friends with him (and more ;)) for years and she seem to buy in that was basically who he was, meaning he was always a bit edgier than most Captains we met in the past. It wasn’t until he pulled a phaser on her in bed she thought he was really acting strange lol.

So I think they can still present a more ‘troubled’ Lorca, just someone who is still a Starfleet officer and believes in its ideals, but someone with his own personal issues as well.

OK. I respect that. But I still think the character is forever ruined based on what they did to him.

Disco season one was awesome.

It’s a minority opinion seemingly, but I’m glad that you enjoyed it. I did like some of the Mirror Universe arc.

The Mirror Universe arc is the only thing that saved first season for me. I thought the ‘Klingon war’ arc was boring, anticlimactic and bland. They did nothing interesting with it at all. Funny how some fans claim 23rd century is more ‘exciting’ than other centuries, well I certainly didn’t feel that on DIS first season at all. It felt edgier but the stories were faaaar less interesting overall. And I rewatched first season twice now and feel the same on each watch.

Hopefully SNW will do the era more justice in general.

I’m with you 100% on the hopes for Strange New Worlds and your assessment of season one. I admire your grit on rewatching season one. I’ve tried to watch a few episodes, and just can’t do it. I am very fond of the scene of Clint Howard’s Orion and his attempt to steal Tilly’s bomb and have watched that several times.

In 20 years you guys will be praising Discovery. The same way you all praise DS9 now. I remember the hate DS9 got while it was airing.

No, I don’t think we will be praising Discovery, at least not what we have seen of it so far. It is still possible that it could become a great Trek show. TNG was fairly dodgy until season 3, although that model of television was very different so it may not be comparable. Those first two seasons of Discovery seem unlikely to be fondly remembered beyond maybe season two being a pilot for Strange New Worlds. Who knows? Time will tell.

DS9 was loved by many people when it was on, but you are right that it did not get the love that TNG did while it was on the air. Sometimes it takes time for the greatness of a show to be widely recognized.

Even though Discovery season one is my worst Star Trek season I thought the last two improved a lot. NOT amazing, but better. So yeah it’s not black and white. I think the show is certainly improving and moving it to the 32nd century was the BEST idea for the show. Maybe more people would’ve enjoyed it more if they did that from the beginning because there wouldn’t have been any glaring canon issues when you are 800 years away from everything we knew. ;)

But it doesn’t mean the writing itself still would be better and is STILL the biggest issue with the show now.

So I agree with you, it takes time. I know MANY people still think Discovery is just as bad in season 3 as it was in season 1 (and a few seem to think its now worst) but its not all of us. I pretty fair about the show overall. I mean even when I DID think it was bad I always said so were a lot of Trek shows in the first season. I recognized that from the beginning, but yes it was STILL bad lol.

But I think like TNG, DS9 and ENT, its improving. I still don’t think it improved as well as those did, especially TNG and DS9 but whose to say it can’t be as good as those eventually?

Agree with all of that. Except where you suspect Star Trek Discovery management wouldn’t want to go there. I actually wouldn’t put it past them at all. They still don’t know how to put together a decent Star Trek show. Let alone how to map out a short season story arc.

You might be right. Time will tell. Season three was going along pretty well until they disrupted everything for another jaunt to the Mirror Universe.

One of the Discovery novels, Drastic Measures, had an epilogue that had Prime Lorca imprisoned by unknown people in the mirror universe. Obviously not canon, even tho when Discovery launched they said they’d try and keep the books in mind. They promptly made most of the first Disco novel, desperate hours, irrelevant

IMO it was not a very good novel. The main part I enjoyed was that little coda with Prime Lorca 😄

There hasn’t been a great Star Trek story written since Terra Prime.

Discovery season 2 ”New Eden” was quite cool I thought.

That is a matter of opinion obviously. I agree that Enterprise is a better show than Discovery (so far), but I really enjoyed most of Picard.

I’m not the biggest fan of Enterprise but I will concede it is better than Discovery. Weirdly, I enjoy season 1 & 2 the most. I find season 4 waaay to fan service-y. That’s just me though.

I liked season 4 myself. And I can understand some thinking it catered to the fans quite a bit. Perhaps that is part of why I liked it. But even with the fan service at least it still offered up some decent episodes. Unlike the last animated show that seemed to be nothing but fan service.

I really enjoy Enterprise now. Have for some time. Even though I’ve always been one of those ‘I want to go forward in the timeline’ fans I still prefer Enterprise over Discovery even though that show takes place in the 22nd century and DIS in the 32nd (but I do love it being so far into the future). I also admit I was originally biased against the show because it was a prequel which I was not into the idea AT ALL at the time.

But I had a few years to get used to the idea. ;) I really loved the types of stories it told. And I’m doing a grand rewatch of the entire franchise and started first with Enterprise since I’m doing it in chronological order and REALLY enjoyed watching the whole thing. Each season really got stronger than the last. But I also feel the same with Discovery, just not as strong to me as Enterprise or the other shows thus far.

That was a ridiculous comment.

Disco has had its ups and downs for sure. But for me, “Context is for Kings” was the best episode of Star Trek since “What you Leave Behind.” Just my opinion, though.

I think these newer episodes are as good as or better than Terra Prime:

An Obol for Charon
Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad
If Memory Serves
New Eden

8 out of 10 episodes (I loved LDS)

(and arguably a couple of others)

All solid choices I must admit. I’ll add Project Daedalus to that list if you don’t mind.

Terra Prime is a first rate episode. I think “Nepenthe” and “Remembrance” top it, and perhaps “An Obol for Charon” comes close.

I wouldn’t even say “good” episode. With the possible exception of Lethe. Which honestly I haven’t gone back to watch a 2nd time. I’m actually afraid I’m going to dislike it a 2nd time around.

With these writers and showrunners, Jason’s going to be waiting a long time for that great story, I fear.

He did season 1 so either his personal rules for accepting roles have changed since then, or his definition of a great story differs from yours.

So… is he the new Shatner?

I see nothing wrong with Isaacs’ stance. Fans may have the perception that actors should do things just because the fans want them to, but that perception is not based in the reality of how actors work. Like anyone in any field, they want job fulfillment. There’s a reason you don’t see Tom Hanks selling adult diapers in commercials: he doesn’t need to. Actors want to take jobs that will fulfill them; that’s the ultimate goal. Jason Isaacs might not be Tom Hanks, but he’s pretty established. If he’s offered work he deems worth taking on, he’ll do it. That’s the mindset of a successful actor, and it makes sense. I wouldn’t go back to my prior job just because others wanted me to. I’d only do it if it were something I found worth doing.

Prime Lorca could possible appear in either the upcoming Section 31 show or Strange New Worlds.

I would love to see Mirror Georgieou’s face when accedidentally stumbling upon Prime Lorca

In my opinion S1 is the strongest season of discovery. I loved how they took the series in a whole new direction and put their own spin on it. And I felt out of the three seasons it had the most to say about human nature. Isaacs is one of my favorite captains. (I do love the soldier captains, Sisko, Kirk, it’s the military history side of me) I hope to see his prime version in the future. I don’t know if we will. But he was terrific and you never know.

I’m a fan of Issacs, but If any of the writer’s *do* conceive a storyline that interests him enough to don that uncomfortable uniform again….then I hope it’s strictly for an appearance in Discovery.

I’ve already filed Discovery into a one watch only, ‘alternate universe’ show to the ‘prime’ TOS universe’ in my ‘head canon’, and I’m hoping to be able to look on the Strange New Worlds show as being set in yet another separate ‘alternative universe’ to both of those.

I can’t imagine how they would do that without some convoluted time travel nonsense, so I really hope to see Lorca on Starnge New Worlds.

Or you can just accept they are TV shows and will place the guy where they feel they can. And it would be much easier to place him in SNW since that is the timeline he is from.

While these are indeed merely tv shows Tiger2, thanks to the more ‘self-contained storyline’ nature of SNW’s episodes, I’m hopeful that the majority won’t feature *too* many references to the Discovery show. I guess I can always disregard any that do to keep the illusion of a ‘separate’ timeline for myself, if I end up liking it enough for a re-watch someday.

It’s ALL the same people who wrote Discovery is now writing for this show. I suspect we are going to see a lot of the Discovery characters (who didn’t jump to the 32nd century) on this show as well.

SNW will probably be its own show in the way DS9 was its own show away from TNG. but they still referenced and used many characters from TNG to show up throughout its entire run (including bringing in Worf full time of course). Just don’t be shocked if the same thing happens on SNW.

Oh, I do hope they find an interesting way to bring him back. I would love to see him newly returned with some PTSD-related notions of how to be, OR some ideas of how to fight a ship based on fighting Terrans in the MU. [I like to think he’s been fighting as part of the Coalition of races against the Terran Empire.]

That would set up interesting conflicts between him and Pike, when they had to cooperate in leading battle groups, for example.

I want Star Trek with Evil Lorca

Prime Lorca could still be in Star Trek Discovery. The Mirror Lorca kept him in cryogenic or stasis in an as yet found area of U. S. S. Discovery.

Wow. A lot to unpack here. None of it positive. Let’s just go with the thing that stood out the most. That he claimed to pick roles based on scripts. I’d say that was a flat out lie. The evidence is he took the MU Lorca role in spite of the terrible scripts. I don’t recall his role in the Harry Potter series but those films weren’t exactly the best written either. So reading between the lines what he seems to be saying is “If I’m not busy with something else or if the price is right I will certainly be there to play Lorca should you folks go that route.

And of course, just he presence is a reminder of the worst story line in Star Trek history. A story line that he “claimed” was good. No. I think it best that the Trek world forgets he ever appeared.

I have NO doubt he’ll eventually be back in ST:SNW…! They will obviously use the return for the Mirror-verse in a given episode and… Voilá: there will be Lorca and be saved (or not – but that’s with them)…!!