Among the new faces in season 3 of Star Trek: Picard are the bridge crew of the USS Titan, including Joseph Lee (Bajoran tactical officer Lt. Matthew Arliss Mura), Stephanie Czajkowski (Vulcan science officer Lt. T’Veen), and Jin Maley (Haliian communications officer Ensign Kova Rin Esmar). TrekMovie had a chance to chat with the trio on the purple carpet (with a surprise drop-by from Terry Matalas) about their characters, hopes for the future, and how much fun it is when Jonathan Frakes is directing.
Even before the season debuted, fans are already talking about your characters, even the little details. Like for Stephanie, there is even some debate about your ears, with some speculating your T’Veen isn’t 100% Vulcan…
Stephanie: You know, the jury seems to be out on that, at least in the fan community. I have some theories about my background. You guys will get to find them out, I will not confirm nor deny without [showrunner] Terry [Matalas] expressly deciding what and how and when to tell you guys.
How much research did you all do? Jin, you are playing a Haliian, which is fairly obscure Star Trek race.
Jin: Well, in some ways it was easy for me, because there aren’t a ton of Haliians in the Star Trek universe. So with the telepathy and the empathy, I kind of took that and ran with it. So it was pretty simple, actually. I just went with that as part of my interpretation.
Joseph, you’re playing a Bajoran, so there was a lot more to work with; did you do a deep dive on Deep Space Nine?
Joseph: I definitely had to look up things on YouTube and Wikipedia. But in terms of sort of some of the historical influences that I read about and learned about from the show, for the creators being influenced by the Palestinian resistance, and just all these other movements that have happened, and basing the Bajoran movement on that. That was really fascinating for me. I learned a lot.
This season has so many heavyweights, so does that leave much time to get to know you guys, your personalities, your favorite colors, that sort of thing?
Stephanie: I don’t think you’re going to get to know our favorite colors, although I will say that mine is blue, because science blue. But I think you get a really, really good sense of who we are specifically as crewmates on this ship. I think you definitely get a sense of our characters and also our loyalty to one another.
Jin: They really welcomed us into the fold. On set, it was very a friendly family environment. And I think it comes through in the shooting. I’m sure it’ll come through in the end.
Joseph: Agreed. I think she nailed it, yeah. I think more so than us diving into each other.
[Terry Matalas drops by to interject]
Terry Matalas: I want to jump in and say this is the best bridge crew you have ever seen in Star Trek. I love them. And when you’re done watching them, you’re going to demand to see more. I’ll be right back. So glad to see you guys.
Picking up on that, are you guys ready for Terry’s next show, to be his “Next Next Generation”?
Stephanie: I think that would be amazing if that were to happen. But this season is very much just about finishing up the story that we’ve told.
Joseph: Yeah, I think there’s so much to unwrap with this current season that’s about to come up. So we’ll just try to stay present with it and leave everything else.
What’s the coolest thing about the bridge of the USS Titan?
Stephanie: Oh my god, my chair. My chair zips back and forth in a swively kind of way. I mean, not on camera because T’Veen would never do that. But I, Stephanie, got to ride that chair back and forth like in a spinny spinny motion. It was like riding a ride.
Jin: Yeah, I would say the chairs too. We were both on the sides. So we got to do a lot of rolling back and forth and just using the whole console.
Stephanie: Joseph was right up front. He was all in command. He was just like “boom.”
Joseph: Yeah, I agree. I would have to say the seats, but I also really loved your screens. Those were sweet.
Stephanie: Our screens were pretty awesome.
Jin: Yeah, very nicely done.
What’s it like being on the bridge with Captain Riker and getting directed by Jonathan Frakes? Did he get to use his trademark “red alert,” and did he sing?
Stephanie: Yes, he definitely sang. He did all those things.
Joseph: Jonathan was really cool. He was actually like the first person on set that really like reached out to us. We were kind of all like the new kids at school and I just remember him extending a hand and just introducing himself and just really make us feel welcome.
Jin: The first thing that happened to me when I was on the bridge was I was standing there and Jonathan introduced himself to me and he just sidled up to me and was like, “You like Star Wars?” And I was like, “What? This is Star Trek?” I was so gullible. But yeah, he was cracking us up all the way. He was really sweet. Such a nice guy.
Stephanie: And as a director, I remember just being in the prosthetics trailer because we all obviously had prosthetics and he had his makeup done on the little ledge upstairs and they get done and he’d be like, “See you on the ice!” And he’d go. You know, your set day, even if it’s long, is always dictated by who’s ever leading it. And when Jonathan’s doing it, it’s just fun. It’s just so much fun.
Joseph: He really sets the tone.
More exclusive Picard coverage
There are more interviews from the Hollywood premiere event coming. Check out previously released Picard purple carpet interviews plus a post-premiere chat with Terry Matalas:
- Michele Hurd
- Gates McFadden
- Terry Matalas
- Jonathan Frakes
- Todd Stashwick
- Patrick Stewart
- Terry Matalas post-season premiere breakdown
The third and final season of Picard premieres on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023, exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S., and Latin America, and on February 17 Paramount+ in Europe and elsewhere, with new episodes of the 10-episode-long season available to stream weekly. It also debuted on Friday, Feb. 17 internationally on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories. In Canada, it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.
Keep up with news about the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com.