5:00 pm EDT, October 7, 2017

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ takes NYCC: What we learned

Star Trek: Discovery is only just getting started, but they took to the stage at New York Comic Con to preview what’s coming next for the series.

The cast and crew of Star Trek: Discovery were greeted by a packed out audience at Madison Square Garden, and certainly didn’t disappoint them. With plenty of mysteries to unravel over the course of the series, there was more than enough to tease out to fans in attendance.

Speaking of fans in the audience, the first question from the crowd was from Michelle Yeoh! She came to thank the cast and fans, saying, “If you don’t look after my baby girl [Sonequa Martin-Green] I’ll come to kick your ass and you know I can!”

But let’s go back to the start. Here’s everything we learned at the panel!

First up, a teaser from episode 4, “The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry,” reveals that Burnham has been assigned to the Discovery with no rank. She also receives Georgious’ last will and testament. The clip also clarifies that Burnham will not be helping with the Spore Drive. She will instead be tasked with weaponizing the creature from ep 3.

Anthony Rapp mentions that Lieutenant Paul Stamets is based on aTalking about a Ted Talk where a mycologist talked about mushrooms “saving the universe.” No, seriously. You can watch the real Paul Stamets here!

Star Trek Discovery rapp

Speaking of science, the science of Star Trek: Discovery is more about the function of biology than anything else. The engine is organic. In preparation for the show, a think thank of 10 scientists was convened to serve as consultants. And these scientists would hold debates about everything from transportation to teleportation.

As for Stamets’ love interest, Wilson Cruz’s Dr. Culber will appear in episode 4 with his “space boo.” Cruz notes that he is proud to be a part of Star Trek‘s first gay couple and proud that it doesn’t matter in the show.

Bryan Fuller’s fingerprints are all over discovery, especially in Sonequa Martin-Green. He wanted to be sure that this Star Trek not only had a female lead, but a lead who was not a Captain. It is familiar, yet not the same.

There is a redemptive arc happening with Brunham this season. She is currently at an emotional disadvantage. And even though she was raised on Vulcan, Burnham is 100% human. Meaning she has to work very hard to keep her emotions controlled. She’s been doing this for quite some time now and we will continue to see how she processes them in the wake of Georgious’ death.

This does not mean that Michael is at a disadvantage. Her emotions have helped her carve out new paths to logic. It will be interesting to watch her continue her journey and finally find a place she can call “home.”

When asked by the audience if we’d ever see Burnham in a relationship, Martin-Green noted, “They’re covering everything, with everyone.” Insert blushing face here.

Jason Issacs’ took on the role of Captain Gabriel Lorca because he was not like the other Captains of the series. This is a Captain who is at war. “This is wartime and a time of uncertainty. They are finding their feet as a crew,” says Issacs.

Star Trek Discovery bridge

Also, aboard the ship and on the panel, is Doug Jones as Lieutenant Saru. Jones’ enjoys that he is originating a species, the Kelpians, because he does not have to “get it right.” Instead it is an organic process of discovery, where Jones can offer input and insight into the character’s development.

During the audience Q&A, Jones mentioned that he would love to visit Saru’s home.

Star Trek: Discovery is not only diverse on screen, but behind the scenes as well. From the start one of the major goals of the show was to have women be a large part of the show’s development. This includes the writers’ room, which is split 50/50. Did you notice that the core of the first two episodes were females holding conversations NOT ABOUT MEN?

As an actor being bilingual is a great skill set. But how many actors go into a role fluent in Klingon? Mary Chieffo, who plays L’Rell, the Klingon battle deck commander, says that she works with a Klingon linguist and that her scripts arrive in English, but have a Klingon translation. “All the Klingon actors try hard to understand what they are saying and not just say random words,” Chieffo says.

Once they pass the language barrier and understand what they are saying, the Klingon actors make the connection as characters. “It takes a village to speak Klingon,” the panel notes.

The importance of telling the Klingons’ story

Star Trek Discovery klingons

And if you are looking forward to more Klingons, episode 4 is for you. Executive producer Alex Kurtzman notes, “When we conceived of the idea of having season one being about the war with the Klingons, it was terribly important to all of us to make sure that we represented both sides of the war in a way that was understandable and relatable. And while the Klingons have been given specific treatment in various iterations in the past, we needed to know what it was like for them to go through this, too. And to humanize them for lack of a better word.”

Kurtzman goes on to comment on the shift in the look of the Klingons saying, “The truth is that we wanted to shift everyone’s perspective about what the Klingons are. Because they are so traditionally relegated to just being the bad guys. And that meant making visual changes too, while hopefully maintaining and retaining the original spirit of the original Klingons.”

“It is terribly important for us to humanize them, to give story to their experience. To give an understanding to their culture, to give an understanding to why they want what they want. If we didn’t do that and we made them a one dimensional bad guy, we wouldn’t be Star Trek.”

As the series progresses, Star Trek: Discovery will reflect the current hot-button issues happening right here on Earth. This incarnation of the series has, “the luxury of time to explore emotions,” the producers note. When commenting on the “darkness” of the series, the producers note, “If we’re successful, it’ll be layered. Dark and light. The perk of serialized storytelling.

Stay tuned for more Star Trek: Discovery New York Comic Con coverage!

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