There were plenty of questions, and even a few revealing answers, as the cast of Star Trek: Discovery and executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Heather Kadin sat down with journalists for a series of roundtable conversations on late Saturday afternoon, right after they’d completed the Discovery panel at New York Comic-Con. There was conversation about season one, some discussion about the Star Trek: Short Treks, and couple of teases about season two. Check out some of the most memorable exchanges:
Your Star Trek: Short Treks segment, “Runaway,” aired the other day. What did you think of it, and what impact will it have on Tilly moving forward? For example, will we see your mom again?
I don't know. I don't know as far as my mom. I love just adding in a little bit of backstory about who she's dealing with, where she comes from, how she became the person she is today, and beginning to see her grapple with situations where she doesn't have as much backup. She really leans on her many mentors in the first season and this season she'll have to kind of step up a bit more. So, my short, I think it will function more as backstory and an enriching story. If it will come into play in the larger arc of the season, I don't know. I think for right now it's quite a standalone, so people can watch (or not), and it won't ruin the experience if they don't catch up.
Your upcoming installment of Star Trek: Short Treks is “The Brightest Star,” in which we’ll see a younger Saru on his home planet, Kaminar. Tell us a bit about the planet…
It's kind of a vacation destination, yes. When you see it you'll be like, “Oh, I kind of want to end up there.” We have rich plant life, we have water, we have landscaping, we have a village. But… you'll see. Think of where would a race of supermodel aliens live.
How helpful, informative, for you was it to learn more about Saru’s background?
It was, because in the short we go back and discover how he grew up and (about) his curiosity, how it got him off the planet. He's the only one of his kind who's ever been off that planet. He's the one who joined Starfleet, and the first to go through the Starfleet and become an officer. So, you find out in the short how much fear I did deal with in my real world, and how it became part of our daily routine. Here was just an inherent thing that we just had to live with, even though it looks euphoric and vacation-like, there's something dastardly going on with our predator species. So, we get to know more about all that through the short and in season two, there's some tie-in.
We know there's only so much you can touch on this, but regardless of how we're seeing Dr. Culber in season two, what's it like for you to play a character that's dead?
Well, I have to say it was dark. You know, he's my witness (looking at Anthony Rapp next to him), I had to go to a pretty dark place to do some of the stuff that we had to go through this season and just imagine what it would be like to know what it feels like to be away from the people that you love and the things that you love to do -- and the trauma of that.
How quickly did you connect with the character of Spock?
The character that was on the page, the pages that I got, very quickly, because it's a guy who is… what would appear to be someone who had never felt emotions and was trying to make intellectual sense of them. And it seemed to me like sort of an existential crisis. And I felt like, I'm 32, and we all go through that around this age. So, that was kind of recent in my life repertoire.
Your Spock is set 10 years before the Spock we know from Star Trek: The Original Series, so he’s not quite cooked yet, right?
Yeah. That's a nice way of putting it. I think that you have to have somewhere to go with him, right? Nimoy is inimitable and Quinto played an alternate universe Spock. And so, he's written on the page very differently. And slowly but surely, he will become, I think, who we've come to love and adore in The Original Series.
ALEX KURTZMAN & HEATHER KADIN
Shows evolve in a season as they’re going along. What in season one was not planned that really ended up working in ways you didn't even imagine?
KADIN: Well, one thing we didn't intend in the beginning, it was originally a 13-episode order and the last two episodes were born out of our partners being really happy with it and the network wanting more. I think the writers…, as opposed to just extending the story that was there, really came up with more story than was originally intended and we got to spend more time and I think got to unveil a couple things we wouldn't have otherwise. What else?
KURTZMAN: There's a tremendous learning curve at the production level for a show this size in the first season.
KADIN: Are you going to talk about eight ("Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum"), because that’s the one I was going to say?
KURTZMAN: Yeah. So, in episode eight, which is the episode where they go to Pahvo, it was our first away mission. There were many things about that episode that didn't exist when we shot it, like the look of the Pahvan, for example. And when we saw the look of the Pahvan, we felt that it was not in keeping with the sort of the scope and scale and feel of our show. We attempted to go practical with the Pahvan, so we had an actor, a dancer, actually, in costume -- and it just didn't look right. So, when we were editing the show, we decided to make the character a visual effect, and that really changed the look of everything. So, we changed the look of the planet, the look of the species. That used to be a person.
What was it like stepping into the show as the new kid on the block when the cast had already had a year to mesh together?
Well, technically, it's hard being the new kid because you know you're with a group of people that have found their stride and you're trying to find yours. It's a lot easier if you're all trying to find your stride together. But inter-personally, I couldn't imagine a more welcoming, more hospitable cast.
Star Trek: Discovery's second season will premiere on Thursday, January 17, 2019, in the U.S. and Canada, and in the rest of the world on Friday, January 18, 2019.
Star Trek: Discovery on Blu-ray
Fans in the U.S. and Canada can pre-order on Amazon.com now.
Star Trek: Discovery's first season is available on CBS All Access in the U.S. and Space Channel in Canada. It's available on Netflix in the rest of the world.