Welcome to Warp Five, StarTrek.com's five question post-mortem with your favorite featured actors from the latest Star Trek episodes.
Spoilers for Discovery season three episode eight, “Die Trying,” to follow
Rachael Ancheril’s Commander Nhan was first introduced wearing a red shirt denoting her as a member of Security and Engineering on the Enterprise, but she avoided the fate of those who usually wear red in The Original Series. Nhan not only transferred to the Discovery from the Enterprise, but actively chose her own fate: to travel 900 years into the future and, eventually, leave Discovery to help pilot the seed ship back to Barzan and see her home again.
StarTrek.com: What was your first contact with Star Trek and were you a fan before joining the franchise?
Rachael Ancheril: My first contact with Star Trek was through my mom who was a Star Trek fan and still is of The Original Series and we used to watch it on the weekends. Anytime it was on, she would take over the TV and that was it. She was one of the people that wrote [letters to the network] and was really angry when they were going to cancel it once upon a time.
In episode five, Nhan makes the choice to return home to Barzan, so can you walk us through the character’s reasons for making this choice?
RA: As we've all seen, Nhan goes where she's needed. And I think being able to see home again was a big thing for her. When the ship jumped in to the future, she really never thought she'd be able to do again. And especially carrying out the wishes of people that are from her own species, I think it was an emotional choice, but yet still the rational choice for her to make going where she's needed.
Nhan was one of the first Barzan characters we've met in Star Trek. Did you have any influence in shaping who the Barzan are?
RA: I looked at Bhavani, who was in The Next Generation — the first mention of the Barzan. She was the premier. It was great because it was only one episode. So I could look at her for reference and then be able to shape Nhan on my own as well in the scope of what the writers wanted, the creators and all the other departments that make Nhan. I think it was great to have a bit of freedom, but yet also have a little bit of research available as well
What has been your favorite episode that you've been a part of?
RA: I love the away missions. I think probably [episode] 209, with Ariam and Burnham was probably my favorite. I love when I can go on away missions and I love carrying the phaser. I love [that] I was the support of Burnham and Ariam in that episode; it was a really great episode for me. But I also enjoy this episode immensely as well, obviously, because you get to see that other side of Nhan, so it was enjoyable.
Will we see Nhan again?
RA: The first sci-fi thing I ever did as my character was dying in between takes, Tim Rosen (this was on Wynonna Earp and Tim Rosen played Doc Holliday) said to me, "Well Rachael, in sci-fi no one ever actually dies or goes away." And I've always kept that in my mind. So I think anything can happen. We know that Nhan isn't dead, she's just finishing up her mission, so you never know where she might pop up again.
Star Trek: Discovery streams on Paramount+ in the United States, airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave in Canada, and on Netflix in 190 countries.