Star Trek: Discovery Cast Talks Mutiny, Klingons and More At NYCC 2017

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Lieutenant Saru (Doug Jones) and First Officer Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) in Star Trek: Discovery.
Lieutenant Saru (Doug Jones) and First Officer Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) in Star Trek: Discovery. CBS All Access

The cast and crew of Star Trek: Discovery took to the stage at Madison Square Garden on Saturday as part of New York Comic-Con 2017. Fans were also treated to a surprise appearance from Michelle Yeoh, who plays Captain Philippa Georgiou on the show.

In a panel moderated by former NASA astronaut (and all-around legend) Dr. Mae Jemison, series stars Sonequa Martin-Green, Jason Isaacs, Doug Jones, Shazad Latif, Mary Wiseman, Anthony Rapp, Mary Chieffo and Wilson Cruz joined Executive Producers Alex Kurtzman, Aaron Harberts, Gretchen J. Berg, Heather Kadin and Akiva Goldsman to discuss the show’s launch, what’s to come in future episodes and the series’ place within the long-running franchise.

Kurtzman spoke at length about the decision to make the show’s lead character the first mutineer in Starfleet’s history. “We got very excited about the idea that our lead was not going to be a captain. We wanted the audience to feel as though they were walking into a very specific kind of show in the first two episodes, then pull the rug out from under them. The idea of having her be at such a tremendous disadvantage emotionally… it gives her a very long way to go. It gives her a redemption story.”

Martin-Green also talked about Burnham’s journey over Discovery’s first few episodes. “Her inner turmoil is so… I find it quite visceral. Growing up on Vulcan, I had to find something about my emotions to be a point of strength… but then those sorts of sensibilities have led me to where I am now.”

As the team behind Discovery aims to shake up the conventional Star Trek hero, they also look to add new dimension to the Klingons. “We wanted to be sure we represented both sides of the war in a way that was understandable and relatable. 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. We wanted to shift everyone’s perspective about what the Klingons are, because they are traditionally relegated to just being the bad guys. If we didn’t do that, and we made them a one-dimensional bad guy, we wouldn’t be Star Trek,” said Kurtzman.

The crowd in Madison Square Garden found plenty of reasons to cheer during the panel, though the loudest undoubtedly came with Yeoh’s surprise appearance. Posing as a fan with a question, she asked when Captain Georgiou would reappear on the show. “I’m not gonna let them kill me, okay? I’m gonna haunt them all the time. I love these guys to death. Seriously, it’s been such an amazing adventure.”

While Discovery hasn’t totally hit its stride yet (check out our review of episode 3), the panel at NYCC left us intrigued about what’s to come in the next few episodes and optimistic about the show’s long-term potential. And we’re excited to see more of Yeoh’s Captain Georgiou too. It remains to be seen whether her appearances will take the form of flashbacks, or perhaps have something to do with that whole spore teleportation thing in Stamets’ lab.

In a press release earlier this week, CBS announced the first spate of Discovery episodes would increase from eight to nine episodes. The midseason finale will now debut Sunday, Nov. 12. The second chapter, featuring the remaining six episodes, will return in January.

Star Trek: Discovery is available exclusively on CBS All Access in the U.S., and on Netflix elsewhere. For CBS All Access viewers, new episodes become available on demand at 8:30 p.m. EDT on Sundays.

What do you think of Discovery so far? Do you think we’ll see a closer relationship between Burnham and other members of the crew? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Star Trek: Discovery
Star Trek: Discovery Counters Powerful Klingons With Starfleet Tedium
The two-part premiere of Star Trek: Discovery has powerful components, especially the Klingons, but is overwhelmed by poor storytelling choices.
  • Richly redesigned Klingons
  • Complex and explicable motives
  • Great new Starfleet characters
  • Incredible production design
  • Generic space combat and action
  • Too many flashbacks
  • Eschews subtext, doesn't put enough faith in the audience
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