We know little about Doug Jones‘ alien character in Star Trek: Discovery, the alien Lt. Saru who first appeared on-camera in May’s series teaser trailer.

“My people were biologically determined,” says Saru in the teaser, “for one purpose alone: to sense the coming of death.”

Saru (Doug Jones) offers an ominous warning. (CBS)

What the heck does that mean? Well, today, Discovery producer Aaron Harberts and the man himself, Doug Jones, spoke to Entertainment Weekly and detailed a bit more background on Saru, who hails from a race known as the Kelpians.

From Harberts, with EW‘s James Hibbard elaborating:

What we can tell you that adds the context to that clip where he says he can sense the coming of death is that he comes from a planet where he’s a ‘prey species.’ He’s the first of his kind to make it to Starfleet.

On Saru’s planet, there’s a dominant predator species that constantly imperils another weaker species called Kelpiens. As part of the latter group, Saru has evolved with heightened survival instincts. Such prey species tend to have a cowardly reputation in the Federation, but Saru should not be underestimated.

Saru takes in a sight from the Shenzou viewscreen with wonder. (CBS)

Jones also revealed a bit more about Saru’s place among the crew of Starfleet officers with which he serves:

[Producers] said Saru is the Spock of the series, he’s the Data of the series — and those are beloved characters that I always connect with whenever I would watch the past incarnations of ‘Star Trek.’

On ‘Falling Skies,’ I played an alien species who came to Earth to help the humans fight back the bad aliens who’d taken over, and I was intelligent, well-spoken, had a lot of answers and science-y smart. Saru is all of those things and then some.

We’ll learn more about Saru and his people when Discovery debuts in September.