Out here in Las Vegas, we just wrapped up a marathon of Star Trek: Discovery panels, with one very special first-time appearance with Discovery cast members Mary Chieffo, Kenneth Mitchell, Sam Vartholomeos, and Wilson Cruz – and we were able to spend a few minutes with the Klingons for a conversation on Klingon houses, theme music, and more!
TREKCORE: So today is your first roll-out to fans as Klingons! Mary, you got your character poster yesterday – have you seen that hanging out in the lobby?
MARY CHIEFFO: Yeah! And then Kol just his first image release today, which is really exciting!
KENNETH MITCHELL: Maybe I’ll get a poster.
CHIEFFO: We’ll get you a poster! L’Rell is a good poster. It looks awesome.
TREKCORE: Ken, you said on stage that you and your son “play Klingons” at home now?
MITCHELL: I’m serious! Pretty much every day now, he puts a tennis racket in my hand, and he says, “Dad, this is the mek’leth!”
TREKCORE: Have to teach him about the Klingon weapons early! So, these costumes on display – they’re neither of yours, correct?
CHIEFFO: No, these [are from] House T’Kuvma. Because I’m a battle-deck commander, I’m in white and have white rubies to show my status. So there are a few other Klingons of that rank, but these are more [like] worker bees, for lack of a better term.
TREKCORE: So what can you tell us about L’Rell? You said she’s a ‘battle-deck commander,’ but what does that mean?
CHIEFFO: When you first meet her, yes. She is T’Kuvma’s battle-deck commander, and she – in more layman’s terms – is his chief strategist as well as his [battle] campaign manager, in a certain way. But she’s also a fierce warrior. There have been a few images in the trailer you kind of see the Klingons with the visors – L’Rell and the helmets – [and that] is kind of my domain. I help conduct that.
I joke that I do a lot of the brainstorming and grunt work and let T’Kuvma to all the talking because he’s the man in charge. A fun fact of L’Rell that I am allowed to talk about now, is that she’s a woman of two Klingon houses. So her father was House T’Kuvma, but her her mother was House Mokai, which is this matriarchal Klingon house that is known for being spies.
We’re kind of deceptive; we work in the shadows – which is part of why L’Rell works the way she does within T’Kuvma’s ship. That’s the kind of flavor of L’Rell that you get so she has kind of both worlds – she’s fierce and strong, but she knows how to manipulate a situation to her advantage in a way that I don’t know that you’ve quite seen in Klingon world. It’s a little different.
TREKCORE: Ken, today you revealed that Kol is part of the House of Kor – that’s a big name!
MITCHELL: Not just part, he’s the leader!
TREKCORE: He’s the leader? Well that implies a whole bunch of different things!
TREKCORE: Are we going to see Kor on Discovery?
CHIEFFO: It’s all about Kol, all the time!
MITCHELL: I just love it because [“Errand of Mercy”] is like my favorite episode. When I heard that, from the House of Kor – whether we see [the character or not] – I was like, “Yes!”
TREKCORE: The connection itself was enough for you.
MITCHELL: The connection, yeah… It implies so much.
TREKCORE: Now, Kol’s wardrobe and styling, as you said today, is due to his being part of a different house – more leather in his costuming, and so forth.
MITCHELL: Yeah – and I have a fur cape, which distinguishes my position as the leader [as like] a status symbol.
CHIEFFO: I think it’s going to be really fun to see that every house is very distinct, from Gersha Phillips, our costume designer.
MITCHELL: And those unique markings on Kol’s [head]…
CHIEFFO: Oh, yeah!
MITCHELL: It’s very ‘Braveheart’-like. It’s kind of like war paint.
— Star Trek: Discovery (@startrekcbs) August 2, 2017
TREKCORE: Finally – Mary, you are the first person here who heard the theme music in person…
TREKCORE: What was your reaction to hearing that – was it your first time, at the TCAs on Tuesday?
CHIEFFO: It was my first time hearing that music, and I can say that everyone was crying! I mean, like I can’t attest to everyone in the room, but the panel – I turned to Sonequa [Martin-Green] and Jason [Isaacs]… it’s really all that one could hope for, in the way that this is all about paying homage but continuing to strengthen and reinvent – kind of a perfect balance.
That was when [I looked] at Sonequa and seeing her as our leader, and seeing the theme on her face, it’s really moving. I’m really thrilled.
MITCHELL: It really reverberates, especially with that orchestra.
CHIEFFO: And our composer [Jeff Russo] is, you know, a Trek fan, and there was someone in the [orchestra performance] video wearing Spock ears!
TREKCORE: We’re all looking forward to hearing it, too!
Stay tuned to TrekCore for our next interview, with Starfleeters Sam Vartholomeos and Wilson Cruz!