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.

Mary Chieffo’s “L’Rell” DISCOVERY character poster.

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.

DISCOVERY Klingon costumes of House T’Kuvma, seen at Comic-Con, and on display Thursday at STLV.

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.

Mary Chieffo as L’Rell.

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.

MITCHELL: Machiavellian.

CHIEFFO: Yeah.

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!

CHIEFFO: Yeah!

TREKCORE: Are we going to see Kor on Discovery?

MITCHELL: No.

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.

Kenneth Mitchell as Kol.

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.

TREKCORE: Finally – Mary, you are the first person here who heard the theme music in person…

CHIEFFO: Yes!

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!

Mitchell (giving his best Klingon scowl) and Chieffo in front of the Torchbearer prop at STLV.

Stay tuned to TrekCore for our next interview, with Starfleeters Sam Vartholomeos and Wilson Cruz!

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  • Quintillion Tesla

    Kol looks Fierce!

  • The Science Fiction Oracle

    I saw a him drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic’s

    I’d like to meet his tailor

  • Thomas Elkins

    I had a feeling the other Houses were going to look the same as the other DSC Klingons we’ve seen, despite the fact they said they only looked different because they were from other Houses. I suppose it could be argued that Kol leads the House of Kor because Kor is an augment virus Klingon and considered unfit to rule the House. They did fear their disfigurement would make them outcasts, so they could always go that route and show a group of Klingon minorities rising above prejudice in order to earn their place in the Empire. Or their explanations are empty and they just don’t want to admit they purposely changed everything. I’d prefer a canon explanation, but it seems “canon” is going extinct and they’ll just change everything because screw it.

    It is interesting that Kol doesn’t appear to have an elongated skull, however. The other House may actually deform their skulls on purpose after all. I have to say they look better without it. Now if only he had hair, a goatee and two nostrils.

  • Eric Cheung

    It’s interesting that the differences between Klingon houses in DSC are signified by costuming, whereas in the Berman-era, they were distinguished by their ridges. One change that I think is positive is the move away from the Berman-era that women aliens no longer have to conform to Hollywood standards of beauty. They can have functional, dignified, and alien looking costuming and makeup. In the interviews with Berman, Braga, and Westmore, they always stressed the need to make women characters “sexy,” a standard men were not held to.

  • VulcanCafe

    Is that Klingon… purple?

    • ButtonShoes

      Yup. Once again, CBS manages to screw things up.

    • Pedro Ferreira

      A little. CBS need to sell sweets okay?!

  • Fiery Little One

    Interesting.

  • SpaceCadet

    Kenneth Mitchell is really handsome. Too bad he’ll be buried under all of that makeup!

    • The Bandsaw Vigilante

      Just belatedly realized that Kenneth Mitchell played Skeet Ulrich’s brother on CBS’s Jericho several years back. Huh.

  • ButtonShoes

    Those. are. not. KLINGONS. That is Kelvin-timeline wannabe-Klingon trash. God, just say that Discovery is in the Kelvin Timeline already so we can ignore it!

    • iMike

      Except they are.

      • Tom Cruise Never Phones It IN

        No.

  • Tom Cruise Never Phones It IN

    So the Klingons are Xindi?

  • Pedro Ferreira

    It’s all about housing isn’t it…