In the newest edition of SFX magazine, released today in the UK, writer Joseph McCabe caught up with the Star Trek: Discovery cast to get some more detail on the series and their characters.
(Note: Images below are from previous ‘Discovery’ media releases.)
Series lead Sonequa Martin-Green (Michael Burnham) started off by giving a deeper picture of “cross-culturalism,” a central tenant of the show.
It’s such a phenomenal picture of acculturation; the ideal, the utopia, is one where acculturation happens without assimilation.
Where I am able to take on the processes and customs and rituals of your culture without losing those of mine, and we can come together. Because you have the original culture you were born in, but then, so often, we have so many examples in human history of that core culture being lost.
‘Star Trek’ explores that, always has, and certainly explores it to the next level with our show. Where we see how you and I can come together. How can I maintain who I am, fully empathize and appreciate who you are, and then how do we have that two-way exchange?
That’s, gosh, it’s gorgeous. It’s the most powerful thing about ‘Star Trek,’ and about our iteration of ‘Star Trek.’
Co-star Mary Wiseman (Cadet Sylvia Tilly) also expanded upon the themes examined in the series.
It’s about the merging of cultures without colonialism. That’s what’s idealistic about it now, if you think about america right now and the people that are coming into contact with cultures and frustrated by a lack of assimilation.
This is a world where there is space for all.
In addition to the Burnham and Sarek character details previewed in yesterday’s news roundup, cast members Anthony Rapp (Paul Stamets)and Doug Jones (Saru) also shared some more insight into their new roles.
Rapp recaps what we know about astromycologist Paul Stamets:
Saru’s sort of the general science officer that you think of in Trek, [whereas] my science officer is really honing in on a specific project based in my science, which is astromycology, the study of space fungus/mushrooms, which is based in real science.
My character is named after a real scientist, living and working today doing incredible work in the field of mycology, and all the various implications that it can have in our lives on this planet.
Doug Jones, the resident alien of the cast, expanded upon Saru and his transformation to become the non-human character.
I play Lieutenant Saru, and I’m a Kelpien, an alien species that’s never been seen in the ‘Star Trek’ canon ever before. I’m the first of my kind to leave our home planet and go to Starfleet Academy. So i’m very upwardly mobile with something to prove.
I’ve been equated with gazelles a lot, so they’re celebrating the long and lanky of me. They put me in high hoof-foot shoes/boots, much like for ‘Pan’s Labyrinth.’ I’m six-eight in the show. I’m very tall and they have not hidden my skinniness at all. I’m in a tight Starfleet uniform.
There’s a grace to him, absolutely, and a beauty to him… but if pushed into a corner he could kick your ass too.
Jones also shared his thoughts on the cast of characters as a whole, that each one is explored to great depths throughout the first year.
Each character is like an onion – there are many layers to peel back and discover over the course of the series. I think the phrase ‘things aren’t what they seem’ applies to everyone sitting here right now.
Rapp continues on the same topic, but also shares his thoughts on the Sarek/Burnham relationship revealed at SDCC:
We’ve talked a lot about the level of grit and the intense storylines, but there’s also some nice doses of humour. It’s also very grounded in character.
But i think what distinguishes it in some ways is all the characters are going to evolve. It’s not just like you’re visiting them every week on a new mission. You’re seeing them evolve and be affected, and affect each other, by the events of the plot, which has enormous twists and turns.
Those things are very different from what you’ve seen in ‘Star Trek’ before. It’s not like we just solve the dilemma of the week.
As somebody who’s not in [the Sarek/Burnham] relationship, and somebody who loves the history of the relationship between Sarek and Spock, what happens between them also gives so much more resonance to the relationship of Sarek and Spock.
It’s this crazy thing. It’s beautiful and it also makes those things that much beautiful. The ability to do that while respecting that and then also enlarging it is amazing. As a fan, I read it and went, ‘that is so incredible.’
Finally, both Jones and Martin-Green expounded upon their experience watching Star Trek, with Martin-Green revealing that she’s not only played catch-up on the Original Series, but that she’s also been spending time in the Archer-era Star Trek: Enterprise world as well.
I was born in 1960. When the Original Series was on TV, i watched it with my family in its first run on the night that you would have to watch it or you would miss it, back in the days when you didn’t have DVD or streaming. So I’ve actually grown up with it, truly, from my childhood on.
My connection was always Spock. He was tall and lanky, by the way. So being one of those tall and lanky kids, I connected with him as being the oddball in the room. I love his delivery, the way he articulated himself. It was just so different and curious.
Martin-Green on why she’s sticking to the early days of Starfleet:
When I did a deep dive after I got the role, I started with TOS, and it is my favourite. But because we are a prequel 10 years before TOS, I stayed in the TOS and ‘Enterprise’ world. I started binging ‘Enterprise’ as well because there’s such a Vulcan presence in that show, at least in the first season for sure. That really spoke to me.
Of course I, like so many others, just fell in love with Leonard [Nimoy]’s work. Also, it was quite a tremendous experience, very surreal, to watch TOS and see him as someone that I grew up with as burnham. It’s like, ‘Hey brother!’
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