The Star Trek: Discovery panel in Hall H on Friday afternoon at San Diego Comic-Con provided fans with plenty of insight into the upcoming second season of the sci-fi adventure. StarTrek.com previously reported about attendees being treated to a season two trailer and details about the Star Trek: Short Treks.
Here are the 8 Takeaways from the Discovery Panel (and press conference):
1. Number One
Anson Mount, who will play Captain Pike in season two, revealed that Rebecca Romijn will play Number One, the role famously played by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry in the first Star Trek: The Original Series pilot, “The Cage.” Romijn excitedly confirmed the news in a Tweet moments after Mount’s announcement. Romijn is best known for playing Mystique in the first three X-Men movies, and also counts among her credits The Librarians and Ugly Betty.
2. Short Treks for the Holidays
The four Short Treks will roll out monthly beginning in December, Kurtzman revealed during the press conference. As previously reported, they will be standalone stories, each running approximately 10-15 minutes. Each short will be an opportunity for deeper storytelling and the exploration of key characters [including Saru (Doug Jones), Harry Mudd (Rainn Wilson, who will also direct his short) and a new character, Craft, to be played by Aldis Hodge] and themes which fit into Discovery and the expanding Star Trek universe.
3. Wilson Cruz Is Back
No one would reveal how Wilson Cruz’s Dr. Hugh Culber will return to Discovery following the character’s demise in season one, but be back he will. A smiling, joking Cruz said of his SDCC Discovery panel appearance, “I'm not here just to say hello… although, hello.” Later, discussing what the future may hold for Culber and Stamets, Cruz said, “We can tell you that there is a relationship to begin with… I think we’re going to learn a lot more individually about these two men, and together. I think we’re going to deepen this relationship and these characters.
4. Presenting Chancellor L’Rell
Fear not, anyone who worried that L’Rell might not play as large a part is season two as she did in season one. She will, with the formidable Klingon ascending to the title of Chancellor. “She is trying to be the best Chancellor she can be, of this patriarchal empire,” Mary Chieffo said. The actress also noted that she’d been attending Comic-Con for years as a fan and thus remains overwhelmed by actually sitting on the stage these days. “I've dreamed of being on a panel in Hall H,” the actress said, “and to be part of a show I believe in and playing a character that is so incredibly empowered and complex, it's so moving to be here."
5. The Anti-Lorca
Captain Pike, both series creator and executive producer Alex Kurtzman and Mount explained, will be a very, very different character from season one's Captain Gabriel Lorca. “What I love about Pike, and this is what I took from Jeffrey Hunter’s performance and, to some degree, the Pike that we did in the movies, is that he’s a man who is very kind, who has tremendous authority, and yet can still apologize when he’s wrong. So, in many ways, he’s the opposite of Lorca.” Added Mount, “Pike was Roddenberry’s original face of Star Trek. I only knew that there’s a tremendous optimism to this person and a good heart, and that he’s someone who probably had good mentors…. I’m really enjoying playing a character I like as a person.”
6. Tyler and L’Rell
What went down between Ash Tyler and L’Rell in season one will be addressed in season two. “There are certain conversations between Tyler and L'Rell that need to happen … and they do,” Mary Chieffo promised. “There's a lot to be explored… and seen."
Fans could feel Spock’s presence in the season two teaser trailer, as Burnham tells Saru "Spock is linked to these signals. And he needs help." The trailer did not however, show the iconic Vulcan’s face. That will change sometime in season two, according to Kurtzman, who stated, "I can tell you that, yes, you will be seeing Spock this season."
8. Canon Fodder
As the revelations involving the Enterprise, Captain Pike and Number One suggest, there will be ties between Discovery and Star Trek canon, Kurtzman acknowledged, saying, "You will get those answers next season, guaranteed. You're just not going to get them the way you expect them.” And to the person who asked if connecting to canon will mean Easter eggs, the executive producer replied, "Yes, there definitely will be. We're syncing up with canon this year, so you'll see quite a few (Easter eggs).”