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Star Trek showrunner reveals the truth behind Discovery’s robot officer

Contributed by
Oct 24, 2017

We’re six episodes in on CBS All Access’ freshly renewed Star Trek: Discovery, and no doubt fans have noticed the female robot on Captain Lorca’s (Jason Isaacs) bridge. But did you know there’s actually more than meets the eye about the robotic Starfleet officer?

During this week’s Star Trek: Discovery live after-show After Trek (via CBR), showrunner Gretchen J. Berg and FX makeup artists Neville Page and Glenn Hetrick opened up about the mysterious character of Airiam (Sara Mitich), revealing the robot isn’t really a robot, but (Spoiler Alert!) an augmented human. Say what?

“There was a sketch,” Berg told After Trek. “I remember for Episode 3, because you [Page] had done a lot of concept sketches of different creatures, of different augmented humans, and I remember at one point, like, Akiva Goldsman, who’s an amazing executive producer on the show and was directing Episode 3, ran through the office at one point and was like, ‘I want Plate Face, I call Plate Face!’ We were like, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ but he fell in love with that sketch, and sometimes it’s that — you start from there: Who is this character? What is she about? And her name became Airiam, She’s kind of a favorite in the [writers’] room; we love her. She’s fantastic.”

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In Star Trek history, augmented humans or rather Augments were genetically engineered humans often identified with Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalban, Benedict Cumberbatch) and the Eugenics War, but there were also Klingons.

During Star Trek: The Original Series (set 10 yeas after Discovery) the Klingons were unsuccessful in their attempts to bio-engineer super-warriors by using augmented human embryos, creating a virus which ultimately resulted in this:

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Instead of this:

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There's more. Hetrick metioned the possibility of Airiam also being “modular” in that she could be able to use a number of custom attachments. Hetrick added: “We talked about seeing different of — I mean, there’s so many iterations to arrive at where she’s at. You, just kind of going through the sketches, saw some of the fleshier versions and hard surfacing. Then it became this cool white silicone, so I feel like she could evolve more.”

(via CBR)