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SYFY WIRE Star Trek: Discovery

Star Trek: Discovery crewmember makes surprise return as series regular

By Brian Silliman

There was a lot of heartache in the first season of Star Trek: Discovery, but it looks like things are going to lighten up a little. We saw some crew members go through some terrible things, experience enormous loss, and not everyone survived. As Spock once said, however, "there are always possibilities."

One member of the Discovery family that we thought was gone for good? Yeah, turns out that they made a little trip to the Genesis Planet. The premiere of Season 2 confirms this character's return, and SYFY WIRE confirmed it with the performer on the red carpet before the premiere aired.

**SPOILER WARNING: Major (major) spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 are about to be uncovered. If you don't want to be spoiled (or are not caught up) then go to Black Alert and use that spore drive to get out of this article as quickly as possible.**

Many fans were very upset by the sudden death of Doctor Hugh Culber, played by Wilson Cruz. Well, surprise! To quote Cruz himself, "I come back." Though he and his partner, Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp), have been through a lot, at least the good Doctor is back where he belongs.

Did Cruz know that this was always the way it would work out? As he told SYFY WIRE on the red carpet, "There was a brief moment where I thought that was it, and then the producers quickly let me know that I would be back." He adds, "I didn’t know exactly to what extent, but then I got a series regular offer before we started Season 2." 

Not only is Dr. Culber back on the Discovery, but Wilson Cruz is now in the main credits.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Red Carpet- Wilson Cruz

Cruz had plenty more to offer other than (rightfully) celebrating his return. The theme of the night very much seemed to be family, and the Discovery cast is now famous for being very close offscreen. According to Cruz, this obviously has an effect on the performances.

“I think that fact that we’re creating a show about how we stand up for each other, I think we’re creating a family on this crew, and the fact that we created one off-camera really helps us tell that story," he says. "Also, there’s an element of trust when you’re working with someone that you like. There’s an ability to be more vulnerable and more honest in your performance when you’re working with someone you respect, and who you adore. There isn’t one person in this cast that I don’t feel that way about."

The off-screen camaraderie especially kicks in when working with co-star Anthony Rapp, who Cruz has known for 20 years.

As he said, “Twenty years of friendship, and you know, we literally created this relationship out of the respect and love we have for each other for 20 years. I think he’s a brilliant performer and an amazing human being, and so I based my character’s feelings on that experience. I think because of that we were able to just jump right in, there was no warming up to it."

Yes, they are the first openly gay male couple in televised Star Trek, but the way that the show treated it like any other ordinary relationship was key for Cruz. “I think the fact that we were introduced in the way that we were really drives that home," he said, adding, "It wasn’t a big deal, we were introduced as officers first, in our respective roles, and then we found out that they were in a relationship. That was important because we needed people to know that first and foremost these are individuals who have their own goals and ambitions, but they’re also together, and that was secondary."

Now that the good doctor is back, what can we expect from the new season? "What I love about Season 2 is that so much happened in Season 1 that we can now deal with," Cruz said. "There are real consequences around what happened to me. Most of Season 2 is about the ramifications of that.”

The premiere of Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 is available to stream right now on CBS All Access.

UPDATE: This story has been updated.