If you’ve been watching Star Trek: Discovery this season, you’ve been set up with high expectations for the rest of Season 2. Today at PaleyFest – one of television’s preeminent festivals – some of the big guns of the series gathered at the historic Dolby Theatre in Hollywood to set those expectations even higher.
“We are entirely aware of everyone’s questions and criticisms; I’ve read everything, and I see where everyone’s like, ‘Well, the spore drive never existed!’ and ‘What, Discovery was never around!’ and all of those things, we’re totally aware. You will get an answer,” exec producer Alex Kurtzman told SYFY WIRE. But will that answer be satisfying? “I damn well think so, yes.”
“I personally think that the end of the season is going to be tremendous … when [Kurtzman] first told me about it I was like in tears, I just had chills... so good,” said Ethan Peck (Spock).
“I think that the last few episodes will really close the circle for people. If we’ve done our job, what was on the page … I haven’t seen them yet, but what was on the page in the scripts, closes the circle; it answers the questions that are lingering and remaining for people of how we fit in,” said Anthony Rapp (Lt. Commander Paul Stamets). “And I believe very strongly that it will leave people satisfied. … As someone who cares about continuity, to some degree, I was like, ‘If this doesn’t make people happy, I don’t know what else we can do.’”
“Expect the unexpected, is what my mother always says, and it couldn’t be more true, especially on this season, cause it’ll change everything,” said Wilson Cruz (Dr. Hugh Culber).
“As I read the final script for Season 2, my jaw dropped, and I’m dumbfounded with where we’re headed. So I think the fans can expect to boldly go where no Star Trek series has ever gone before,” said Doug Jones (Commander Saru).
So yeah, Season 2 sounds like it will fulfill and exceed all our expectations. Of course, part of those expectations have been particularly pumped by the inclusion of Captain Pike this season, as played by Anson Mount, a storied figure in Trek lore, who’s been around from the get-go, but who we still didn’t know much about, having only seen him in a couple of episodes of the original series, and a couple of the rebooted films. With the recent news that Mount won’t be returning for Season 3, we wondered about where this season of Discovery will leave Pike’s legacy, and how Mount has helped to secure that.
“We will synch up with canon, and obviously if you know the story of Captain Pike, you know what his fate was. It won’t be exactly what you think this season, but we will be consistent with that story. There will be a dimension shed on that story that you will not have known or have thought of,” said Kurtzman.
“If anything it’s not going to feel like a sendoff, because I think that’s what everyone thinks is going to happen. I think it will just become incredibly clear why he’s not continuing on, cause he has to go do TOS, so we have to make sense of that,” said executive producer Heather Kadin.
“Pike has been an iconic character for the longtime fans of the show for so long, and I feel like people have sort of imagined what kind of captain he would be like, because you got such a small glimpse of it. I feel like he’s, for so may people, satisfied their hopes for what kind of captain he would be,” said Rapp. “For me he’s a really nice blend of Kirk and Picard. He has Picard’s sense of letting people be themselves, but he’s a little bit more laid back, and not a cowboy like Kirk, but he’s a little bit more willing to break some rules sometimes. I just think Anson brings incredible presence with that.”
“Captain Pike was so unexplored in a lot of ways, you know, he was only in 'The Cage' and 'The Menagerie,' and Anson’s really brought it to life, like he’s never been before. And I think he’s done such an amazing job, I just admire the heck out of him as an actor and as a captain,” said Peck. “There’s some things upcoming that I think will prove to be very exciting for fans of Captain Pike.”
“I think what Anson brings to it is a little wink and a nod and a sexiness and assuredness and confidence that you want in your leaders. I know that I’d like to have my leader at the moment show such confidence,” said Cruz. “There’s a confidence in which he doesn’t feel like he has to boast, he lives in the confidence of who he is and his abilities. You don’t question him; it never occurs to you that he’s going to lead you astray, and that’s the comfort of Captain Pike. And I think he’s filled that out really beautifully for the canon.”
“To get more of a backstory on him now has been delicious. And who could have played him better than Anson Mount? I think he is doing such a beautiful job; he’s like the perfect captain. He’s strong, authoritative, but he’s also very warm and nurturing to his crew,” said Jones. “We knew going in that we only had him temporarily, because we borrowed him from the Enterprise, right? … He and Spock have to go back, and Rebecca Romijn as Number One, we can’t hold them all forever or the original series can’t play as it was filmed. But with him inevitably leaving, what does that do to the captain’s chair?”
Indeed, what happens when Pike is out of the picture? We have two commanders onboard the U.S.S. Discovery, Jones’ Saru and Soequa Martin-Green’s Commander Michael Burnahm, both of whom are equally capable.
“What happens with us now, instead of elbowing each other to try to compete for the captain’s chair one day, like we were doing in Season 1, we are now really supportive of each other,” said Jones. “I don’t want to get in her way of the captain’s chair, and she doesn’t want to get in my way either. So what happens there is anyone’s guess, the writers have not shared with me where we’re going with that.”
That’s a lot of Discovery expectations to think about for one day. But the Trek universe is vast and varied, so perhaps now it's time to have Kurtzman set up a whole new set of expectations for the upcoming Jean-Luc Picard spinoff.
The last four episodes of Star Trek: Discovery are coming down the pike (sorry) Thursdays on CBS All Access.