The news that Patrick Stewart is returning to the Star Trek universe in the role of Jean-Luc Picard dominated not only everyone’s Twitter feeds over the weekend, but also overshadowed all other Trek news coming out of the Star Trek Las Vegas convention. However, there were a few big developments in the final frontier, some of which may have gone undetected because of the understandably huge focus on everyone saying "make it so!" or "engage" constantly.
For example, did you know the Klingons are getting redesigned on Discovery... again? A character thought dead is returning in Season 2? Plus new Deep Space Nine things are happening! Here are four big pieces of Trek news that dropped during Star Trek Las Vegas, plus what it all means.
Somehow, Kenneth Mitchell is returning for Discovery Season 2
During one panel at the convention, Kenneth Mitchell, the actor who played the Klingon Kol in Season 1 of Star Trek: Discovery, revealed he's returning to the series! Fellow panelist Mary Chieffo (who plays L'Rell) on the show said: "Jean-Luc Picard is back, and Kenneth Mitchell is back."
Notably, neither Mitchell or Chieffo have said that Michell's character Kol is back, just that himself Mitchell is back. Presumably, Kol died in episode 9, the Discovery mid-season finale "Into the Forest I Go," when Michael Burnham successful destroyed the giant Klingon sarcophagus ship. But, because Discovery jumped into the Mirror Universe right after that moment, we don't know for sure if Kol died or not.
It Mitchell is returning as Kol, then that means he either escaped the destruction of that ship, time travel is involved, this Kol is from an alternate dimension or he's a clone. If Mitchell is returning as a different Klingon, then it's possible he'll be one of Kol's relatives. After all, Kol is part of "House Kor," which is a reference to the very first Klingon ever, Kor, played by John Colicos in the original series episode "Errand of Mercy." Could Mitchell return to play Kor himself?
The Klingons will be redesigned again, including L’Rell
During the same panel about Klingons, Mary Chieffo hinted at details about what's next for her character, L'Rell. At the end of Season 1, L'Rell basically took over the entire Klingon Empire. "It is a time of peace and there is a certain aesthetic that comes with that. We are not at war, so I tease that there is not only a Klingon aesthetic change, there is a Chancellor aesthetic that L'Rell gets to embody," Chieffo said.
The idea that the Klingons will be redesigned, yet again, was reinforced by makeup designer Glenn Hetrick who said: "You're gonna be blown away that the Klingons have a new look going into Season 2." This quote was also specifically retweeted by the official Star Trek: Discovery Twitter account, meaning that it's pretty clear this fact is something the powers-that-be want fans to be aware of.
But why would the Klingons get redesigned again? Well, for one thing, the original series Klingons look nothing like the Klingons from the rest of Star Trek, specifically because they don’t have forehead ridges at all. In the prequel series Enterprise, this was retconned thanks to a virus the Klingons got from some genetically augmented humans. But now, it seems like a new Klingon aesthetic might happen for different reasons.
Some fans had long speculated that the more human-looking Klingons existed in the original series because the Klingons specifically genetically modified themselves to blend-in better with different cultures. If L’Rell and other Klingons (like Tyler/Voq) end up looking more “human” in the new series, this fan theory could become a reality. Either way, if some explanation for the initial Discovery redesign is offered on screen, it could be viewed as late-game damage control since so many fans were confused/frustrated by the comprehensive redesign of the Klingons in season 1.
Discovery Blu-ray and DVD finally coming in November
Though you can stream all of Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 anytime on CBS All-Access in the United States (or Netflix globally) the show hasn’t been available on home video, yet. But, that will change on November 16, 2018. At Star Trek Las Vegas, CBS confirmed that the Blu-ray of the first season will contain a ton of special features, including deleted scenes.
Obviously, for fans, the deleted scenes will be the most interesting, simply because Discovery went through so many behind-the-scenes changes during its first season. Tonally, the first two episodes, "The Vulcan Hello" and "Battle at the Binary Stars," feel like a slightly different series than the rest of the first season.
So, are there more deleted scenes featuring Burnham, and Captain Georgiou on the USS Shenzhou? It seems likely that there are, and of all the deleted scenes these will be the most interesting. And then of course, there’s that scene in which Mirror Georgiou is recruited by Section 31 after the events of the Season 1 finale. Obviously, this scene will have to be included in the Blu-ray since it seems to indicate a major plot development for Season 2.
New ‘Deep Space Nine’ documentary could lead to HD remastering of the whole show
Since 2017, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine co-executive producer Ira Steven Behr has been working on a documentary about the '90s Trek spin-off called What We Left Behind. At the Las Vegas convention, Behr said that he and the team behind the doc were "committed" to a 2018 release, meaning that sometime before the end of the year, DS9 fans are going to freak out.
Behr also mentioned that the main thing left to do on the documentary is to replace all the standard-definition clips from Deep Space Nine with HD clips. Unlike the original series, The Next Generation, and Enterprise, the Trek series Deep Space Nine and Voyager were not remastered in HD, meaning that the picture quality on the most current DVDs is relatively low compared to some of the other shows. Behr hopes that in remastering selected scenes from Deep Space Nine for this documentary, that it could open the door for the entire series to be remastered, too. For hardcore fans, this would be great news, but it would be a great development for people who have never seen the show, too. Because so many Trek fans like to tell their non-Trekkie friends that Deep Space Nine is the best of all the series, it would be nice if watching that show didn’t make it look like a grainy, embarrassing show from the distant past.
At present, there is no specific release date for What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.