Rebecca Romijn hosted the Star Trek: Discovery panel at Madison Square Garden as part of New York Comic Con on Saturday.
Romijn is joining the cast this season as Number One, a role originally played Majel Barrett in the original unaired Star Trek pilot in 1965 as well as in reused footage from that pilot in the original series episode “The Menagerie.”
Also in attendance were Producer Alex Kurtzman Ethan Peck (Spock) and Anson Mount (Captain Pike) as well as the show’s main cast.
But fans were surprised to see Michelle Yeoh, who is returning as Empress Georgiou, and Wilson Cruz, whose Dr. Culber was killed last season.
“We find him where we left him,” Cruz said of his character’s role in season 2. “I cannot tell you anything more than that.”
Kurtzman didn’t provide any updates on the upcoming Captain Picard series other than to say, “we have started the ‘Picard Room,’ and we’re four weeks in.”
“Discovery has been an incredible joy this season,” said Kurtzman. “We’re kicking it up a notch.”
A new trailer was screened, which included references to a mysterious “seven signals that have appeared across the galaxy,” visions of a red angel shared by both Spock and Michael, Empress Georgiou being given a Starfleet badge, L’Rell and other Klingons with hair, our first glimpse at Romijn as Number One, and a bearded Spock arriving on Discovery:
“The 7 signals: who sent them and what do they mean is the drive of season 2. There’s a conversation of science vs. faith and what does faith mean?” said Kurtzman. “The Red Angel is the biggest mystery of the seasons. The Red Angel appears to Burnham at a very critical moment. Spock has also seen this Red Angel.”
Empress Georgiou is now working with Section 31, an autonomous, clandestine organization serving to defend Starfleet. “Not everyone knows I’m from the mirror universe, so I get to play the good Captain,” Yeoh said.
Doug Jones promised we’d see more of the Kelpiens. “Season 2 [Saru] finds out something about himself and about being a Kelpien he didn’t already know.” This culminates in an episode on his home planet where we’ll meet Saru’s sister. Jones further teased that we may meet the predator species on that planet who hunt Kelpiens as prey.
Both Jones and Sonequa Martin-Green describe the relationship between Michael and Saru as a sibling one. “That brother-sister relationship goes to another level,” Jones said before letting the audience know we’ll see a naked Kelpien this season.
Mary Chieffo said L’Rell is now the Klingon Chancellor but the male Klingons aren’t happy being led by a woman. According to Chieffo, the new Klingon aesthetic is directly inspired by something explained in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Rightful Heir,” In war, Klingons shave their heads and grow it out again in times of peace. Ash Tyler helps her to find her voice.
“Tilly is so deeply pure and communicates her love for everybody because she doesn’t know anything else, Kurtzman said. “Tilly’s spirit is so tirelessly about finding the best version of herself.”
Tilly’s portrayer Mary Wiseman added, “This is a character who may feel isolated in another world, but this is a universe where everything is possible for her.”
Series newcomer Ethan Peck explained what we can expect from Spock this season: “We have to start Spock in a place where we see how he becomes the Spock we know standing beside Kirk on the bridge of the Enterprise.”
“This season is deeply emotional,” said Green. “It’s a deeply emotional story. You really do get everything this season.” Everything may also include Telosians, the alien race from that initial unaired pilot and Original Series episode “The Menagerie,” as Kurtzman hinted at their return as well.
“This franchise is a beacon for so many people around the world and it’s held up as this utopian ideal where we all appreciate each other regardless of our differences,” said an impassioned Wilson Cruz. “But it’s also about the work we have to put in and the struggle to get there. We can create a world where we really do respect each other.”
Star Trek: Discovery returns to CBS All Access Jan 17.