2017 is sure to be an exciting year for Star Trek fans, with the launch of the brand new TV series Star Trek: Discovery. Star Trek first hit our TV screens in 1966, but after the cancelation of Star Trek: Enterprise back in 2005, the franchise has existed solely on the big screen. That's finally changing, with Star Trek: Discovery airing on CBS All Access in May 2017, and then due to be streamed worldwide on #Netflix.
We don't know that much about the stars of the show, but the title alone promises a return to Star Trek's iconic roots — it's time to boldly go where we might have gone before! For your Trekkie pleasure, I'm going to keep you in the loop as cast and crew officially join the show.
So without further ado - ENGAGE!
Sonequa Martin-Green as Lieutenant Commander Rainsford
Described as a "sensitive hero", Lt. Commander Rainsford is the lead character of the show. We don't yet know much about the character, but with Sonequa Martin-Green cast as series lead, the fate of her character in The Walking Dead is certainly in question!
Michelle Yeoh as Captain Georgiou
The very first casting news for Star Trek: Discovery was a surprise — #MichelleYeoh will be playing Captain Han Bo, but she won't be sitting on the helm of the U.S.S. Discovery. Instead, she's Captain of the U.S.S. Shenzhou! As my fellow Creator Eleanor has observed, that means the cast of Star Trek: Discovery are divided across two ships; a twist we've not seen in Star Trek fiction before.
This is a particularly interesting casting choice, given that Michelle Yeoh has a demonstrated interest in spiritual roles. Although Star Trek is a science-fiction franchise, it's never shied away from mysticism — as was amply demonstrated by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which happily embraced the Bajoran religion. Michelle Yeoh's casting may well hint at Star Trek's exploration of mysticism is set to continue.
Anthony Rapp as Lieutenant Stamets
#AnthonyRapp has now been confirmed to play the part of Lieutenant Stamets, “an astromycologist, fungus expert and Starfleet science officer on the starship Discovery.” According to Entertainment Weekly, Stamets will be the first Star Trek character originally designed as gay (Lieutenant Sulu has been retconned as gay in the rebooted Star Trek timeline, but wasn't originally conceived to be). Producer Bryan Fuller, who is himself gay, was particularly keen on having at least one gay character in the show.
Anthony Rapp is an actor-author with a background in Broadway. He's been part of cinematic classics such as A Beautiful Mind and Rent, while his TV credits include playing Nathan Forrester in Law & Order: Special Crimes Unit.
(Source: Entertainment Weekly)
Doug Jones as Lieutenant Saru
Rounding out the first announcements, Doug Jones was confirmed to be playing the part of Lieutenant Saru, who will apparently be part of a whole new alien species! Doug is well-known for his flexibility, and can convey a wealth of emotion in even the smallest gesture — one of his first TV roles was in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where he played one of the demons in the award-winning episode "Hush". In Hellboy and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, he gained a reputation for working closely with prosthetic tools to create a cool, otherworldly effect. As he told Wonderlancer:
"What I’ve seen in more recent years is the happy marriage of practical, prosthetic make-up on an actor, coupled with digital enhancements that make a look or certain movements possible that wouldn’t have been possible when I started back in the 80’s.
It may be that his alien role will require use of prosthetics, and his significant experience of working with them would be a potential asset.
Maulik Pancholy as Dr. Nambue
You'll probably know Maulik Pancholy best from 30 Rock, where he played the assistant to Alec Baldwin's Jack Donaghy. Now, though, he's boldly going where he, at least, has never gone before; Pancholy is playing the all-important chief medical officer on the U.S.S. Shenzou! As we all know, the medical officer is a very important role on any Federation starship, so he's sure to be a crucial character.
Chris Obi as T'Kuvma
You may recognize Chris Obi from popular TV shows such as Roots and Death in Paradise, but movie fans will know him better as the Mirror Man from Snow White and the Huntsman. 2017 is shaping up to be a promising year for Chris — as well as appearing in Ghost in the Shell and American Gods, he's now confirmed to play a key role in Star Trek: Discovery. He's playing a Klingon leader whose goal is to forge unity between the warring Klingon houses. It sounds as though he could well be the main villain...
Shazad Latif as Kol
Continuing to round out the Klingon ranks, Shazad Laif — who you'll be most familiar with as Henry Jekyll in Penny Dreadful — has been confirmed as T'Kuvma's protege, Kol. It's too soon to know how major a role Latif will play in the series, but if the Klingons play as large a role as expected, he could be pretty crucial.
Mary Chieffo as L'Rell
A 2015 graduate from the Juilliard School, Mary Chieffo is daughter of actors Beth Grant and Michael Chieffo. She's already taken on many strong female roles from the Shakespeare canon, including Cleopatra, Queen Dionyza, and Queen Elizabeth. This will be her sci-fi debut, and it's sure to be a blast!
Mary is playing L'Rell, a Klingon Battle Deck Commander. We don't yet know much about this role.
So far, other characters who've been cast include Sam Vartholomeos (The Following) as Ensign Connor and Terry Serpico (Sneaky Pete) as Admiral Anderson. CBS has given us literally no other information about these roles, not even how major they are, but it would be highly for an Admiral to be anything more than a recurring character.
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Right now, we only have a handful of confirmed cast members, but we're sure to get more news now that the series is in production. I'll keep you up-to-date with the latest announcements as they break — we Trekkies have to stick together, after all!
Are you looking forward to 'Star Trek: Discovery'?
(Poll Image: CBS)