It’s been over eleven years since the airing of Star Trek: Enterprise‘s series finale, “These Are the Voyages … “. Since then, three films set in the “Kelvin timeline” have appeared on the big screen. Meanwhile, Star Trek prime fans have had to make do with re-runs on their small screens. As many Trekkies already know, though, this dearth of small-screen Starfleet protocol will end in May of 2017 when Star Trek: Discovery hits the airwaves.
Trek fans know precious little about the new show, but rumours are everywhere. And, although we’ve seen little information concerning when Star Trek: Discovery is set or whether it will comprise multiple crews, Trekkies are now aware, at least, of a few casting choices.
Star Trek: Discovery, Michelle Yeoh – Captain Georgiou
Michelle Yeoh has an impressive résumé in action and martial arts movies. Yeoh’s portrayal of Wai Lin in the Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies made hers a familiar name among Bond fans. And, her lead role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon garnered Yeoh a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in 2000. Beyond her roles in action movies, though, Yeoh was also in the dystopic science-fiction thriller Sunshine.
Yeoh’s relatively well-known name and level of talent make her a great pick for the new series’ captain. Trek fans will have to wait to find out how large a part Yeoh will play in Star Trek: Discovery, though. Some rumour mongers claim that this series will focus more on lower-ranking officers, so let’s talk about them …
Star Trek: Discovery, Doug Jones – Lieutenant Saru
Another recently announced casting choice was Doug Jones as Lt. Saru. Saru will apparently be a member of an alien race that hasn’t yet appeared in other iterations of Star Trek. Considering Jones’s previous roles in Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, and Legion, and his history as a contortionist, Trek fans are understandably excited to see what Lt. Saru will be like. And, with a special effects budget backed by CBS Television Studios, Paramount Television, Roddenberry Entertainment, and Secret Hideout, this excitement is likely warranted.
Star Trek: Discovery, Anthony Rapp – Lieutenant Stamets
Star Trek: Discovery’s third and final casting announcement was Anthony Rapp as Lt. Stamets. Rapp is best known for his original portrayal of Mark Cohen in Jonathan Larson’s Broadway production of Rent, later reprising the role in the film adaptation. That said, what I remember Anthony Rapp best for is his portrayal of Daryl in Adventures in Babysitting.
Rumours currently abound that Lt. Stamets will be the first openly gay character in Star Trek franchise history to appear on the small screen—the same big-screen honour going to John Cho for his portrayal of the Kelvin-timeline Lt. Sulu. Check out this interview with George Takei to find out why he portrayed Star Trek‘s Lt. Sulu as heterosexual.
Beyond possibly being gay, though, Lt. Stamets will be an astromycologist. The fact that astromycology, the study of space fungus, will figure largely enough in Star Trek: Discovery to warrant a recurring character being an expert in the field is, in this Trekkie’s mind, more interesting than rumours of Stamets’s sexuality. One wonders what the creative team has cooked up, maybe an alien race of mushroom-people? Time, and the Star Trek rumour mills, will tell.