Star Trek: Discovery Cast Talks Star Trek Online, Diversity Issues and the Fight for the Captain’s Chair

Sue Kisenwether (center) with Sonequa Martin-Green and Elio “Elijah” Lleo at PaleyFest New York

Sue Kisenwether (center) with Sonequa Martin-Green and Elio “Elijah” Lleo at PaleyFest New York

This article was contributed by Sue Kisenwether (Women at Warp: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast)

The news continues to roll in from PaleyFest New York this past weekend, and Roddenberry Podcasts Women at Warp and Priority One spoke to some of Discovery’s on-screen talent on the red carpet.

Elijah from Priority One asked Anthony Rapp and Mary Wiseman about their experiences appearing in Star Trek Online. Rapp shared what it was like to bring Paul Stamets to life for the MMO: “It’s like he’s in my soul and in my bones, so it’s kind of like putting on my favorite shirt now. And it was cool to be in a different head space and different environment to just kind of zero-in and focus.”

Later, Wiseman talked about her process of expanding her Mirror Universe character, Killy, for the game. “We only got a little bit of time with Killy, so getting a little bit more time to think about the character and play around was such a gift.”

Next, Wilson Cruz spoke to Elijah about the fact that Culber provides intersectional representation, saying, “It is my honor to represent Latinos in this and my honor to represent the LGBTQ community. It’s an honor because we are part of the world and there is no reason in the world why we wouldn't be a part of it.” Culber’s relationship with fellow crewmember Lt. Paul Stamets, of course, finally gives fans explicit queer representation, but the storyline hasn’t been without its controversy. When I asked Cruz what he hoped fans take away from their story, Cruz answered, “There aren't a lot of examples that I can point to on a personal level of long-term gay male relationships. I longed for examples of that. What does that look like in our community? And part of it is not letting go when it gets tough. It's about staying in it and doing the work and keeping hope alive even under the most dire of circumstances, like death.”

Along similar lines, I had earlier asked Rapp what the next frontier is, in terms of representation for Star Trek. He answered, “I think continuing to explore gender stuff is really important and meaningful, and I think that’s going to be part of our future storytelling.” 

Later, Elijah and I asked Doug Jones and Sonequa Martin-Green about who might end up in the Captain’s Chair. Both actors acknowledged that Saru and Burnham are both qualified and want the position equally for themselves and each other. Should Saru find himself officially with the rank of Captain, he would be the first alien to hold the position on the title ship of a Star Trek show.  But Jones was quick to point out, “What will happen 930 years from now?  [...] What state are we going to find the world and Starfleet in when we get there? We don't know yet.” Martin-Green, when I asked how Burnham will fare in the far future, told me, “Now that we've left everything that we know behind us, and all we have is each other, that is the question we have to ask ourselves. [...] What am I tethered to, personally, now that everything that I've known is behind me except for the people that are right in front of me?”

Both Priority One and Women at Warp will be releasing the complete recordings of these interviews in their podcast feeds today. If you’d like to hear the full interviews, head over to podcasts.roddenberry.com.


This article was written for the podcast Daily Star Trek News.

Sue Kisenwether