"We are warriors!"
That was the rally cry Star Trek: Discovery guest star Rainn Wilson let out as he took the stage at San Diego Comic-Con to moderate the CBS All Access drama's inaugural panel. With the series set to debut on CBS All Access in September, the panel served as the first real chance Star Trek diehards had to see anything from the show, outside of the previously released trailer.
Once onstage, the cast was able to offer a little insight into their characters and how they fit together in the larger Star Trek universe. However, they also brought some pretty big news for fans of Broadway musical Rent. When asked if his character, Officer Paul Stamets, the first openly gay character on a Star Trek TV series, would have a love interest, original Rent star Anthony Rapp dropped a bombshell announcement.
Not only will Stamets be in a relationship, but it will be with another officer aboard the USS Shenzhou. That character will be played by none other than Wilson Cruz, who had a role as Angel in Jonathan Larson's Rent. While Cruz's character hasn't been given a name just yet, Rapp is pleased that he will get to bring this new dimension to a Starfleet officer.
The cast also tackled the ongoing controversy over diversity on the series. When it was announced that The Walking Dead alum Sonequa Martin-Green would lead the series as First Officer Michael Burnham while Michelle Yeoh portrays Capt. Philippa Georgiou, the cast and creators were surprised by some of the negativity online.
"Star Trek has always been a pictorial of diversity and of universality and of unity," Martin-Green says. "If you say you love the legacy of Star Trek but you don't love that, then you've missed it. I encourage you to join with us."'
Jason Isaacs (Capt. Gabriel Lorca) adds, "It's kind of weird that some people had a problem with a woman leading the ship. I don't know if you've heard but there's about to be a woman Doctor Who and she's going to crush it."
The cast and producers also revealed a few tidbits about what fans should expect from the story when Discovery debuts. While it was previously reported that Burnham's mentor on the series would be Sarek (James Frain), the Vulcan father of Spock, Martin-Green says that he actually acts as her surrogate father, raising her in the planet Vulcan after her parents' death.
Additionally, it can't be overstated how big a piece the Klingon race plays in the first season. Set 10 years before the original Star Trek series, Discovery finds Starfleet in a dispute with the Klingons. The producers are quick to point out they don't want the alien race to simply be viewed as the villain, though. Instead, it wants to also explore their point of view, which means fans should expect plenty of dialogue in their native tongue.
"Because of the story we're telling about the Klingons in this season of Star Trek, it was very important for us that they speak Klingon with subtitles," executive producer Gretchen H. Berg says.
As for how the conflict between Starfleet and the Klingons will be portrayed, given that Starfleet is a peaceful organization, executive producer Akiva Goldsman says, "We're having them come at each other. We're trying to show how conflict is solved by peace. Some things some of our characters make the wrong decisions in trying to alleviate that, but at the end of the day we have to come together."
The series, which has faced two production delays and seen original showrunner Bryan Fuller exit, is CBS All Access' first original scripted series. Comic-Con was the show's public unveiling with the cast taking the stage together for their first time. And judging from the massive line to get into Ballroom 20 and the response to the Trekkies assembled inside, the show passed its first test.
Check out the new trailer, below. Star Trek: Discovery premieres Sept. 24 on CBS All Access.