“As a child, I had the same vision again and again. Now I understand its meaning, and where it must lead.“
Those are the first words the world heard from Star Trek: Discovery’s Spock, played by Ethan Peck. While the news of his casting was announced in August, the newest trailer for the second season of the CBS All Access drama, which premiered Saturday at New York Comic Con, showed him dispensing his first bit of Vulcan wisdom.
In his first panel appearance after the announcement, Peck relayed his experience of finding out he got the part. A simple text from the casting associate that read “Welcome aboard, Mr. Spock” sent him emotionally reeling, as he becomes the newest part to don the famous ears.
Spock is not the only character from Star Trek canon to get introduced into the Discovery universe. Anson Mount dons the gold commander’s uniform in season two as Captain Pike, the predecessor of Captain Kirk and new captain of the Discovery.
“Pike knows a good leader has frailties, and publicly so,” Mount said. “He knows his greatest asset is his crew. What I really like about playing this character is he’s not afraid to admit he’s stumped.”
The drama across the Discovery and Enterprise mirrored those behind the camera. Over the summer, it was announced that Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts were let go as showrunners due to difficulties in the writers’ room. Though series creator Alex Kurtzman took the helm in their departure, Discovery suffered several notable losses, including frequent episodic director Akiva Goldsman. Like any mission seen across several Star Trek franchises, any challenges seemed to be overcome, as Kurtzman happily announced they were approaching shooting the finale of the 13-episode season.
One of the things that will most likely leave Pike in confusion is the main mystery of season two: seven mysterious signals that appear across the universe. “The crew is trying to figure out what they mean,” Kurtzman said. “Are they a path, are they a message? There’s a lot of interesting conversation about science versus faith.”
Mount described the crew’s initial exploration of the seven signals, including Tig Notaro’s guest appearance as an engineer and lone survivor of a demolished ship. He relished at the change in the format the episodes took on for season two. “While they’re maintaining this serialized format, it’s bringing in a classic episodic feel,” he said. “Each episode has its own character, its own question, while maintaining this throughline.”
Another strange specter comes from the image of a “red angel.” The image gets highlighted in the trailer, and its shared appearances from visions from both Spock and his stepsister Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) will draw the two together in the second season. And while Martin-Green is fleshing out familial relations on-screen, she also had an opportunity for real-life blood to make its way onto the show, as she excitedly announced the casting of her husband Kenric Green. “It will be an indelible contribution,” she teased.
Michael’s surrogate brother up to this point, Saru (Doug Jones), has his own journey to go on in the new season, including a trip to his home planet. “He finds out something about what it means to be a Kelpian,” Jones said. “This will be altering and challenging for him. He’s on a path of evolution.”
Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) is undergoing her own metamorphosis. A transfer from the mirror universe, the ruthless empress was recruited into the secretive Section 31. “What they don’t like to do, we get to do really, really well,” she explained after jokingly tell the audience to bow to her. “Not everybody knows that I was from the mirror universe, so sometimes I get to play the good captain: compassionate, kind. And then with Georgiou from Section 31, she’s manipulative, dangerous.”
On the Klingon side of things, L’Rell (Mary Chieffo) has unified the warring houses through a threat of demolition of their home planet. With Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif) by her side, she struggles with the challenges that come with her new role as chancellor.
“There’s something about these archetypal female monsters, everything from Medusa to Medea, that has been told through white male perspective,” Chieffo said with regards to L’Rell embracing her feminity. “We get to see L’Rell from a different perspective, why she did what she did to hold up this vision of unification. She’s trying to figure out a better way to do it and find her own voice.”
Like a hearty dilithium crystal, the notion fueling the entirety of the hour-long panel with the cast and crew was the notion of Star Trek as social commentary. Martin-Green particularly prides the show on its diversity.
“These beings are all so different,” she said. “It makes a mirror to society [because] you see these beings with emotional complexity and making difficult choices. You see them living and breathing as you do. You have to see them having the same struggles as you do, and you see yourselves in them.”
Wilson Cruz, who plays medical officer Hugh Culber, used the power struggles that constantly emerge from applying the prime directive as inspiration to take action politically. “This franchise is a beacon for so many people around the world,” he said. “It’s held up as this utopian idea where we all appreciate each other for our differences, whether it be race, gender or sexual orientation. But it’s about the effort it takes to get there, the work we have to put in to get to that kind of world.”
“It’s a call to arms, and it is a push to rise,” Martin-Green added. “We see what we can be, but we must do what we need to do.”
Check out the new trailer for season two below. Star Trek: Discovery returns Jan. 17, 2019, on CBS All Access.