Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Be There Klingons? Be There New Cast?


We start by wishing Andrew Mackay all the best for the future.

Because he's gonna need it after snapping away on the set of Star Trek Discovery and probably ending his career as an extra forevermore. Thanks to Stella the Star Trek dog (Nick Meyer's pooch) for letting us know he's gone on Twitter.

Bless him as he has given us a nice shot of what might be Klingons. Admittedly on his caption Mr Mackay does note he is hanging around backstage with his "Klingon crew" but there have been suggestions they aren't Klingons and Mackay himself has indicated he might have got his facts wrong and was just guessing that these are the legendary Star Trek nemeses.

The armour they are wearing in the leaked photo is consistent with the outer wear that appeared in the teaser trailer for the release-date-TBC series and that in turn bears the layered hallmarks of Klingon armour from the movies and TV series. In some senses it also looks not too dissimilar to the costumes worn by the Remans in Nemesis and therefore (due to reuse) the Xindi Reptilians from Enterprise. Personally I think that these are going to be Klingons and that Discovery is re-imagining the warrior race. From the back though it does bear a striking resemblance to the Klingon uniforms of the movies in the shape of the lower half. The shoulder spikes are an interesting touch and so is the fan-like design at the top which does look distinctly reptilian. 

After all The Original Series didn't have the ridges (Enterprise explained that away nicely) nor the armour and The Motion Picture upped the ante by adding those elements - effectively a re-imagining itself. Notably though in the movie the ridges extended right around the skull which is only evident again on General Chang and "confirmed" to some degree in Ethics when we got to see Worf's ridged back during his spinal operation. Interestingly the armour itself has a very similar spinal, ridged design...just saying....

Indeed the look of the Klingons stayed solidly the same from 1979 through The Next Generation up to Enterprise. The look is familiar, the style is settled and the next big change came firstly from the helmeted guards in the cut Rura Penthe scene from the 2009 reboot and then from the adversaries encountered on Q'onoS in Into Darkness. The ridges were still present but less prominent and ornamented by chains and a lot less facial hair.

L to R: TOS Errand of Mercy, The Motion Picture, Star Trek Into Darkness

Now fans are getting all wound up over this suggested Klingon return and re-imagining once again. Hey, they might not even be Klingons but it does look like there are similarities such as those full head ridges and the stylised armour. These could be any old (or new) aliens and on one hand I'm not wholly convinced they are Klingons purely due to the lack of hair and the longer face shape which seems to indicate full facial prosthetics rather than just a forehead. I can't see what all the fuss is about because this is a new show and while it does/has to fit - eventwise - into the canon Prime Universe visually it's going to be different and we've seen a lot of that more than evident in the snatched glimpses of uniforms, costumes and sets in that key teaser trailer. This ain't 1966 anymore and neither is it 1987 if you get my drift.

What I don't comprehend is why people are giving this picture such a hard time. Again and again I keep noting that we have yet to see the show on the screen and should really leave our judgement until the show has aired. Makeup and costume will naturally develop and evolve over time and that will definitely be true of Discovery. It would just look weird if it remained true to the aesthetics of The Original Series or even Enterprise. Times change, processes take leaps and there's a natural progression. It happens, get over it.

I'm quite excited to see exactly who these guys are and what their agenda is within the series. Getting a sneaky peek might have cost Mr Mackay his job but think of all the great publicity it's nurtured and the interest in the show it is helping to maintain. It does need help especially with all the launch date changes.


The sheer number of these costumed extras also indicates in itself that they must play a key part in at least the first episode of the show. If they aren't significant would you really need so many? That too might push me towards confirmation that they are Klingons given that we have three of them in the main cast list so far announced. 

We also received news of three new cast members joining the ranks of Discovery. Our most senior Starfleet officer seems to be Terry Serpico who is taking the part of Admiral Anderson while Maulik Pancholy will be the USS Shenzhou's Chief Medical Officer Doctor Nambue and Sam Vartholomeos will also be on Captain Georgiou's (Michelle Yeoh) starship as a junior officer from the Academy called Ensign Connor. 


Serpico's biggest role is in 108 episodes of Army Wives (never seen it) although he has had multiple TV and film roles since 1997. Pancholy has performed voice work on Sanjay and Craig and Phineas and Ferb plus a 63 episode stint on 30 Rock between 2006 and 2013. Finally Vartholomeos is best known for his work on The Secret Life of Walter Mitty although IMDB seems to have no record of him whatsoever. I would say that Discovery is going to be his big breakthrough role so this could be the start of something big for him.

This is becoming quite a sizeable cast list although whether all these characters will be in every episode or make it into a second season is highly doubtful. It does seem to be a very ensemble-focused series much more than it's predecessors which were much more zoned in on a select eight or nine characters for the whole duration of its lifetime. I would expect that for a second season only a selection of this initial roster will return.

Liking the Klingon look? What about the new cast announcements?


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