DSC @ NYCC Part 4 – Mary Chieffo & Shazad Latif Interview

Our coverage of Star Trek Discovery at New York Comic Con 2018 concludes with one more roundtable interview from the Press Room…

Mary Chieffo & Shazad Latif

What can we expect from your characters at the beginning of the second season?
MARY CHIEFFO: Drama and intrigue!
SHAZAD LATIF: Well, they’re working together every day now, when we join them. They’re trying to figure some stuff out. But we also get to see, again, more behind-the-scenes stuff with the Klingons. You haven’t seen these kinds of scenes, more like bedroom-y scenes; [L’Rell] has a garden, that kind of thing. So you see L’Rell and Tyler discussing those kind of things, rather that the big grandiose kind of things that we’re used to.
CHIEFFO: Yeah, a lot of last season was us… Anytime we were together, it was quite intense. But now, there’s a balance. We still have a lot of fun, fearsome stuff going on, but I really appreciate – and I really craved – more conversations between the two of them about what transpired. And I am very excited that they decided to do that.

You talked a lot about the visual change for the Klingons in Season 2. Are we moving towards a more cohesive look with what we saw in The Original Series, Animated Series, Next Gen? Or is that not on the mind of the designers?
CHIEFFO: I think it will be up to the audience, but I feel we definitely have much more of a TNG look now. Certainly, L’Rell does. She went for the full hair aesthetic. But you’ll actually see a fun variance within Klingons with hair. You know, they had fun redesigning it. I keep referencing, too, it’s like the difference in aesthetic between the 1920s and the 1980s – it’s very different. I think we’re playing with that, and it’s all about the seeds that were planted in various other series and how we can make it our own. And we want to marry what we found last year, too. What’s very important, that I want to keep embodying, is that we are aliens. The more that the audience can use the Klingons as a way to see another perspective, like you see with the Kelpiens or whatnot, the better. All of the aesthetic will kind of emulate that, but it’s more about embodying their stories, no matter what they look like.

That really was a big part of Season 1, exploring that culture and that viewpoint. Does that continue into Season 2?
CHIEFFO: Yes, and what’s so great is that you find us on Qo’noS. We’re on our home planet. It’s different, there’s more room for conversation and intimacy on your home ground. And House Mo’Kai – there’s a lot of be explored there.

As I understand, Tyler will be acting more like a Klingon now, than a human?
LATIF: It’s like he’s another iteration. It’s more of a mesh now. He has access to Voq’s memories, so that adds a layer of confusion to how we interact, how she sees me. But he’s still an outsider.

When watching the previous Star Treks, which aliens did you like? Was it the Klingons, or some other race?
CHIEFFO: I did like the Klingons, but I really love the Trill. And I love Dax. I like the Bajorans. Again, I like Major Kira, so… But their culture becomes very fleshed out during Deep Space 9, which I really appreciated. They’re also a very ceremonial, religious culture. I think that they all have interesting qualities. Vulcans, of course. Romulans – Mean Vulcans.

In the spring, in the first trailer that was released, we saw that L’Rell has her own standing set this year. What can you tell us about that set?
CHIEFFO: L’Rell’s Garden. Welcome to my Garden. I’m letting my hair down in my Garden. This is a silly tidbit, but we composed a musical…
LATIF: When we get delirious, we just start singing stuff. We’re gonna release it at some point.
CHIEFFO: (singing) Here I am, in my Garden. But I think, metaphorically, you’re in L’Rell’s personal space, and I know Tamara, our production designer, was very excited because most the Klingon production that had been in past shows had been on the bridge, in the High Council. To see someone’s intimate space was king of new and she was very eager to explore what that meant. Even the Garden itself, I felt embodied this newfound femininity that L’Rell is trying to embrace, for good or for bad.

Are we going to explore anything more about the “real” Ash Tyler, or has that chapter closed at this point?
LATIF: I would say he is the real Ash Tyler.

How is your Klingon after a full season?
CHIEFFO: When I see the text, I know what sounds to make. I know the “gh” in comparison to the “H.” I can’t speak it fluently. But you do get a fluidity to it. I was actually very happy to see how much I was coming back to it with our awesome dialect coach Rea Nolan. She’s an angel. It is an amalgamation, I feel like, of so many different – Sometimes it sounds Russian, sometimes it sounds Polish, sometimes it sounds German.

Mary, you’re doing the Star Trek Cruise this year, right?
CHIEFFO: I sure am!

How did you get connected into that?
CHIEFFO: They asked and I answered. We’ll be doing some Klingon yoga. Or so they tell me.


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