Star Trek Discovery Klingon Casting Hints at Show’s Direction

Though the CBS crew has been ultra-secretive about Star Trek Discovery, the recent casting of three Klingon characters could hint at the direction of the show.

Meet the Klingons of Star Trek Discovery

Actors Chris Obi, Shazad Latif and Mary Chieffo will be joining the show’s cast as Klingons in the 13-episode series, CBS Television Studios announced Monday, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Portraying battle deck commander L’Rell, Chieffo is a largely unknown name while Latif, who will play commanding officer Kol, might be more recognizable to British viewers from shows like Spooks and My Mad Fat Diary. Though he did play Dr. Jekyll on Penny Dreadful.

In spite of his roles in Roots, Doctor Who, and Snow White and the Huntsman, Obi is also an actor that may have escaped your notice until now, but it looks like he’s breaking through in geek TV. In addition to Star Trek Discovery, you’ll be seeing him in American Gods and Ghost in the Shell. He will play T’Kuvma, a Klingon leader with the express goal of uniting the Klingon houses.

This won’t be the first time the Klingon houses have come up on a Star Trek series, but with Star Trek Discovery taking place 10 years before the original series, the show has a chance to re-define the species for a generation.

What’s Star Trek Discovery All About?

The Klingons are an obviously fertile ground for Star Trek Discovery to tread given the species’ popularity, including that fictional language. Adding more fuel to the fire is the fact that the Klingons were once antagonists to the Federation but became allies, and you’ve got one hell of a plot already set.

Before he had to leave the show, co-creator Bryan Fuller gave some hints as to what the serialized plot for Star Trek Discovery would cover, citing the original Star Trek episode “Balance of Terror” as inspiration and describing Discovery’s theme as “understand each other.” Both could influence how the show uses its Klingon characters.

Romulans Star trek discovery“Balance of Terror” introduces the Romulans to the show in the first Federation-Romulan contact since the war and subsequent peace treaty. The episode features prejudice against and fear of the Romulans but gives us scenes on both ships that suggest maybe the two sides aren’t as different as they might think.

The Romulan commander even tells Kirk, “I regret that we meet in this way. You and I are of a kind. In a different reality, I could have called you friend.”

Could Star Trek Discovery be gearing up for similar circumstances but with the Klingons instead of the Romulans?

Inverse points out that Nicholas Meyer, who wrote and directed Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, has been brought onto Star Trek Discovery and that Fuller also considers the movie inspiration. That movie is about the Federation and the Klingons arranging a peace treaty.

With the movie and “Balance of Terror” as inspiration and the show adding a contingent of Klingons to the cast, it makes sense that a media franchise that prides itself on understanding and learning could be headed into the Cold War-esque world of Federation-Klingon politics.

Star Trek Discovery Remains a Mystery

Of course, Fuller said earlier that Star Trek Discovery’s first season would revolve around “an incident and an event in Star Trek history that’s been talked about but never been explored.” Does the Federation-Klingon peace treaty count as something that’s never been explored?

Will the show take its cues from “Balance of Terror” and The Undiscovered Country and apply them to the effort to unite the Klingon nation instead?

We’ll find out when Star Trek Discovery premieres in May 2017.

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About the author

Kali O’Rourke

watches more television than anyone she's ever met. Luckily, this has so far served her well in her dream of becoming a television writer. In addition to showing off her knowledge of movie and TV trivia, she enjoys reading, listening to show tunes, and counting down to next Halloween.

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