[STLV] ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Cast Reveal 24 Different Klingon Houses, First Image of Cmdr. Kol

Immediately following the Star Trek: Discovery writers panel, it was time for cast members Kenneth Mitchell, Mary Chieffo, Wilson Cruz and Sam Vartholomeos to take center stage at the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention on Wednesday.

“We’re human beings. We have more in common with each other than we don’t. This show is a reminder of that.” – Wilson Cruz

Diversity, camaraderie, relationships, timeless lines, passionate character portrayals, and a healthy dose of social commentary — these are the features that have defined Star Trek in every version we’ve seen, from the very first episodes of The Original Series through each film in the Kelvin timeline. If the vibrant chemistry and genuine affection shared between the four castmates on the stage of the Leonard Nimoy Theatre during the Discovery cast panel is any indication, the newest addition to the Star Trek canon will not disappoint.

Kenneth Mitchell and Mary Chieffo discuss Klingons on Star Trek: Discovery
Kenneth Mitchell and Mary Chieffo discuss Klingons on Star Trek: Discovery (Laurie Lee for TrekNews.net)

“There are already moments with Mitchell’s portrayal of Kol that I just say, ‘People are going to be saying that for all time.'” gushed Mary Chieffo of her fellow Klingon Commander. Indeed, the deep look at Klingon culture was a strong theme of the panel discussion. Chieffo (L’Rell) and Kenneth Mitchell (Kor) joined Wilson Cruz (Dr. Hugh Culber) and Sam Vartholomeos (Ensign Connor) for a humorous and insightful panel moderated by Access Hollywood‘s Scott Mantz.

Star Trek: Discovery stars Wilson Cruz, Sam Vartholomeos, Kenneth Mitchell and Mary Chieffo
Star Trek: Discovery stars Wilson Cruz, Sam Vartholomeos, Kenneth Mitchell and Mary Chieffo (Laurie Lee for TrekNews.net)
Sam Vartholomeos
Sam Vartholomeos (Laurie Lee for TrekNews.net)

First image of Kenneth Mitchell as Kol

The first image of Mitchell as Klingon Commander Kol was projected on screen during the panel.

Kenneth Mitch as Klingon Commander Kol in Star Trek: Discovery
Kenneth Mitch as Klingon Commander Kol in Star Trek: Discovery (CBS)

24 different Klingon houses will be explored

“What can you say to reassure us that we’re not losing the Klingons we know and love?” a furtive audience member asked during the Q&A portion. Mitchell assured the crowd that the recent publicity still image released was of one Klingon, from one house. “We will see all 24 houses and the leaders among them,” he revealed. The houses will be explored, and the physical and ideological differences between them. L’Rell is part of two houses, Chieffo explained, and the conflicts arising therein, as well as how she is viewed by the Federation versus her own people, will be explored in depth.

Chieffo... in her human form
Chieffo… in her human form (Laurie Lee for TrekNews.net)
Michelle Chieffo as L'Rell in Star Trek: Discovery
Michelle Chieffo as Klingon Battle Deck Commander L’Rell in Star Trek: Discovery (CBS)

Part of this Klingon world-building involves characters speaking to one another in full, fluent Klingon when they converse. Chieffo explains that rather than sprinkling a handful of Klingon words or phrases into a conversation, the idea was “giving the Klingons a three-dimensional quality. It makes sense that if we’re speaking to each other, we’re going to be speaking in our native tongue.” According to Chieffo, the language is a reflection of the people themselves: “It is a visceral, passionate, guttural culture.”

Kenneth Mitchell channels the Klingon Commander Kol
Kenneth Mitchell channels the Klingon Commander Kol (Laurie Lee for TrekNews.net)

Star Trek: Discovery will also look at the things from the Klingon point-of-view

The dedication to exploring what has traditionally been classed as the “villain” side of the tale with nuance and empathy is part of how Discovery is, yet again, allegorical to the current events of our time: our growing globalization and the need to cultivate understanding among people of very different backgrounds. “It’s always been a story about exploring new worlds. Exploring what it is to be alien, but also to feel alien. The compassion that we are giving to the Klingons, in a certain way you could say we are the bad guys. But you really get a window into who we are and our humanity, or our Klingon-anity.” Chieffo said.

Cruz supported this assertion with insights into the ideological mindset of the Discovery writers, cast, and crew. “It’s a story about how much we need each other. That’s the only way we’re going to get through any of this. The only way we’re going to become better, as a species in the universe, is if we latch on to each other. Rely on each other.”

Wilson Cruz will play Dr. Hugh Culber, one half of Star Trek's first on screen gay couples
Wilson Cruz will play Dr. Hugh Culber, one half of Star Trek’s first on screen gay couples (Laurie Lee for TrekNews.net)

“All I see is another attempt by humanity to rob us of our identity.” a deep-in-character Mitchell intoned in a terrifyingly slow and deliberate utterance.

Comparing Discovery to what came before it

One audience member wondered how the cast would cope with the comparisons to depictions that came before, and the built-in expectations of audience members.

“Every night I’m cutting out of my prosthetics after an 18 hour day, I feel very rewarded by what I’ve accomplished, not just for us but for you guys,” Mitchell said to cheers and applause. Vartholomeos insisted, “We respect that we… hold a lot of what makes you, you, in our hands. Our producers, our actors, our writers, we understand that. We’re trying to respect TOS and Next Generation, but allow us to have the freedom to give your children their Star Trek.”

The TrekNews.net team is on the ground in Las Vegas to cover this year’s convention. As we have in previous years, we’ll have all the breaking news and provide exclusive photos from STLV on TrekNews.net. We’ll also be live-tweeting throughout the event. To stay up-to-date, follow @TrekNewsnet on Twitter, TrekNews on Facebook, @TrekNews on Instagram and TrekNewsnet on YouTube.

More Star Trek News From STLV 2017

Star Trek: Discovery‘s 15-episode first season is set to premiere on Sunday, September 24 at 8:30 PM ET on CBS. Immediately following the first episode’s release, the second episode will be available in the U.S. on CBS All Access, with subsequent episodes released on Sundays. The first eight episodes will run from September 24 through November 5, with the series returning in January 2018.

The cast of Star Trek: Discovery includes Sonequa Martin-Green (First Officer Michael Burnham), Michelle Yeoh (Captain Philippa Georgiou) Jason Isaacs (Captain Gabriel Lorca), Chris Obi (T’Kuvma), Doug Jones (Lt. Saru), Kenneth Mitchell (Kol), James Frain (Sarek), and Shazad Latif (Kol), Anthony Rapp (Lt. Stamets), Wilson Cruz (Dr. Hugh Culber), Sam Vartholomeos (Ensign Connor), Mary Wiseman (Cadet Tilly), Mary Chieffo (L’Rell) and Rainn Wilson (Harry Mudd).

TrekNews.net is your dedicated source for all the latest news on Star Trek: Discovery. Follow @TrekNewsnet on Twitter, TrekNews on Facebook, @TrekNews on Instagram and TrekNewsnet on YouTube.

Sarah is a Star Trek fan from Alaska. Raised on TNG playing in the background of her childhood she discovered TOS on her own in college and has been obsessed with the Trek universe ever since. The mother of three Trekkies-in-training, she is dedicated to raising humans who will work toward Gene Roddenberry’s utopian future featuring peace, equality, love, and science.

You can follow Sarah on Twitter @seledoux.

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