Star Trek: Discovery Showrunner Aaron Harberts and Executive Producer Heather Kadin were interviewed at San Diego Comic-Con and the two spoke about Klingons, and Michael Burnham’s fall from grace.
When originally conceived, the Klingons were based on the Russians, America’s enemy at the time of the original series. But who they are has changed to fit today’s political reality.
“We are also talking about not only war, but something that is really bubbling up in the United States right now, isolationism,” said Harberts. “Our country has so many different philosophies. Do we extend a hand? Do we shut it down? And that is also two viewpoints that are being expressed. The Klingons are not necessarily the Russians anymore. The Klingons – I think we will see far more in, frankly, people in the United States and different factions in the United States.
“And that is not to say they are bad, but what we really wanted to do too is understand two differing points of view and really explore it. And I think when people look at the Klingons – I frankly love what they represent. Not in terms necessarily of all the messaging, but in terms of learning about them and learning why they are who they are and making sure they aren’t just the enemy.
“And then finding a way to come together. How do we bring everyone back together? What do we do? What does it take? It is a big challenge for us, but that is what season one is all about.”
Another Star Trek: Discovery theme will be acceptance and rehabilitation after making a mistake, which will be the story of Michael Burnham. “…We also we get to explore the importance of acceptance too,” said Kadin. “Because as Michael Burnham has this fall from grace and there are characters around her that are meeting her after the fact. They are making assumptions an assumption about her based on what they heard as opposed to being able to take her at face value.
“I think Mary Wiseman‘s character [Ensign Tilly] plays a huge role in that, in just the eagerness to be a friend and accepting. That is the message that we all need.”
Wiseman explained that “Cadet Tilly is a fourth-year cadet at Starfleet Academy, and she’s working on the Discovery. She ends up being roommates with Michael and Michael becomes kind of a mentor to her, and a very unlikely friendship ensues.
“[Tilly] works in engineering, with Lieutenant Stamets (Anthony Rapp)…and she’s a cool girl!”