One of the changes in Season Two of Star Trek: Discovery was to Saru the Kelpien. Initially presented as a being who came from a prey species who could sense death and were very fearful, that changed during his vahar’ai experience, and the character is now much more fearless.
The change was a big surprise for Doug Jones, who had already acclimated to being the more timid Kelpien. “This has been a tough one for me, as I didn’t know this was coming,” he said, speaking with TrekMovie. “The writers surprised me with this evolution. So, I had so defined Saru as a fear-based species who has overcome it and is very prim, very proper, very respectful of authority, all those things. Now that I have no fear, that did change things up a little, but I didn’t want to make it overt. I want to play him still as a gentleman. He is still refined, he has manners. I don’t want him to lose that. That is part of his charm to me.”
A lack of fear could let to more impetuous actions and Jones has thought of how his character would react now compared to how he would have reacted in the first season. “But without fear — think of it, if any of us had no fear whatsoever, we’d have to keep ourselves in check, wouldn’t we? And me standing up to Captain Pike, like I did in an earlier episode, and last week I stood up to Captain Leland of Section 31, telling him: ‘You mess with my family, I mess with you’ kind of a moment. Those are moments that Saru would not have had before. So that’s an evolution that’s okay, because he is doing it for the right reasons.”
What does Jones want for Saru in Season Three? “I would like Saru to find a balance with his newfound freedom,” he said. “Because he is like a teenager now, who is exploring out of the house for the first time. No fear. ‘Woah!’ So, I want to see him hone that in the right, respectful direction. I also wouldn’t mind him finding love along the way, whatever species that looks like or whatever form that comes in. Because I may or may not be able to get back to my home planet again. We don’t know. If I had a love life, would it be with another Kelpien or would it be with another species? Let’s see what works.”
Will Saru return to Kaminar in Season Three? “I believe we will circle back for a second to find out what happened there,” he said.