Now that Season Two of Star Trek: Discovery has ended; Olatunde Osunsanmi goes behind-the-scenes of the double episode. Spoilers for those who haven’t seen the episodes yet.
Such Sweet Sorrow would be a challenge, according to Osunsanmi, because the finale would “run the length of a feature film.”
This meant more work because “the scripts were big!” explained Osunsanmi. “Part 1 was huge on drama and emotion, while Sorrow, Part 2 was big on war and action. And, honestly, I wasn’t helping matters much by continuing to pitch bigger action sequences.
“We always have a lot of meetings on Discovery. Nevertheless, Patrick Tidy (first assistant director) and I knew that due to the size of 213/214, and the fact that we were block shooting, we were going to have many, many more meetings than we were used to — on set, at lunch, and even after we’d wrapped for the day.
“Visual effects meetings were a big part of the load. We had endless meetings with Jason Zimmerman (VFX Supervisor) and Ante Dekovic (VFX Supervisor) about the Red Angel, space battles, and Enterprise bridge screen and wall extensions. Rob McCallum (storyboard artist) and I generated one hundred and forty-five pages of storyboards to help these discussions along. The amount of VFX on our show is massive. In fact, that crew makes up our largest department at over five hundred people strong, and they almost always end up having a hand — sometimes small, sometimes large — in helping other departments realize their Star Trek reality.”
Production included shooting two episodes on the same day. “The first day of shooting we overlapped with episode 212, Through the Valley of Shadows, which Doug Aarniokoski was directing.” And “We were shooting in sickbay with Anthony Rapp (Stamets), Wilson Cruz (Culber), and Raven Dauda (Pollard). Since we were block shooting, we shot all the 213 and 214 scenes on this set in the same day. While 213 was a drama, 214 was a full-on action movie; this required being sure I had my blocking and camera movements match the contrasting styles and emotions of both episodes. When it was all cut together, the visual design of each episode would land in the right place.”
Osunsanmi also gave details on shooting the Vulcan shore scene, the Burnham-Tyler final kiss, turbolift and hallway explosion, Discovery Bridge goodbye scene, building the timesuit, the Red Angel launch and the Spock goodbye, the hallway of gravity (fight), and the first day on the USS Enterprise.
“Shooting both parts of Such Sweet Sorrow was a mind-blowing experience,” said Osunsanmi, “and I can’t wait to see what challenges Star Trek throws my way next. If both Sorrows have taught me anything, it’s that with the help of our amazing cast and crew, I’ll definitely be able to meet them.”