Things have not been going entirely smoothly for CBS’s attempt to bring Star Trek back to TV for Star Trek: Discovery. Pre-production on the series hit a few speed bumps, but the major hiccup happened a few weeks ago when the show’s head creative figure, Bryan Fuller, left the project. This should be seen as a tremendous, if not entirely damning, issue. The main reason people who aren’t Star Trek obsessives were interested in this property was because Fuller, the creative force behind Pushing Daisies and the unparalleled Hannibal, was behind the whole thing. With him out, the substance and visual timbre of the new series feels somewhat compromised.
The news is not all bad, however. Today, EW confirmed that Michelle Yeoh will star in the series as Captain Georgiou, the Starfleet Captain aboard the Starship Shenzhou. Yeoh had been previously said to be playing a central figure in the story, but now we know of two new co-stars of the CBS All Access show. First, Doug Jones, the wondrously physical performer who played strange, intelligent creatures and monsters for Guillermo del Toro in the Hellboy films and Pan’s Labyrinth; he also plays a big character in Falling Skies and played a playful zombie in Hocus Pocus. Jones will portray Lt. Saru, the main Starfleet Science Officer who also happens to be part of a brand new alien species in the Star Trek universe.
The other co-star will be Rent‘s Anthony Rapp, who has made a decent career out of being a dependable, inventive character actor. Rapp will play the Star Trek universe’s first gay character, Lt. Stamets, an “astromycologist,” fungus expert, and Starfleet Science Officer aboard the Starship Discovery. This at least confirms Fuller’s promise to have a gay character in the series, a point that was crucial to his imagining of the world in Star Trek: Discovery. And Rapp and Jones are exactly the caliber of experienced actors that this show needs and deserves. If the casting continues to be this good, even Fuller’s absence might not be that hard to swallow.