The 4:00PM Saturday time slot on the Dragon Con Main Events channel welcomed four Star Trek: Discovery cast members to a question and answer panel with Marc Lee serving as moderator. Kenneth Mitchell, Mary Chieffo, Anthony Rapp, and Jason Isaacs gave the fans what they’ve come to expect from Discovery actors: insightful, heartfelt, and entertaining conversation.
One of the primary themes of the hour was family. Isaacs spoke of the characters as a family that just continues to grow, becoming richer as the show progresses. Not being a part of the season two cast allowed him the opportunity to become a fan and just watch it happen. Mitchell, who received an ALS diagnosis in August 2018, spoke about the powerful connection he feels and the “blessing” this show and family have been to him. Rapp took the theme further, pointing out that season three, which premiers in October on CBS All Access, does not treat the theme of family lightly. The show, he argued, is an opportunity to explore the human heart, and it does so in a serious and meaningful way. Rapp credited season three’s executive producer Michelle Paradise for her insistence on truth and legitimacy-of-feeling throughout.
Ultimately, the show’s capacity and willingness to examine the human condition in all its complex beauty dominated the hour. Through laughter and tears, the panelists returned time and again to some dimension of the theme. When discussing the way the show dealt with a character struggling with PTSD, both Chieffo and Isaacs spoke to the power of science fiction to explore trauma. Isaacs pointed out that all great fiction allows people to understand themselves and to engage their own trauma by engaging in that of others. Rapp and Chieffo praised the mastery and ability of Jonathan Frakes to handle the direction of complex and challenging scenes. Mitchell spoke of the sense of accomplishment he felt when successfully working opposite Sonequa Martin-Green. Isaacs referred to the elation followed by terror he felt when notified he’d gotten the role of Captain Lorca. Time and again, their comments touched on some element of what we all share as human beings. For the members of this great extended family, it really is all about the heart.