The Star Trek plot twist we all knew was coming for months finally happened. The CBS All Access drama revealed during Sunday’s episode that Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif) is actually a modified version of the Klingon Voq who was sent to infiltrate the Discovery. While the Voq was credited in the earlier episode that he was played by a different, in the end, it turns out that Latif was playing both roles- but for one role he was under heavy prosthetics. But we now find out that that wasn’t the original plan for the actor in the series.
“From the beginning, the dream was that we were going to have just one actor play two roles,” co-showrunner Gretchen J. Berg told The Hollywood Reporter. Adds co-showrunnerAaron Harberts: “We had always known that we wanted to do a story where a Klingon was modified and turned into a human and was put aboard one of our starships.” However, the producers didn’t know who was gonna fill the role, not until they got to work with Latif- who was originally cast to play the role of Kol, a role Kenneth Mitchell later got.
— Star Trek: Discovery (@startrekcbs) January 15, 2018
“As we got to know Shazad and as we started developing the character of Tyler, we just realized that he was the right guy to take on these two roles,” Harberts says. After that, it was the shows creative team who had the job to cover-up the tracks so the fans wouldn’t catch wind on what was actually happening.
This is where “Javid Iqbal” comes in. This was the actor that supposedly was the one who played the Voq in earlier episodes of Discovery. But not long after Discovery’s premiere, Reddit users caught on almost immediately that Iqbal wasn’t the real name of the actor. Then they started theorizing that Latif is the one that is playing the Klingon.
Berg and Harberts admit they expected the fans to figure out at least some of the story that was unfolding. “We understand how fervent, devoted and smart Star Trek fans are, so we had a sneaking suspicion that they would be theorizing on everything,” Berg explains. However, Harberts says even they didn’t realize just how massive the fan base was.
Still, even with the secret being out, the showrunners still continued the show as if nothing changed-using the fake name as a credit for Voq-as the plot was still, very much important to the plot.
“In order to tell that story and have it have the emotional impact we wanted it to have, you couldn’t go into the storytelling as an audience member knowing the same actor was playing both parts and have the same takeaway,” Berg explains. “It’s the way you would be viewing the character from the beginning, and we wanted them to get to know Voq/Tyler the way that Burnham does.”
Of course, that’s exactly what the cast of the show faced during their promotional appearances for the show. The question of “Javid Iqbal” would pop-up often, going so far to even ask Latif about the name at an event. Latif didn’t slip up and quickly replied that he had met Iqbal at a party. “It’s very exciting, but it’s also very annoying because I meet with a lot of press and I can’t really say anything,” he tells THR. “That’s very hard, but knowing the payoff is going to be worth it, that makes it worth it for me. There’s already going to be people who work it out because Star Trek fans are very smart.”
Now that the secret is finally out, Latif can finally tell us who Iqbal truly is. “That’s my father’s name; he passed away six years ago. He was a big film lover,” he says. Adds Harberts, “It ended up being a nice story, and a nice thing for Shazad to go under his father’s name for a role. How often does that ever happen? Someday I hope it’s a question of Jeopardy.”
As for the story, Berg and Harberts say that Tyler/Voq still has a role to play. The whole he may have been revealed as a Klingon, the humanity of Ash Tyler has not ceased to exist.
“We felt like the audience is probably expecting us to do a Manchurian Candidate story, or a Homeland type story where it’s like this guy is a sleeper agent, and he is going to flip the switch and he’s going to become full tilt Klingon, and he’s going to take over Discovery, and turn the tide of the war in the Klingon’s favor,” Harberts says. “That’s actually not necessarily where we wanted to go. For us, it’s more important that this a character who is struggling with his identity. He doesn’t know what he is yet. He doesn’t know who he is yet. He’s got a Starfleet officer’s persona inside and a Klingon persona inside, and they both seem to be able to hold equal weight in certain regards. But more importantly, he’s in love with Michael Burnham.”
— Alinda for now (@BlkPhoenix66) January 10, 2018
With only four episodes left in the first season, Discovery will be wrapping up its plots soon. Whether the plot-thread of the relationship between Tyler and Burnham will end here or will it continue in the next season remains to be seen.
As for any information on when the show will return with its second season, producer Alex Kurtzman previously has stated that the show will return in early 2019-however this will not be possible as the showrunners won’t managed to finish filming in this time frame.
“Our only goal is getting the fans and the audience the best version of the show that we possibly can, and whenever dates are decided, and whenever more information becomes available, just know that it’s always done with the intention of quality first,” Harberts s