Jason Isaacs Says His Character in 'Star Trek: Discovery' Is a "Wartime Leader"

Tuesday, 19 September 2017 - 10:12AM
Star Trek
Star Trek Discovery
Tuesday, 19 September 2017 - 10:12AM
Jason Isaacs Says His Character in 'Star Trek: Discovery' Is a "Wartime Leader"
Image credit: CBS
Jason Isaacs has been speaking about his role in Star Trek: Discovery, and based on what he has to say, audiences might not end up being too fond of the USS Discovery's Captain Lorca.

Isaacs plays one of two Federation captains we'll be seeing up close in the first few episodes of the show (the other being played by Michelle Yeoh), and from the sound of it, his character is ruthless, aggressive, and more than a little bit racist. Said Isaacs:

Opening quote
"War being the most heightened, high-stakes situation we've ever come across, the question is often asked, what do you do with your enemy? How much can you empathize with your enemy? How much do you need to kill them, because they're trying to kill you? Lorca's relatively simple on that front. He's a very good wartime leader... You have to dehumanize them, or else you'll let them kill you...I'm in charge, and I take no prisoners. So I have a relatively clear-cut view of [the Klingons]."
Closing quote


If there's one nagging concern among hardcore or even casual fans of classic Star Trek in the lead-up to the release of Discovery, it's the fear that this new show might be more J.J. Abrams than Gene Roddenberry. Where the creator of Star Trek always saw the show as an opportunity to preach about an optimistic vision of unity in a time when mankind has evolved past selfishness, modern Trek movies are all about corrupt leaders, petty squabbles, and dramatic tension born from characters who are often a little too trigger-happy.



The initial footage that we've seen of Discovery suggests that this show is not going to be portraying humanity as perfect—as a matter of fact, showrunners Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts have stated that the characters will definitely be more flawed, and more eager to fight, than characters from earlier shows in the franchise.

There's something to be said for making a show engaging and interesting, and using the fraught politics between humans and Klingons to give the show weight makes sense. To portray a captain as aggressively narrow-minded and downright angry at non-human opponents, though, feels like Discovery is veering so far away from the point of Star Trek that to a certain extent it's hard to see this show as actually being Trek at all.

If the central theme of Star Trek is that humanity can be better, then the show is better designed as aspirational fiction rather than a platform for social commentary—especially when the commentary in question seems to be there just so that this new show can be filled with explosions and conflict. It's too soon to judge Discovery fairly, and maybe we'll get to see another side of Lorca as the show develops.

One thing's certain, though: Captain Lorca ain't no Picard.
Science Fiction
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