(ViacomCBS) – A scientific anomaly disrupts life in the Star Trek universe and, much like life here on earth amid the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone must join together to save the galaxy. The crew aboard Star Trek: Discovery takes on this new adventure in season 4 premiering on Paramount+ Thursday, November 18th.
CBS's Katie Johnston caught up with Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz to learn more about their characters' relationship and how they tackle the anomaly.
KJ- For anyone unfamiliar with the show, I want you to give me just a little synopsis of your characters what you guys have been through together over the past few seasons.
AR- I play Commander Paul Stamets who is a science officer in charge of spore drive. You'll have to do more googling to learn about that, I don't want to spoil too many things. My partner is played by Wilson Cruz and they are romantic partners, they live together on the ship and they also have important jobs that they conduct on the ship.
One of the great things, I think, about our our story is that we both are really good at our jobs and we try to be really good at taking care of each other in our relationship as well. There have been some murky and rocky moments that we've gone through, notably in season one, when something really catastrophic happened and we made our way back through. Now we're in a pretty strong place as a couple.
KJ- Catastrophic to say the least.
WC- I like to think of Dr. Culber as the patron saint of second chances. Yes, he has been through a lot. But he has used that as an opportunity to create the life that he deserves and to create the relationship that he deserves with Paul and now they have expanded that family to include Adira and Gray. These two young people that Paul and Hugh have taken under their wings and are helping them grow up on this ship and bring their talents to bear in order to solve the problems of the galaxy.
KJ- I don't want to wiggle myself into any spoilers here, but what what can we expect from this relationship in the upcoming season?
AR- I think Paul maybe helps show a little more of a caretaking side than he's always been capable of doing. So that's kind of a cool thing for me. Although he still has his workaholic nature, you know, sometimes he can be so hyper-focused on his work. He's really super smart and works really hard, sometimes at the expense of others. But I think there's a nice moment of trying to find a balance there.
WC- And Dr. Culber is doing double duty this season. He is not only the medical officer, but he's also the ship's counselor and in a time of high anxiety for the crew he finds himself really having to take care of this crew while they're dealing with this anomaly.
He has his own anxieties that he has to deal with very much like our essential workers around the world, who really had to take care of all of us while they were dealing with their own issues at home. We really get to see a beautiful dynamic between these two people who truly love each other and care for each other through this very difficult time.
KJ- That's actually something that I wanted to jump into next. This series is one of many in the Paramount+ Star Trek universe. Something I find really interesting about this season specifically are the dynamics of groups coming together from across the galaxy to address this threat. It sounds pretty similar to what we've been experiencing as people here on Earth in the past two years now, right?
AR- Yeah. It's people like my character, Stamets. Scientists and other scientists on the show are having to bear the brunt of solving this problem, requiring the help of these organizations and governments and species and societies to help them in their work. Yeah, so I think it does absolutely mirror what we're going through on planet Earth right now.
WC- Yes and I hope that the teamwork and the strength that all of these people bring to bear in order to solve this problem helps inspire people to understand that it's going to take all of us to come together and believe the science. I think what's so important for me is for people to watch the show this season is science isn't perfect.
It's a matter of asking questions and then those questions lead to more questions. But we adjust and we get answers and sometimes those answers turn out differently than we than we expect. So we adjust again, especially when we're talking about something that we have no understanding of, like a novel Coronavirus.
KJ- And to your point, with mask mandates and you guys shooting up in Canada, there were different protocols in place for that country versus folks in the United States. I want to ask you, what were those changes in production dealing with the safety measures? What did that look like for you because, as I understand it, you were one of the first to start shooting again when this opened back up?
AR- Yeah, we were very fortunate that we had a forward-thinking production company and that the crew in Canada took it all very seriously. All of our various unions that we work with came together to find ways to work safely with the best information available to us from from scientists, doctors and epidemiologists.
We had a couple moments where we had slight delays because, you know, once it was a false positive test, but everyone was masking and testing and taking very serious care and we got through safely.
Everyone understood that it takes each one of us to keep all of us safe. So it was strange, you know, we're rehearsing with our masks on, we don't get to see each others' faces in the scene until we're actually shooting the scene. In a way that kind of ultimately keeps it exciting and fresh, but we got used to the rhythms of change. I think we all felt such a sense of gratitude that we were getting to work at a time when so many people were out of work.
WC- Especially that we were going to be able to bring this story to them. I will also add that we're a very tight knit cast and crew and given the circumstances we weren't able to really be together outside of work just to minimize any opportunity of infection. So that was a difficult thing for us.
But we found ways to connect and still be together and still support each other and it is a reflection of just how much we love each other.
KJ- And still created incredible show! Guys, thank you so much for hanging out with me today. Thank you for your talent and thank you for working in times of uncertainty so that we check in on all the Star Trek action we've been waiting for.
AR- Thank you.
WC- Our honor, thank you.
Season four of Star Trek: Discovery premieres Thursday, November 18th, exclusively for Paramount+ subscribers in the United States. Stream new episodes weekly.
for more features.