Probably the single biggest buzz surround Star Trek Discovery right is whether Lt Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif) is actually a Klingon spy and, more specifically, is he a surgically altered Klingon named Voq.
As you may remember, Voq, the albino Klingon has been ostracized by the Kol and we haven’t seen anything of him for quite some time. Tyler however, has been able to gain the Captain’s confidence and win the heart of Michael Burnham. When we last saw Voq, he was speaking to L’Rell – a Klingon belonging to a house of spymasters – who said Voq could defeat Starfleet if he “sacrificed everything”.
Was L’Rell’s plan to transform Voq into a human and chuck him in her ship’s brig ready for Captain Lorca to pick him up during the events of episode five?
At the start of the conversation, Latif approached all questions with a smile and animated enthusiasm – excitedly teasing that he would feature heavily in the show’s next three episodes, including a “sad, cool, dark and special” episode 11. But his face dropped when we asked if he’d ever met Javid Iqbal, as if he was personally offended, and his answer seemed a little nervous and rushed: “Javid Iqbal… I’ve met him, yeah. But we don’t see a lot of people… There are so many different sets that you hardly see…”
It’s then that Captain Lorca himself, Jason Isaacs – the actor who we were supposed to be speaking to alongside Latif – burst into the room, joking “Whatever he’s saying is rubbish!”.
Isaacs – who’s extremely media savvy thanks to years of Harry Potter interviews after playing Lucius Malfoy – then gave us this extremely perplexing answer to the same question: “Sonequa hosted these games nights where the crew get to know each other – but we do it at my house. The first time we did one I hardly knew who [the Klingon actors] were because they normally have their silver heads on or whatever… There are a lot of people you don’t meet… The Klingons… most of their scenes are separate.”
We tried to clarify: did Javid Iqbal appear at one of these game nights outside of his ridge-headed prosthetics? “Yeah, one of the parties, one night—” Latif started quickly, before master-of-deflection Isaacs cut in with an anecdote about how he listened to a scene spoken in Klingon during the show’s first read through: “I said ‘excuse me, do we have to listen to all this?’. They were like ‘sorry sorry, I’ve spent ages learning it!’”
It all felt a little bit Thick of It, with Isaacs the Malcolm Tucker, arriving to remind Latif to stick to the ‘we don’t talk about Javid Iqbal’ party line. And by the time he was directly asked his thoughts on the Voq fan theory, Latif was back on script: “As I was saying to Jason earlier, this is the power of the Star Trek fandom. They’re like detectives. It’s great that they’re interested in the show. I want to retain the mystery so I don’t want to talk about anything until the episode is out… I don’t know why you want to know these kinds of things.”
Things didn’t get much better. When we asked how season two might differ from the first, Isaacs said “Yeah, I know everything that happens,” before shrugging his shoulders. “If you asked comedians what their punch-lines were, you wouldn’t enjoy their act very much. Any time you ask me what’s coming up it seems like a nonsensical question.”
Lesson learned: Jason Isaacs really doesn’t like speculation around the show. But what about Discovery writer Aaron Harberts and Sonequa Martin-Green? Would they be able to confirm that they’ve met Javid Iqbal when we spoke to them later on?
Answer: no. Again, although the pair met other questions with a smile, they went quiet when asked about Iqbal, leaning back and giving each other a wide-eyed knowing look. “Yes, well…” Martin-Green started, before adding confusingly, “I wish everybody could be at every function. We wish that all of us could be around, but not everyone is going to be available for everything…”
It’s then that Harberts stepped in: “What’s really fun is that the people are interested about this sort of stuff. Everything is researchable at this point in our selves. Let’s ride out the mystery and see what happens.”
Harberts stayed away from the topic for the rest of the conversation, but later hinted that there’s a huge twist in the next episode, saying “the back half of the season is all about dealing with what happens in episode nine”.
Combine that with Latif’s promise that he had plenty of screen time in episode nine (“I’m in it a lot!”) and there’s plenty to suggest that the Voq-is-Tyler theory will be addressed in next week’s episode, incidentally the last before the mid-season break, when Star Trek Discovery will return in early 2018.
On Monday, when we reviewed the latest episode, we officially called caca on the whole Tyler is Voq thing. However, the fact that Ling spotted on Memory Alpha that Shazad Latif’s birth name is Shazad Iqbal…and memories of this happening, we’re about to, well…about face. Until now, we didn’t think it would be believable – and it still might not be – but there’s just too many coincidences and too many not-so-subtle references to ignore now…
There’s definitely a connection between Tyler and Voq.
Star Trek Discovery airs in the US on CBS All Access Sundays at 8:30 pm ET and at 12pm on Mondays in the UK on Netflix
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