Actress Hannah Cheesman breaks down the memorable episode “Venture Daedalus.”
Full spoilers observe for the Star Trek: Discovery episode “Venture Daedalus.”
Disco’s resident augmented human Airiam lastly acquired her personal story in the latest episode, “Venture Daedalus,” and boy was it one thing. Whereas Airiam, performed this season by Hannah Cheesman, has largely been a background character — albeit one who had many followers fairly intrigued by her mysterious, robotic nature — this episode gave her a ton to do with the character, lastly constructing out Airiam’s again story whereas additionally… gulp… killing her off. (Learn IGN’s assessment of “Venture Daedalus” right here.)
However Airiam’s demise is our achieve, because the character went out on such a excessive word and within the course of gave us a very memorable episode. I spoke to Cheesman this week about taking up the position of Airiam, how she ready for the character’s demise, what it was like working with “Venture Daedalus” director and Trek legend Jonathan Frakes, and extra. Learn on for highlights from our chat…
Human, Robotic or Robit?
Previous to this episode, it has by no means been clear what Airiam was precisely. Even the present’s producers appeared confused about it, with the character being described at totally different instances as an artificial human, an augmented alien, and an augmented human. Clearly the latter is what she finally wound up being, however Cheesman recollects that when she took over the position in Season 2 (changing actress Sara Mitich) she wasn’t completely clear on Airiam’s again story both.
“It is an fascinating factor with Star Trek as a result of they’ve such delicate info, they actually do understandably should maintain their playing cards near their chest,” she mentioned. “It is a large franchise and I respect and get that, however the great factor that meaning is they arrive with choices, the writers and creators and producers — ‘We expect this about your character.’ Nevertheless it really means there’s room for you because the particular person embodying it to sort of work out for your self, ‘O.Okay., nicely if I haven’t got solutions to that, what do I feel?’ So there was really some fascinating room to sort of create my very own ideas about what her backstory could be earlier than receiving the details about precisely what had occurred and why… what occasion had been the set off for her turning into one thing different than simply human. Did I do know she was human beforehand? Sure, I had been instructed that, however I hadn’t been instructed a lot else moreover that.”
We be taught on this episode that Airiam was a human who sooner or later up to now was gravely injured in a shuttle crash and saved alive via cybernetic augmentation. She’s principally half robotic (or as Tilly would say, “robit”), and this information led Cheesman to an fascinating line of thought for her character.
“I prefer to assume that Airiam had gone via this trauma of some sort and that it was her choice, that she might have simply let go of, you already know, life. That she was provided, ‘However you possibly can keep alive however you may by no means be the identical, you are modified perpetually.” And is it higher to only lose what was or is it tougher to return again as one thing fully totally different? We see that with Wilson Cruz’s character [Dr. Culber] too, this concept of coming again as a modified being. And even with Shazad Latif’s character [Tyler], this was a Klingon, now a human. So I used to be sort of riffing on these themes for what was occurring internally with Airiam.”
Getting THAT E-Mail
As beautiful and touching as Airiam’s swan music is, it does imply that Cheesman simply misplaced a job (assuming Discovery doesn’t work out a technique to carry the character again… which in fact might very nicely occur). The actress recalled getting the phrase from showrunner Alex Kurtzman that her character’s days had been numbered.
“I used to be instructed by the showrunner in a beautiful message he despatched me that this was going to occur and that it was them not me, however they weren’t going to let me exit with a whisper, you already know, I used to be going to exit with a roar,” she mentioned. “So having seen the expertise of the writers, [I] trusted what he was telling me, however it was additionally great to know three episodes out that that was going to occur. … It additionally meant that I might begin to lay in a few of these little Easter eggs that we see within the previous episodes with the crimson dots in my eye, and we all know one thing is afoot however we’re undecided precisely what could be.”
These crimson dots — a symptom of the pc virus Airiam picked up and which finally led to her doom — inevitably birthed a number of fan theories in latest weeks.
“It is fascinating as a result of loads of the feed on Twitter and stuff is like, ‘She’s the Crimson Angel!’” laughed Cheesman. “It is actually cool to see what the viewers form of picked up on and thought it was going to be, however for me I undoubtedly had a while to have the ability to discover what that ending was going to appear like and the way I’d maneuver getting there. You do not know what it is really going to appear like till you do your desk learn, proper? Till you get the script in hand otherwise you learn it the day earlier than. … So I knew it was coming however undoubtedly the specifics and the great thing about this episode weren’t recognized to any of us till we sat right down to learn it collectively.”
Ultimately, it’s Airiam’s humanity that makes the story work so nicely. That is Star Trek, in spite of everything.
“I really feel just like the theme within the airlock with Airiam contending with this a part of her that is human and that is aware of she’s not highly effective sufficient to cease what is going on on [is] such a gorgeous battle, and I feel it is sort of the fabric that as an actor, whether or not you are a barefaced human or a robot-faced augmented human, is great to grapple with and to attempt to slot in,” she mentioned.
The Frakes of it All
The as soon as (and future?) Commander Riker, Jonathan Frakes, returned to Disco for his third outing as a director on “Venture Daedalus,” and for Cheesman she couldn’t have requested for a greater helmer to assist her with Airiam’s exit.
“Jonathan is so good at rallying individuals, getting them on board, getting them excited,” mentioned Cheesman. “He is such a individuals particular person; he so clearly was an actor earlier than and has stepped so deftly into directing now and understanding this franchise and the twists and the turns and the tone. He all the time evokes full confidence in solid and crew at the beginning and likewise with this, he has an actual sensitivity to issues. He is a reasonably empathic and likewise emotional particular person from the little that I do know of him from engaged on two episodes, and you already know, if I had to decide on like a Star Trek hero from TNG, he was Quantity One for me! I feel that he was in a position to simply strategy it with such a kindness and such particular notes, such a mild contact but additionally very tailor-made to every actor.”
That additionally concerned capturing an intense, Hong Kong motion movie-inspired combat sequence with Frakes.
“I am a reasonably athletic particular person, I grew up doing volleyball and dance and I’ve stayed very energetic in my life, so I felt strolling into this, ‘I can do that, that is positive,’” laughed the actress. “However the distinction between studying [the fight choreography] once you’re simply your self and [in] like exercise garments, after which moving into an away mission uniform that’s really a wetsuit, initially, with lights, with a full prosthetic glued to your face, 18mm contacts, and a helmet in addition to all this protecting gear in your arms, your arms, your chest, your legs… So the additional weight, the warmth, and the additionally the best way that it held your motion, as a result of wetsuits are supposed to suck round you… I might do one [take], going via it as soon as, and I might simply should drop to a knee out of sheer exhaustion.”
It was a shock to Cheesman how laborious it was to execute that combat sequence.
“You continue to wish to give one of the best efficiency you presumably can and actually you are tremendous motivated to as a result of you already know it is going to be so kick ass,” she mentioned. “It was extremely difficult to additionally be capable to with this context to look in the best place, as a result of your depth notion has modified, and also you additionally do not wish to make contact with this excellent particular person you are preventing with. However you wish to make it look actually actual. So it was very difficult and I’ve to say, definitely not that I did not have it earlier than, however a [I have] newfound respect for all these stunt individuals as a result of they do that on a day by day and it is to not be trifled with.”
And certainly, it was kick ass and it was so very price it. Learn IGN’s assessment of “Venture Daedalus” for extra on that combat and extra.
Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 is presently out there on Newpaper24 All Entry within the U.S., on Area in Canada, and on Netflix in lots of worldwide territories.
Speak to Government Editor Scott Collura on Twitter at @ScottCollura, or hearken to his Star Trek podcast, Transporter Room 3. Or do each!