Even if the fans beat them to it, Sunday’s Star Trek: Discovery at last confirmed that a major character was not what they seemed. “The Wolf Inside” revealed its Klingon twist beyond any doubt, but – for those still confused – stars and producers explain the logistics of Ash and Voq’s connection.

You’re warned of full Star Trek: Discovery spoilers from here on out, but hats off to all those who correctly deduced that Shazad Latif’s “Ash Tyler” was in fact surgically-altered Klingon “Torchbearer” Voq, and that unseen actor “Javid Iqbal” was merely a smokescreen (in reality Latif’s father’s name). Last week’s “Despite Yourself” more or less revealed as much in L’Rell (Mary Chieffo)’s conversation with Ash, but it wasn’t until “The Wolf Inside” introduced us to the “mirror universe” Voq that Ash fully recalled his identity as a transformed Klingon.

That said, past Star Trek characters have disguised themselves as other species and never required such gruesome and jarring ordeals as what we saw. The process itself was left somewhat unclear, between Tyler’s body registering as human (albeit heavily transformed), and the cover identity having a documented past in Starfleet. After the big reveal, Latif himself was able to explain some of the logistics to IGN, including that “Ash Tyler” was a real person at some point:

Yeah, I think L’Rell used a captured soldier. She took this guy and then used his body and his brain and his memories, with all the skill she has as a conscious-transferring scientist. It’s amazing … originally the idea was the same, that he was laid over the top of this core Voq body, and slight, certain organs were put in. And then the transfer of consciousness and memory. […]

He’s basically just a sleeping giant. And there might be slight physicalities, or a slight essence of [Voq’s] voice in Tyler, or some moments, but it is Tyler. Tyler was a real guy, and they’ve used this guy’s body, and that love of Burnham is keeping him alive. And, you know, they’re both real people. But, just, Voq is the core being, but he was asleep, was my understanding of it.

For what it’s worth, Latif acknowledged that different writers and producers may have changed their concept of Voq’s transformation over the ten months of pre-production. Latif himself was originally cast in the Klingon role of Kol, but noted that they’d already switched to the Voq/Ash Tyler concept before production began.

Four episodes remain in the initial season of Star Trek: Discovery, with Season 2 expected to debut in 2019. Stay tuned for more on the final episodes in the coming weeks.

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