‘Star Trek Discovery’s Crew Won’t Connect With Captain Rayner Without This


The Big Picture

  • As the new XO on Discovery, Rayner’s priority remains on Moll and L’ak, Callum Keith Rennie explains.
  • Rennie says that the crew won’t really get to know their new second officer until they go through a crisis together.
  • We’ll see more Rayner and Tilly scenes in
    Season 5.

With Captain Burnham out on a very important away mission to Trill in the latest episode of Star Trek: Discovery, “Jinaal,” the crew are left in the capable-if-presently-single-minded hands of their new first officer, Captain Rayner. Ahead of the episode, I sat down to speak with actor Callum Keith Rennie about Rayner’s new role as second in command. As the new XO, Rayner is tasked with getting to know the crew in this episode, however, his priority remains on Moll and L’ak.

During his brief meetings with each crewmember, Stamets delivered the revelation that the thing they’re after may very well be able to bring someone back from the dead. When asked if that knowledge altered Rayner’s motivation at all — he seems like someone whose lost people — Rennie confirmed he’s got tunnel vision for antagonists Moll and L’ak. He said: “His thing is a Moll and L’ak. That’s his thing: get the bad guys. That’s it. He was sort of given an under-the-table direction — “at any cost” — because of what they’re holding, what they’re doing, what they threaten. So, that’s his thing. He sticks to his priority.”

While Rayner gave each crew member approximately 20 words to introduce themselves, Rennie felt that Rayner would have even fewer for himself. “I don’t have 20 words,” he joked. “He knows full well that anybody saying anything about themselves is one thing, and that ain’t real. That’s just them talking.” For Rayner, actions speak louder than words. Rennie explained:

“The participation or you’re in the trenches and you’re fighting a battle, or you’re overcoming something with someone, you’ll learn about them. But someone telling you about themselves, there’s nothing. That’s just facts, and it will always be facts until you do something with them, until you endure something with them, until you accomplish something with them. So, I don’t have the 20 words. I’d just say, “F— you, I’m not saying 20 words.””

Rayner’s Relationship With Tilly Will Come Back

Image via Paramount+

Tilly got her moment to put Rayner in his place in Episode 3, and when asked if that combative yet understanding, connection will come back, Rennie confirmed that it “pops up a few times.” Rennie also had high praise for his co-star. Of Mary Wiseman he said, “Mary’s amazing to be in a scene with, and she’s delightful and great. I can’t say enough about her.” He went on to explaine Rayner’s fish out of water experience. “But there’s the part of me going, “Okay, hang on. Let me get this straight: I’m a commander of the Antares, and then I go to help Burnham because they’re in a bit of a crisis, and then all of a sudden I lose my job and I now have to listen to other people tell me what to do? Not cool.” [Laughs]

The Discovery crew won’t really get to know Rayner until they go through a major experience with him. Rennie noted, “They haven’t been through a thing yet. You don’t know what’s what… yet.” Rayner wants to see who the crew is when it’s do or die, Rennie explained, “Yeah, who’s gonna make the right call? Who’s gonna come up with the solution at the right time under duress? Everyone’s a backseat driver until you’re in the arena.”

New episodes of Star Trek: Discovery arrive on Paramount+ every Thursday. Stay tuned at Collider for our full chat with Rennie.

Star Trek Discovery TV Show Poster

Star Trek: Discovery

Taking place almost a decade before Captain Kirk’s Enterprise, the USS Discovery charts a course to uncover new worlds and life forms.

Release Date
September 24, 2017

Main Genre


Watch on Paramount+


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