How? Javid Iqbal. He’s the actor credited as playing Voq, a performer that has no other film or TV credits. And when we asked Latif if he had met Iqbal, the actor returned the very suspicious answer “I met him at a party”.
Combine that with the way Voq mysteriously vanished from the show as Tyler appeared and it made for a pretty solid fan theory.
However, now the secret is out Latif can talk openly about his Klingon role. And it turns out the actor had a very special reason for choosing the name Javid Iqbal for his alter acting ego. And it’s not his own birth name, as many speculated. “That’s my father’s name; he passed away six years ago. He was a big film lover,” Latif told THR.
Co-showrunner Aaron Harberts added: “It ended up being a nice story, and a nice thing for Shazad to go under his father’s name for a role.”
Discovery helmsmen Gretchen J Berg also joined Harberts in discussing the twist, admitting they were surprised how quickly Trekkies caught on. “We understand how fervent, devoted and smart Star Trek fans are, so we had a sneaking suspicion that they would be theorizing on everything,” they said.
In fact, it sounds as if the pair had faith the twist would stay secret, seeing as they saw it as so integral to the season’s structure. “In order to tell that story and have it have the emotional impact we wanted it to have, you couldn’t go into the storytelling as an audience member knowing the same actor was playing both parts and have the same takeaway,” Berg explained. “It’s the way you would be viewing the character from the beginning, and we wanted them to get to know Voq/Tyler the way that Burnham does.”
So, what will happen to Tyler now he’s realised his Voq roots? Will he take over the Discovery and win the war for the Klingons? Perhaps not. “It’s more important that this a character who is struggling with his identity. He doesn’t know what he is yet. He doesn’t know who he is yet,” explained Harberts. “He’s got a Starfleet officer’s persona inside and a Klingon persona inside, and they both seem to be able to hold equal weight in certain regards. But more importantly, he’s in love with Michael Burnham.”
Just whether Burnham will accept Tyler’s past – especially considering their face-to-face fisticuffs in the battle of Binary Stars – is a whole other issue.
New episodes of Star Trek: Discovery are released on Netflix on Mondays