When Star Trek: Discovery zoomed into the future, one of the characters left behind was Chancellor L’Rell played by Mary Chieffo.
L’Rell may not be in live-action Trek anymore, but she is alive and well in Star Trek Online, where she features in a brand-new season of Star Trek Online called House Reborn.
IO9 interviewed Chieffo, who spoke about voicing L’Rell in House Reborn. Part of that interview is shown below.
IO9: What was it like joining Star Trek Online, and why now, in particular, was it the right time to return to L’Rell? Because, due to some…timey-wimey things, it’s been a while since we’ve seen her on screen.
Chieffo: Well, I’m so grateful that the Star Trek Online team felt it was time. As a mere actor, I’m just always thrilled for the opportunity for a creative mind to say, ‘Hey, I think we could create a great story for this character…’ So I was very, truly—in a Klingon way—honored when they approached me. And what’s interesting about the whole Star Trek Online process is that when they approached me two years ago or so, when the initial idea of having L’Rell a part of the game started it was at a convention — I believe it was Vegas, the big ol’ Star Trek Las Vegas con. I’m such a lover of sci-fi and fantasy, and what franchises can create and having online games, I was just thrilled out of my mind that L’Rell would get to have another form outside of Discovery, itself.”
IO9: Part of what we know about L’Rell’s role in House Reborn is that players and other Klingons are reaching through the past to talk to her, and you have this clash of their history and these evolutions of culture. What’s L’Rell’s headspace being brought into something like that?
Chieffo: I feel that the fun part of exploring different times and Klingons from different eras is you do get a great comparison of philosophies, depending on the time that they come from. What is needed in the assertion of power at any given point for Chancellors to be able to compare their stories. Or you know, be like, ‘Well this is what I needed to do in my time to get the Klingons in line…’ — there’s something sort of bittersweet, as well, for L’Rell being a Chancellor from an earlier time, to realize that while she put in a lot of effort and did a lot of good, history tends to repeat itself, and Klingons tend to remain Klingon. As we very well know, politics fluctuate and good rulers and bad rulers come and go, so I think there is an element of reality check and understanding that this doesn’t negate all that [L’Rell] did, but…humans are still humans and Klingons are still Klingons. There’s always going to be a struggle for unity and power, and certainly, bringing the Klingons together is a difficult task, which we also very much explored in the first season of Discovery, and within the Klingon plot in the second season, as well.
But…outside of that, I think, personality-wise, L’Rell is very much still wonderfully regal in her Chancellor ways that she still holds her own. I really want to celebrate how when I got my lines I was like, ‘there she is!’ It didn’t feel like there was a huge separation from the words I had said and embodied on the live-action Discovery to what she was saying in the scenarios that she was in the game. So that was really thrilling. Her natural poise and regality, but sharpness and intensity — with a little bit of vulnerability and heart — was all there in the lines. So I think, just in the sense of her persona, it’s very much the L’Rell that we came to know as a Chancellor in the second season, in particular. That essence is there. And she’s having to grapple with some new and unexpected circumstances. There’s a lot she has seen and a lot that she hasn’t. She’s learning how to give and gain respect with those new characters, which is really fun.”
House Reborn is out today for PC.