Hannah Cheesman recently talked about her role as Commander Airiam in Discovery and her character’s connections to The Next Generation.
SPOILERS for “Project Daedalus” follow! Seriously! Consider yourself officially warned!
So. Are any other Star Trek: Discovery fans still dealing with all kinds of feelings after watching “Project Daedalus” on Thursday?
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In what can only be called an emotional rollercoaster of an episode, the crew of Discovery tried to break into the headquarters of Section 31 and things went south about as quickly as you would expect. The result was that Commander Airiam, a cyborg/android played by Sara Mitich in Season 1 and Hannah Cheesman in Season 2, is forced to turn on her crew mates and tries to kill them.
In an emotional highpoint of a season filled with them, when Airiam briefly gets control back, she forces Michael Burnham to eject her into space before she can hurt anyone else.
And no. I wasn’t crying during that scene, you were crying.
Cheesman recently spoke to SyFy.com about the role and that when it came to Airiam’s backstory and how she came to be a cyborg, she was given a lot of room to be creative by the producers.
"“This was never explained, and it may never be, but I think that the only thing that would keep her alive would be to be turned into a partially mechanized android type. And that she made the decision to continue living despite those losses. Not every detail is spelled out. It’s part of the actor’s role within Star Trek to discover and decide these things. I feel quite an ownership and authorship to the character now.”"
Cheesman also thinks of her character as a precursor to Data, the android from The Next Generation.
"“I have the good fortune of having grown up watching The Next Generation. And I understood that in some ways, because of the timeline, I am a predecessor to Data. And Data was one of my favorite characters on TNG. Brent Spiner had such a humor about him in that role. So I knew there was room to expand and make the character not just robotic.”"
As for is fans will ever see Commander Airiam again, it is entirely possible. Before she goes with the away team Airiam uploads her memories to the Discovery computer. It should then be possible to resurrect the character at some point. And if you ask Cheesman, she’s all for it.
"“I hope I come back. But I’m equally in the dark with the rest of the fans. My dream, though, is this — fans, feel free to support this! — they do use her memories and bring her back. But she’s somehow more humanoid and I don’t have to wear the prosthetics. So, I would love to come back, but even if it’s like Airiam goes to her room and takes off her mask. So, her memories are there, and if we are what we’ve experienced, then she’s alive.”"
The second season of Star Trek: Discovery has been some of the best Star Trek fans have seen in quite some time. Only television working on a high level can get you so emotionally invested with a character you hardly know. So lets get that #BringBackAiriam hashtag tending people.
The second season of Star Trek: Discovery continues every Thursday on CBS All Access.