Star Trek: Discovery, a few words with Alan van Sprang, Agent Leland from Section 31

Star Trek: Discovery, a few words with Alan van Sprang, Agent Leland from Section 31

0 comments 📅19 May 2018, 14:35

You may remember that tweet from CinemaCon a short while back that showed footage of a deleted scene from the end of the season finale.

We see Mirror Georgiou running a club in the Orion market on Qo’noS when she’s approached by a mystery man who she mistakes for a member of Starfleet. He tells her that he’s not, and that his organization is “far more resourceful,” and that he believes Georgiou would be “a valuable asset” to them in their quest for galactic peace. He offers her the chance to “exert some influence over the fate of this galaxy,” rather than slumming it, and leaves her with a mysterious black box. When Georgiou opens it, it contains a black version of the Starfleet delta shield insignia, leaving her with one passing remark: “Welcome to Section 31.”

Section 31 was also somewhat comparable to the Romulan Tal Shiar or Cardassian Obsidian Order – unlike these other organizations, however, Section 31’s very existence was a deeply buried secret, known only to a handful of people beyond its own membership.

Naturally, the crowd at CinemaCon went bananas and recently had a chance to speak to Alan van Sprang, who played Leland in the scene and will no doubt return for more intrigue in season two of Discovery. The Canadian actor’s credits include La Femme Nikita, Earth: Final Conflict, Evel Knievel, Saw III and Shadowhunters.

Welcome to the Star Trek universe.

“Oh, thank you.”

How does it feel to be part of this massive family?

“Pretty honored. It’s pretty amazing. [Showrunners] Aaron [Harberts] and Gretchen [J. Berg]… I was doing a show called Reign and they took over that show. So, they knew me from that. They gave me a phone call and said, “Hey, would [you] like to come on board.” They didn’t know what character, what I’d be doing. This was just sort of thrown in my lap. So, here we go.”

Tell us about your character…

“I play Leland, who’s the new Section 31 [operative] in the show, and that’s basically all I can say. It’s basically the intelligence, a non-existent intelligence of Starfleet and then he brings people on board.”

Were you aware of Section 31 before? Or even of Star Trek in advance of Discovery?

“Oh, absolutely. I’d heard of [Star Trek] through The Original Series, but I didn’t get familiar with [Section 31] until I played the part. So, I looked back on it in Deep Space Nine.”

Tell us about the deleted scene from “Will You Take My Hand?” and working with Michelle Yeoh…

“Well, it was fantastic. I was a huge fan of hers, through Crouching Tiger and James Bond, and I knew who I was going to be working with. I read the script just before, and she was just so easygoing and nice to work with. There was no intimidation. I was very relaxed and we shot that scene, it was really quick, in a couple of hours. It was mostly set-up shots and extras that took the most time. But Michelle was fantastic. It was very easy, it was great. I look forward to the next journey.”

Fans really haven’t seen this type of Star Trek show before, something serialized from the beginning. What are your thoughts on the serialization aspect?

“I enjoy that. The show that I just came off of, Shadowhunters, for two and a half years, it was a serialized series as well. It was kind of a soap opera, so it went from episode to episode to episode, and I actually prefer that, because I prefer getting a script and knowing where I’m going from the next episode as opposed to just getting the new guest stars and having to do it with the new structure, new script. I can’t wait.”

How did the producers break it to you that that great scene didn’t make the final cut?

“It was the best news I ever heard.”

Really? Why?

“Seriously, because they were introducing it [at WonderCon], as opposed to just being a teaser, leading up to something in the first season. They just said, ‘Look, we’re going to make a teaser trailer,’ and I came out here. No, this is way better than having something on season one as a cliffhanger. I was thrilled.”

Not long ago we saw the first pics from the season 2 production, including undeniable evidence that Section 31 would indeed play a part with a glimpse – that we are so meant to find and freeze frame – of some studio design blueprints with a couple labelled “Section 31 – Bridge Lab”…so the mind boggles with the possibilities they offer. Plus an image of Spock’s quarters on the Enterprise.

Star Trek: Discovery season one is available on CBS All Access in the US and Space Channel in Canada. It’s available on Netflix for the rest of Earth.

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