Star Trek: Discovery introduced Star Trek fans to the first Kelpien serving in Starfleet, Saru, played by Doug Jones. While Saru is instantly recognizable to fans now, he looked very different in the early stages of development on the series.
Creature designer Neville Page and makeup designer Glenn Hetrick participated in a Facebook live video discussing what it was like designing Star Trek: Discovery for its first season. As part of the video, they revealed for the first time some behind-the-scenes footage of Doug Jones testing out Saru’s original design.
As seen here, Saru originally had a large, V-shaped head and ten eyes.
Page went into where the original design came from and why it changed.
“Bryan Fuller had this vision of doing a multi-eyed character that had a specific V-shape to it,” Page recalls. “What that meant was we had to come up with something that would have a lot of post-CG augmentation, particularly in the eyes, and we also wanted to change the shape of Doug’s head so that it felt very alien.
“There was a lot of factors in trying to get this to work and I personally have never been, and I often have to do this, been a fan of doing multiple eyed creatures. The reason why is that I feel that I must answer a biological question honestly. ‘Would there be that many redundant eyes?’ etc. So to reconcile that desire was a real challenge, but with the time that we had to explore it and with the absolute boon of having Doug Jones in it really kind of made this version of Saru very hopeful, for me at least, and seeing Doug star tot perform through it was encouraging, but that was the moment when we realized we need more of Doug to perform through. So just having his lips, essentially, be the thing, be Doug, wasn’t enough, and we all recognized it.
“So we just went back to the drawing board. Started over, literally, with very little time left, but we all knew what it needed to be round two, and I’m confident we got a good look and I know that Doug is able to do his job and appreciates being able to be Doug be Saru.”
As part of CBS' push to have Star Trek: Discovery considered for the Emmy Awards, Doug Jones recently opened up about what it's like becoming Saru for Star Trek: Discovery.0comments
“As an actor going through this process, my day starts earlier than a human character would. And my day ends later than a human character because of the teardown and clean up time,” Jones said. “So, that means that I lean on this man [Prosthetics Supervisor James Mackinnon], so, so much. I mean I really do. You have to be friends with your makeup artist when you’re in this situation because you spend more time with him than anybody else.”
The first season of Star Trek: Discovery is available to stream in its entirety on CBS All Access in the United States, through CraveTV in Canada, and through Netflix in other international markets. Star Trek: Discovery Season Two is now filming in Toronto.