How COVID Has Affected This ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Cast Member

The cast of Star Trek: Discovery at the premiere

CBS All Access The cast of Star Trek: Discovery at the premiere

From the moment she arrived on Star Trek: Discovery, Tig Notaro won over fans with her portrayal of Jett Reno. The engineer’s dry wit and deadpan humor made her accessible and endearing. Reno’s heartstring-pulling backstory of surviving a crash landing, losing her partner, and keeping her crew alive for several months before they were rescued also drew fans to her character.

However, it was her cutting back and forth banter with Anthony Rapp’s character, Paul Stamets, that many fans loved the most. Their exchanges were often the only moments of levity in an otherwise deadly serious season.

With the third season all wrapped up, fans are curious to know whether Tig Notaro will be reprising her role in the fourth season.

Will Reno be in Season 4?

Tig Notaro as Chief Engineer Reno of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY

CBS All Access

Shortly after filming started in November, Notaro made an appearance on the Fitzdog Radio podcast. The host, fellow comedian Greg Fitzsimmons, asked Notaro whether she’d be returning to Discovery for the fourth season.

Notaro confirmed that she would be back. However, she revealed that she might not be onscreen as much as fans would like.

“Well I’m just a recurring character on Star Trek and it’s in Toronto and I didn’t feel safe flying, so I forfeited some work there,” Notaro told Fitzsimmons. “But the other chunk of work is supposed to be in May and so hopefully things will be in better shape with the pandemic in May. And if not, I’ll just drive out there probably.”

As a survivor of breast cancer, Notaro has been taking the pandemic very seriously. She told Survivornet earlier this year that her family has been completely locked down and that she had mostly been working from home. She did leave to film a few scenes for Netflix’s Army of the Dead. However, the wonders of modern technology meant that she could be the only person on set, filming in front of a green screen. She was then digitally added to the movie.

It doesn’t sound like she’ll be doing the same for her scenes in season 4 of Discovery. However, she will be greatly limiting her time on set, which could mean a big reduction in the time she gets on screen.

COVID Changed Production for the ‘Discovery’ Cast and Crew

Wilson Cruz; Doug Jones; Sonequa Martin-Green; Doug Jones; Mary Wiseman; David Ajala ; Anthony Rapp; of the CBS All Access series Star Trek: Discovery during New York Comic-Con 2019

CBS All Access

Notaro isn’t the only one in the Discovery family who’s had to make big adjustments to film during the pandemic. The whole cast and crew have changed the way they handle production to make it safer for everyone involved.

The same day production on season four was announced, one of the show’s writers and showrunners, Michelle Paradise, gave fans a peek at how the writers made season four’s script happen. She praised them all for finding ways to work from home and connect virtually.

Before production started, Doug Jones, who plays Saru, told about the rigorous COVID protocols everyone on set will have to follow during filming. He said that everyone was required to quarantine for two weeks prior to arriving on set in Toronto, Canada. The two-week lockdown is part of Canada’s requirements for traveling to the country. Jones also confirmed that frequent COVID testing would be part of the production process. He shared that each cast and crew member will be tested three times a week while they’re in the production bubble.

Additionally, Jones revealed that the cast and crew would be changing the way they interacted on set. The crew is arranging all the filming so that the fewest number of people possible are on set at the same time. They’re also siloing the different production departments, so there will be less interaction while they’re filming. Jones indicated that they were considering shorter days to limit the cast and crew’s exposure to each other.

Though he didn’t say so, this could mean the production would take longer for season four than it has for previous seasons.

The pandemic has certainly changed the way Discovery is being made, and the way the actors are involving themselves in the process. However, that won’t stop Notaro from being part of the Discovery family for at least one more season.

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