Mary Chieffo and Shazad Latif will both return for Season 2 as series regulars, so L’Rell’s journey as the Klingon Empire’s first female chancellor will continue (this time with hair). And considering she’s a chancellor solely because she has the detonator to a bomb that could destroy Qo'nos, her position is far from secure. That’s not even taking into account the fact that her right hand man is just that -- a man.
Ash Tyler might have Voq’s memories (which promise to make his relationship with L’Rell that much more complicated), but he looks, smells and probably tastes humans. It’s an understatement to say that L’Rell’s journey this season will be embattled, but as of yet we have no idea what exactly her journey will entail. It seems likely for the sake of storytelling and, due to the fact that the red bursts have appeared all over the galaxy, that both Tyler and L’Rell will come into contact with the Discovery or at least Starfleet at some point, but how and when remains to be seen.
The Emperor Strikes Back
As the trailers and Michelle Yeoh’s appearance at New York Comic Con confirmed, fan-favorite Emperor Philippa Georgiou will return to Star Trek: Discovery once more during Season 2. A deleted scene from Season 1 revealed that, after the former emperor stayed behind on Qo'nos to run a seedy strip club, she wound up being approached by black ops organization Section 31. The trailers for Season 2 confirm she wound up joining their ranks as we once more see a shot of someone offering her one of their signature black comm badges, as well as a short clip of her dropping a holographic alien mask to reveal her face to Michael.
After that, she appears in her old uniform in scenes with Pike and Burnham, making it seem like she’s reprising her role as her deceased counterpart in an effort to aid in a particular capacity. According to Michelle Yeoh during the NYCC panel, there are still only a handful of people aware of Mirror Georgiou’s true nature, or even the existence of the Mirror Universe, so her interactions with Pike’s crew should be entertaining to say the least.
Dr. Culber Returns
Last season, Dr. Culber’s tragic murder at the hands of a fractured Tyler/Voq had fans weeping, and some crying foul at what seemed to many to be yet another example of the overused “kill your gays” trope. Despite Wilson Cruz’s repeated insistence that Culber’s death was anything but, the bitterness remained.
Hopefully, the fact that he’s a series regular for Season 2 and has literally come out and said that Hugh Culber will return will appease those still frustrated by last season’s turn of events. As for what capacity Culber will reappear in (resurrection, flashback, Mirror Culber crossing over somehow), there’s no real information other than Anthony Rapp’s enigmatic statement at the NYCC panel that we’d “find him where we left him,” though that’s far from nothing. “Where we left him” could refer either to the morgue on Discovery or the mycelial network, and only one of those choices really makes any sense from a storytelling perspective.
Saru Heads Home
As for Discovery’s XO, the first Kelpien ever to join Starfleet will get much more of a backstory this season. Not only will the show actually visit Saru’s home planet of Kamanar, we’ll also get to meet his sister (played by Heather Spear) and possibly even the predator species that shares his homeworld and probably gave evolutionary rise to his ever-active threat ganglia. As for the reason Saru visits home, Doug Jones explained during the New York Comic Con panel that Saru would have a characteristically self-investigative storyline this season
"Season 2 he finds out something about himself and what it means to be a Kelpien that he didn’t know and that you didn’t know and I can't tell you today," said Jones. "It will be [an] altering, challenging, evolution.”
Considering Saru’s greatest desire is to experience life without fear like he did for the brief time he spent on Paavo, it may be that his evolution is related to the way he experiences his existence.
Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 premieres Jan. 17, 2019 on CBS All Access.