Tig Notaro on 'Star Trek: Discovery': Is She the New Scotty?

Flickr / jasonlsraia/CBS

The biggest casting news about Star Trek: Discovery season 2 might not have anything to do with Captain Pike. Comedian Tig Notaro has joined the cast of the show as chief engineer Denise Reno. CBS is saying the character is from the USS Hiawatha, but could this character end up being the chief engineer of the USS Discovery? After all, up until this point, the show hasn’t established their resident Scotty.

On Wednesday, the casting of Notaro in Discovery was reported by multiple outlets, all of which noted that she’s pretty damn funny, and just finished her show called One Mississippi on Amazon. But that’s in Notaro’s past. What about her future? Specifically, her future in the 23rd century? Because Notaro is such a great comic actor, it stands to reason that her role will be similar to previous chief engineers: sarcastic, hilarious and probably quick with a one-liner. With the possible exception of the mostly straight-laced Geordi LaForge in The Next Generation, you could argue that every single chief engineer in a Star Trek series is known for wisecracks. From Scotty to O’Brien, to Trip and Torres, the people who are keeping these starships and space stations running are often the most outspoken.

Right now, the casting says Notaro’s character is from the USS Hiawatha, not the USS Discovery. But, we’ve been down this road before, Trekkies. Back when Discovery’s first season was still in development, a bunch of characters who were assigned to the USS Shenzhou, all ended up on the USS Discovery throughout the course of the season. And if Captain Pike is beaming over from the USS Enterprise then there’s no reason why Reno can’t beam over from the USS Hiawatha.

And, here’s the other thing: season 1 of Discovery never depicted the main engine room of the ship, nor did it reveal its chief engineer. A lot of people assumed Lt. Paul Stamets was the chief engineer of Discovery, but he’s not. He was just specifically working on the spore drive. On January 27, Discovery staff writer Ted Sullivan told fans on Twitter that Stamets is NOT the chief of engineering. He also said that the room that Stamets and Tilly do experimental fungus spore drive stuff is an “engineering lab” and that “we will definitely see more of engineering,” in season 2.

So, with the casting of Notaro as Reno, everything is falling into place. Just like previous Treks, Discovery could have someone on board who is telling the Captain (whoever that is now!) exactly what the ship can and can’t do, right before pulling some sci-fi miracles out at the last second.

The only question now is, will Notaro get a series of salty catchphrases like Scotty’s “I’m giving it all she’s got!” or “I can’t change the laws of physics!” If the Discovery team is smart, they might let Notaro write some of her own jokes. - Star Trek: Discovery season 2 is currently filming. A release date has yet to be confirmed by CBS.

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