The Inverse Interview

Star Trek's Biggest Badass Reveals His Starship's Secret Name

From The Dark Knight to Discovery, David Ajala is a man of action.

A man stands in front of a vivid alien landscape with purple skies and rocky terrain, leaning on a f...
Star Trek
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David Ajala’s journey in the Final Frontier is coming to a close. Although Ajala only joined the cast of Star Trek: Discovery in 2020, at the start of Season 3, it certainly feels like his rugged space courier with a heart of gold — Cleveland “Book” Booker — has been on in the series longer than he really has. As Book, Ajala brought some Indiana Jones swagger to Discovery, albeit with a touch of Gene Roddenberry idealism.

The fifth episode of Discovery’s final season puts Book and Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) into a perilous and very familiar setting, one which connects back to The Original Series, Deep Space Nine, Discovery’s second season, and even Strange New Worlds.

Inverse caught up with Ajala — best known for his roles in The Dark Knight and Supergirl — to get his take on where he’s been, how Star Trek has “blessed” his life, and which franchise he wants to jump to next.

Spoilers ahead for Star Trek: Discovery Episode 5, “Mirrors.”

Book and Burnham fly a shuttle in a new daring mission to...the Enterprise!


While in pursuit of the latest clue to unravel the secret of the Progenitor tech, “Mirrors” leads Captain Burnham and Book into a wormhole where they find the ISS Enterprise NCC-1701, the wicked Mirror Universe version of the classic 23rd century Enterprise from The Original Series and Strange New Worlds. (ISS stands for “Imperial Star Ship.” Whereas USS means “United Star Ship.”) This evil Enterprise first appeared in the 1967 TOS episode “Mirror, Mirror.” But, for the sake of current visual continuity, it’s now clearly a redress of the USS Enterprise set from Strange New Worlds.

“We wrapped shooting before [Strange New Worlds] started to commence their next season,” Ajala reveals. “So, sadly, the crossover didn’t happen.” But, Ajala notes that being in the physical sets of the Enterprise sickbay and bridge was a refreshing change from some of his other work in Discovery.

“There is a lot of green screen usually, and you have to tap into your childhood imagination. You’re playing cowboys,” Ajala explains. “But, there was something very, very special about shooting that scene that made it a lot easier for me to act. Part of it was what Sonequa [Martin-Green] was doing. How she held the space in such reverence, how she really channeled into the memory of her brother [Spock]. It was really wonderfully special and the fans are just going to love it.”

When Ajala joined Discovery as Book in 2020, he was probably best known to genre fans for his role as a bounty hunter working for the Joker (Heath Ledger) in The Dark Knight. But, he’s equally recognizable as Manchester Black from CW’s Supergirl. Then again, he was also one of the “Smilers” named Peter in the 2010 Doctor Who episode “The Beast Below.” From Star Trek, and the DCEU to the Whoniverse, that’s a lot of sci-fi geek cred for one man. And now, that Discovery is winding down, Ajala doesn’t mind looking back on his pre-Star Trek work with fondness, and even, a hypothetical part of his future.

David Ajala in 2024, a man for all seasons, and dimensions.

Corey Nickols/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

“There was once upon a time, a possibility. There was a very strong invitation to go back into one of those worlds,” Ajala says cryptically. Does this mean he was almost in the multiverse shenanigans of The Flash? Another CW Arrowverse show? Even a later episode of Doctor Who? Ajala can’t say outright, so we’re just guessing. But it seems like it almost happened and could happen again. “The timing didn’t work out,” he says. “If and when that opportunity does present itself, I would gladly take that invitation again.”

Ajala is also open to the idea of tackling franchises he’s never been a part of before. And because he was born in London, his accent does make some wonder if he could be the phantom menace of future James Bond contenders.

“That is a vicious rumor!” Ajala says with a laugh. “But it’s also a massive compliment. In all honesty, it’s a wonderful thought to even entertain the idea of [playing Bond]. My main thing is to always pursue roles that excite me, that turn me on, and that challenge me. Stranger things have happened.”

It’s not hard to see why some folks might think of David Ajala as James Bond material in the 2020s. When he debuted in Discovery Season 3, as Book, he was a space pirate with a heart of gold, a guy whom we believed was poaching alien animals, but, in reality, he’s an empath, bringing space creatures to better homes. But, Book’s also a badass, who had, for two seasons, his own Star Trek version of the Millennium Falcon. Sadly, Book’s sleek scout ship — complete with its morphing tech — was destroyed in Season 4. So, pour one out for... wait. What was Book’s ship called anyway?

“It was called Electric Chocolate,” Ajala reveals with a grin. “Not many people know that, but I’ll share it with you.” Hopefully, the Star Trek fan wiki, Memory Alpha is paying attention, since, prior to this Book’s ship is referred to, off-screen, as either “the Nautilus” or “Vessel - C.” And, let’s face it, Electric Chocolate sounds way better.

David Ajala at SXSW 2024, flashing a classic “live long and prosper” in support of Star Trek: Discovery.

Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Still, with or without his cool ship, Book’s story in Star Trek: Discovery will end this year. But, David Ajala’s journey with Star Trek will likely never be over. Recently, he was a part of the 2024 Star Trek Cruise, where he says he was thrilled to connect with Trek actors from the other series. “I got to hang with Michelle Hurd, Anthony Montgomery, and Todd Stashwick! It was incredible.”

Ajala also says that he will continue to do Star Trek conventions for as long as he can, but that he will probably only select about “three conventions” a year. His reasoning for doing fewer is simply because he wants to be present for the fans when he is there.

“I'd probably choose three a year, but when I'm there, I'm fully there with very healthy energy,” Ajala says. “I think it's just been deeply humbling and special. We're not superheroes. We’re real people. So, I want to be really, really be there, when I’m there. I want to sign however many autographs I need to sign and give as many hugs as I need to.”

Star Trek: Discovery streams on Paramount+.

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