INTERVIEW: 5-time Trek guest Hannah Spear

Hannah Spear and Doug Jones


Hannah Spear and Doug Jones in a scene from the Star Trek: Short Treks episode “The Brightest Star”.

Hannah Spear enjoying her time at the Final Frontier. The Canadian actress and comedian made her Star Trek debut as Siranna, the younger Kelpien sister of Star Trek: Discovery character Saru (Doug Jones) in the episode Star Trek: Short Treks, The Brightest Star”. She then went on to play Siranna in the Discovery season 2 episodes The Sound of Thunder and Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2. after Memory Alphaand then returned to Discovery the following season to portray another Kelpien character, Doctor Issa, in the episodes Terra Firma, Part 1 and That Hope Is You, Part 2.

Spear is supposed to be a guest Creation Entertainment’s 56-year mission Event, a mega “Star Trek” convention to be held August 25-28, 2022 at Bally’s Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. She will join several “Discovery” co-stars on a panel during the convention and a Coolwaters Productions Table where she poses for photos and signs autographs all weekend. Heavy spoke to Spear via Zoom on August 16, 2022 for an exclusive chat in which she shared her love of Star Trek, looked back on her roles in Discovery, and discussed her ongoing comedy work with the famed Second City troupe in Toronto.

Spear grew up in Canada and watched The Next Generation with her mother

Hannah Spear

ViacomCBSHannah Spear as Siranna in Discovery episode The Sound of Thunder.

How and why are you an actor?

I was in my first play when I was about six years old. It was “Twelve Dancing Princesses”. My mother helped me to learn my lines. I not only learned my lines, but everyone else’s lines in the play. I became addicted to being the center of attention. Most actors love it. And I loved being someone else, pretending, escaping a bit and being a queen…even though I was a six-year-old girl.

you were onSexy nerd girl‘ and ‘Versus Valerie’, online shows that were ahead of their time. How at home are you in this world of sci-fi, cosplay, AR and gaming?

Total. I love science fiction very much. I’m a Star Trek fan myself and my parents loved it so I grew up with it too. Alien is one of my favorite movies. I had never been to Comic-Con before doing Sexy Nerd Girl and Versus Valerie, but we’ve been to a lot. We made it for the sexy girl blogs. I’ve interviewed and actually cosplayed people, as other characters of course. It is very funny. It’s such an accepting world. Science fiction is so hopeful. It can also be very time sensitive, although things are far in the future. Again, that’s why I love acting because it’s an escape. I also love sci-fi because it’s a bit of escape and fantasy.

What was your appreciation for Star Trek? What was your in for the franchise?

My mother is a Next Generation fan. She was obsessed with and loves Patrick Stewart. We sat together and watched it; She would say, “Ah, Jean-Luc!” She loved Voyager. We would sit and observe. She’d say, “Ah, Chakotay!” My favorite is actually “Deep Space Nine.” I love it. They’re all fun. I love Quark, Odo, Sisko and Dr. Bashir. This is my Star Trek.

It’s interesting that you chose the male characters and not the female ones because many women love Dax and Kira.

That’s so true. I love Jadzia, of course, and I love Kira, but I’m also a comedian. I currently work at The Second City. Quark is the clown of the show. I find him funny. I also think it’s amazing that an actor with so much dentures and teeth can be so funny and charming. I love him so much.

How did you come to The Brightest Star?

They knew they wanted to make all those shorts while teasing the season. So I shot The Brightest Star and The Sound of Thunder at the same time. Like any other audition, you get a script and what we call pages. For Star Trek, the sides have always been generic because they like to keep things quiet. There was a scene I did. I must have done it four times, four different parts. I didn’t know what they were and I never heard anything. I finally got an audition that was real life scenes with this character, Siranna, and I was so excited. I got it the night before and only had about 10 hours to prepare. I stayed up late into the night drilling lines. I thought she was so badass. I saw the first season and loved Saru. I was such a fan of Doug’s work. And I thought, “I have to play her.” It’s interesting. In the first draft of the episode, or at least the scenes I got, she was much more of a warrior. As a result, she is much softer and eventually becomes a warrior. That was fun. I remember riding my bike to the audition and listening to the Black Panther soundtrack because it’s almost like you’re a galloping horse. There’s so much power in there. That put me in the zone.

Spear calls co-star Doug Jones the “most generous person” she’s ever met

What kind of scene partner was Doug Jones?

I’ve never met an actor like Doug. He’s the most generous person I’ve ever met and it’s authentic. He means it. You meet a lot of people in this industry who you notice have a certain facade and it falls when they talk to certain people on the crew, but Doug treats everyone the same, from Sonequa (Martin-Green) to a PA. He’s the nicest man. He’s brilliant, as we all know. He’s an Oscar winner. He is brilliant in his prosthetics. I would just watch him, and I would also watch what he was doing when he was not in front of the camera. He would be calm and save a lot of energy because it takes a lot of energy to be in this stuff all day let alone trade it. He was amazing and he gave me a lot of pointers. He was generous with advice and welcoming. I remember the first day I even did my prosthesis test, he made a point of coming to the trailer and meeting me. He said, “You are my sister! Oh my gosh, welcome!” I felt intimidated walking onto the set because it’s such a huge franchise and I saw it as a kid. That he was anxious to come in took some of that fear away.

Was makeup your friend or foe?

I wouldn’t say I hated it. It made things easier for me because you play an alien on a strange planet. When you look in the mirror and you don’t look like yourself at all — you don’t even look like a human — it’s a lot easier to pretend you’re pretending to put yourself in the mindset of a fearful species. That was the other. The writing was so grand and rich. Siranna always looked like a cute little turtle, so that’s how I pictured her as well. She had that wildness in her, but she wanted to show or hide a bit of it. I loved the makeup. I loved it so much and your work starts the second you sit in the chair. You have the luxury of just sitting and thinking. I imagined their backstory while they did my makeup. That was great.

You must have done something right because they brought you back to meet Siranna in Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2 and then Dr. Playing Issa in Terra Firma, Part 1 and That Hope Is You, Part 2. Did they say, “You did a great job. Are you interested in this?”

Yes, they asked me to come back. So flattering. Knowing how to work in prosthetics and having a relationship with the team was probably also helpful. The character of Dr. Issa was a small part, but she had this beautiful monologue about being a mother and letting her son go. I was very grateful for that.

Spear played two different Kelpien characters on “Discovery”

Hannah Spear as Dr. issa

ViacomCBSHannah Spear as Dr. Issa in Star Trek: Discovery.

The characters were of the same species and looked similar. How did you go about differentiating them for yourself and the audience?

Siranna, because Saru is her older brother, she felt like a teenager coming into her own even though she is probably hundreds of years old. dr Issa… she’s a scientist. There’s a segment in an episode where she tells her son about all the different species on this planet and how things work. To me she had much more of a knowing quality and maturity. We’ve had the luxury of knowing that she’s speaking from the afterlife since she comes to them as a hologram, so there’s something about her knowing she won’t be there and needing to be strong for her son. I felt there was a lot more stoicism there as opposed to Siranna finding out what her new place would be.

They will join Creation Entertainment’s 56-year mission next week…

I’m so excited. When I think about it I almost get emotional because it’s going to be a big moment. I just can’t believe it. I’m even happy to be a fan. I’m excited to see who will be there and can’t wait to meet the people who love Discovery. There’s even a part of me that says, “Will someone come to my booth?” I’m a little shy about it, but also excited to be in this energy. With the pandemic in recent years I think people are being pumped to be there. It happened last year, but maybe more people will attend this year.

You will be at the Coolwaters Productions charity event. What can you tell us about this?

I heard they do this every year. There will be some VIP guests there. It will be an intimate social event for the fans. And it’s a great fundraiser.

What are you still working on?

I am currently performing six nights a week The second city in Toronto, a comedy theater where the likes of Eugene Levy, Mike Myers and John Candy got their start. I do live shows. If you’re ever in Toronto, come visit us. We’ve just opened our 86th review that we’ve written all by ourselves.

For more information about the 56-year mission, visit Can’t attend the event but would like Spears’ autograph? Visit INTERVIEW: 5-time Trek guest Hannah Spear

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