Star Trek: Discovery Star Elias Toufexis Tells Hate-Watchers To "Shut The F--- Up"

L'ak actor talks expanding Breen lore, working on Star Trek and fan reception.

This week, Star Trek: Discovery actor Elias Toufexis sat down across continents with our very own Seán Ferrick to discuss L'ak and Moll, his love of Star Trek, and getting to put two faces to the Breen. In the interview, available on the TrekCulture Podcast, Toufexis also had a message for one "loud minority" in particular — those who hate-watch and gatekeep the show:

It bothers the f**k outta me when people bash shows that are so hard to make. […] If you don't want to enjoy it, just shut the f**k up! It drives me crazy.

By highlighting this, we at TrekCulture might be running the risk of shining a light on the negativity of a few, but this is an issue that blights our channel too. The mere mention of 'the Discovery' or any 'Kurtzman Trek' summons this minority to remind us that what we're talking about 'does not count' — because 'it's not real Star Trek'.

In the interview, Toufexis goes further by making a comparison to Starfield, a video game in which he voiced the character Sam Coe. Since Starfield was an Xbox exclusive, this led some PlayStation fans (in a frankly bizarre rivalry) to persistently bash the game without, in this case, presumably even having played it, and much like those who don't watch Discovery but continue the diatribe anyway.

Ultimately, if Toufexis is saying out-loud what the majority of us are thinking, it's not just because he believes in that old saying 'if you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say anything at all' — a phrase lost within all the blind hatred of some 'viewers' — it's because he believes in the work.

Toufexis is truly passionate about his craft, his livelihood, and cares about the livelihoods of those around him, currently under threat by a litany of industry factors (a matter he regularly draws attention to on Twitter). He is allowed to take things personally.

Toufexis makes a point in the interview to highlight the extraordinary amount of effort and dedication, witnessed first-hand, that goes in to making each and every episode of Star Trek on the part of all those in front of and behind the camera — hours spent, which, after all, as the L'ak actor rightly adds, are all "for you," for us, "to enjoy". You don't have to like an episode, a series, but a little respect for those who do, and for those who put the work in! Toufexis concludes,

Stop with your anonymous bashing of things. Just don't watch it!

That being said, if you aren't watching season five of Discovery, you are missing out on not just a fantastic set of already seven episodes, on the consummate performances of Toufexis, Eve Harlow, and the rest of the cast, but also on a great deal of brilliant additions to Trek lore. We're talking Progenitors (from The Chase) and, of course, the Breen!

As the, at first, mysterious L'ak in Discovery's fifth and final season, Toufexis has made Star Trek history — "the first Breen ever seen (rhyme unintended)" — and he is geekily thrilled, flattered, and humbled by it. He certainly put the work in for it too, spending on average between 4 to just under 5 hours in the make-up chair, and 6 hours for episode 7, Erigah, followed by 12 hours on set. During the filming of that episode, Toufexis calculated that, "I was L'ak more than I was me."

As Seán noted in the interview, it will be Elias Toufexis' face — the dictionary image — under Breen in the Star Trek Fact Files and Memory Alphas from here on and into the future. Toufexis revealed that he had discussed his eventual encyclopaedic entry into Trek mythology with some of his old friends, commenting,

If you could have told your 14-year-old self that you would literally be on the Enterprise, playing a bad guy in a Star Trek show that sets a historical precedent. Sometimes you just step back, and you think about it. That's pretty crazy!

The fact that Toufexis is a Star Trek fan radiates from him with the brilliance to power a thousand warp cores. Trek was formative for him from an early age, having grown up with the movies, and having shared his Dad and uncles' love of The Original Series through PBS marathons:

The Original Series, and Star Trek II particularly — Star Trek II, III, and IV, and VI, not to skip V, Bill… I don't say this in a hyperbolic way, I feel like they're part of my DNA. They formed so much of what I find emotional, what I find funny, what I find good drama is, and good acting.

As a young teen, Toufexis then got "hooked on Next Generation," followed by Deep Space Nine in particular. He enthused:

And then when Deep Space Nine came up particularly, I would watch this over and over and over and over again. These things seeped into my character.

It's no small thing for Toufexis, therefore, to be on Star Trek, and to be on it and break decades and hundreds of years of ground of Breen belief and biology. Toufexis goes on to say that,

This is something that was part of me, and I always wanted to be part of it. For that to happen, and I'm only really saying this for the first time now, it really is mind-blowing when you think about it that way.

In the end, such passion and devotion can never be quelled by the few who feel it necessary to try. L'ak and Moll, and the terrific performances behind both, have already gone down in Star Trek legend, whether those who shout angrily over the crowd like it or not. Now, as Toufexis himself wants to see, let's look forward to the cosplay!

New episodes of Star Trek: Discovery are available to stream every Thursday on Paramount+. And don't forget to catch the Ups & Downs from TrekCulture shortly after!

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Jack Kiely is a writer with a PhD in French and almost certainly an unhealthy obsession with Star Trek.