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Warning! The following contains spoilers regarding the Star Trek: Discovery episode "What's Past Is Prologue." Read at your own risk!
Star Trek: Discovery has surprisingly killed off several major characters in its still-young run, but none were more surprising than last night's big death. Captain Lorca, who was revealed to be the Mirror Lorca in a recent twist, met his end by the sword of Terran Empress Georgiou, and he was then vaporized via a giant red-hot ball of mycelium energy. The Lorca that fans knew certainly looked dead and physically incapable of returning, but is he actually gone forever? Star Trek: Discovery star Jason Isaacs conceded things do not look good for his character.
I would say, yeah, the prognosis is not good for him, given he was dissolved into a million pieces on camera. There are not many homeopathic cures that can help that.
Jason Isaacs didn't dismiss the reality of his character's situation, but just prior to that response, he also casually mentioned to EW that he's lied to the press about his role in the series since the beginning, so he shouldn't necessarily be believed now either. Of course, if Mirror Lorca somehow survived his chest-stabbing and subsequent vaporization, it'd be nothing short of a miracle, even by Star Trek standards, so fans shouldn't get their hopes up that Mirror Lorca will return to the present timeline in upcoming episodes. That said, it's always possible Isaacs may appear in a flashback sequence, video recording, or even as his character's Prime counterpart!
Jason Isaacs confirmed that, yes, the mystery behind what happened to Prime Lorca has yet to be revealed on Star Trek: Discovery, saying that while the show's narrative never touched on it, Mirror Lorca did indeed switch places with his counterpart on the U.S.S. Buran. Isaacs also revealed that it was Mirror Lorca who rigged the Buran to explode due to the ship containing a D.N.A. device that would've exposed him as a fraud. Isaacs refused to answer any questions regarding what's currently up with Prime Lorca, but he did share this bit of information when asked a hypothetical question about what his non-Mirror counterpart might be like:
Part of what's interesting about having a Mirror universe at all is to examine something much more subtle and nuanced than the Mirror world we've seen before it. If you listen to the Klingons earlier on, and then you hear the Terrans talk about their national identity and fear of assimilation, and then Lorca's stance that there are certain races that should be in charge, it reflects the hideous divisive racism we hear all around us now. One of the values of having the Mirror world is to say, "These people who think these things, they're not people from another planet, they're us but allowing the prejudice and bias to creep in and believe some of hateful things we hear." So Mirror universe Lorca is not that different from Prime Lorca, in the same way that none of us are that different from the Mirror version of ourselves. We all have to watch we don't buy into those divisive myths.
Logic would dictate that if Mirror Lorca wanted to pass as the OG captain of the Buran, he would've ensured Prime Lorca was on the ship when it exploded. Of course, as Jason Isaacs noted, Prime Lorca is not all that different than Mirror Lorca, so it's entirely possible Prime Lorca found a way to escape without his counterpart knowing. If Isaacs did know more about Prime Lorca and his chances of appearing in the future, he wasn't about to share details, though the actor eventually revealed he's only signed on for Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 at the moment. That's not to say he won't officially join Season 2 down the road, but the chances of that happening seem to rest on where this story goes in the back half of Season 1, and possibly whether or not William Shatner is attached.
Star Trek: Discovery uploads new episodes to CBS All Access on Sunday nights at 8:30 p.m. ET. For information regarding new shows premiering or set to return to television in 2018, head on over to our midseason premiere guide.