Strange New Worlds, like Discovery before it, is a prequel series that lets us see more of what Starfleet was getting up to a few years before the iconic Star Trek: The Original Series. However, the more familiar you are with the original adventures of Kirk and Spock, the more you will notice that this new show keeps making retcons that completely change The Original Series.
If you don’t believe it, we’ve got the receipts: hold onto your nacelles as we walk you through the biggest ways Strange New Worlds has changed Star Trek history as we know it.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds contradicts and retcons The Original Series, from enhanced transporters to the Gorn, and even romantic relationships.
The Enterprise Is Gigantic Now And The Tech Has Leveled Up
It’s low-hanging fruit that mostly represents the aesthetics of modern set design, but it’s impossible to ignore that Strange New Worlds gives us a USS Enterprise that is far larger and more impressive than what we saw in The Original Series.
Captain Pike’s quarters (home of more than a few cozy-looking dinners with the crew) are much bigger than Captain Kirk’s quarters later… hell, it almost looks bigger than the original Engineering set.
And, of course, there is the inevitable retcon of technology being more advanced than it should be, with transporters able to do things like beam complex medical serums directly into the bloodstream of crew members.
This Is Not The Cage’s Captain Pike
Some of the more welcome retcons concern Captain Pike as a character. The original pilot for Star Trek: The Original Series presents the captain as something of a misogynist (complete with a line about having to get used to seeing women on the bridge), but Strange New Worlds gives us a more wholesome Pike who is more than comfortable with the vast majority of his most trusted officers being women.
The show also deepened the Discovery-era revelation that Pike knows about his gruesome future fate, and his willingness to embrace this fate to save others paints him as a much more heroic figure.
The best retcon in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, is how the series deepens the character of Captain Pike, making him more well-rounded and accepting of his final, tragic fate.
The Gorn Mystery Is Too Early
One retcon that just keeps going concerns the vicious alien race known as the Gorn. In Star Trek: The Original Series, Kirk’s fight with the big green lizard on Cestus III was effectively the first contact with this contentious race that nobody had ever seen before.
In Strange New Worlds, the Gorn have become major antagonists who headlined their own cliffhanger episode at the end of season two, and this many face-to-face (face-to-snout?) encounters between Starfleet and these aliens seem to erase much of what made Kirk’s fight with the Gorn significant.
Spock’s Relationship With T’Pring Is Changed
Speaking of erasing stuff from The Original Series, the classic episode “Amok Time” introduced T’Pring as Spock’s betrothed, and the fact that he stares at an image of her from when she was seven years old implies that this was a childhood betrothal and they haven’t seen each other since.
But in Strange New Worlds, T’pring is actively involved in a love triangle with Spock and Nurse Chapel. The love triangle explains why she would later want to break things off with Spock, but staring at a childhood photo of a very adult woman he was hot and heavy with just a few years before is downright creepy.
Tribbles And PADDs And Kirk
There are many other retcons, of course, including Tribbles being mentioned on a PADD seemingly before Starfleet had encountered them. And we also get Pike’s decision (prompted by a visit from his future self from an alternate timeline) to help groom Kirk for the Captain’s chair, giving these two a much closer relationship than The Original Series ever indicated.
While Kirk’s days on that ship are the stuff of television legend, we’re happy to get as much Strange New Worlds (weird retcons and all) for as long as Paramount will give it to us.