Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
Expand For Season 1 Cast
Captain Christopher Pike
Una “Number One” Chin-Riley
Chief Engineer Hemmer
Celia Rose Gooding
Expand For Season 2 Cast
Captain Christopher Pike
Una “Number One” Chin-Riley
Celia Rose Gooding
James T. Kirk
Chief Engineer Pelia
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is almost like a breath of fresh air. Not that the most recent Star Trek television adventures are stale, but Strange New Worlds not only is set a decade before Star Trek: The Original Series, but it also has that Original Series feel to it. Almost like it has found the ingredient missing from what made Star Trek special in the first place.
The first time you hear Anson Mount (as Captain Christopher Pike) narrate the opening credits, “Space, the final frontier…” it’s like getting a nice big Star Trek hug.
Where Strange New Worlds Gets Its Title
The “Strange New Worlds” in the show’s subtitle comes from the original opening monologue of the ’60s Star Trek television series. Every episode of that show began with the following words narrated by William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk:
“Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship, Enterprise. Her five-year mission. To explore strange new worlds and seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before.”– James T. Kirk
That monologue was eventually changed when recited by Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard, in the opening of his series Star Trek: The Next Generation. Here’s the Picard version:
“Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship, Enterprise. Her five-year mission. To explore strange new worlds and seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before.”– Jean-Luc Picard
Spot the difference? It’s subtle. In the ’80s version, the word “man” is changed to “one.” The franchise made the change in deference to inclusiveness, fearing that women might feel left out.
It’s worth noting, however, that language was different when the ’60s version of Star Trek said “no man.” Back then the word “man” had a dual use as a term for male humans and also as a shortened version of the word “mankind.” At the time “mankind” was an inclusive term used to mean all humans, both men, and women. It’s in that sense that William Shatner meant the word “man” when he used it.
Language has changed since then and “man” is no longer understood to mean both men and women, in any context.
Where And When Does This Show Fit In The Star Trek Timeline?
Strange New Worlds season 2 takes place in and around the year 2259. By comparison, the original Star Trek from the 60s takes place in the years 2265 – 2269. Star Trek: The Next Generation is set between 2364 and 2370.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds debuted to considerable fanfare in early May of 2022 with a build-up to a series that’s really been decades in the making. In Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, the story follows the crew of The Enterprise, but in a time before we originally met the cast that would make the show famous.
Captain Christopher Pike was originally intended to be the hero of Star Trek, not Captain Kirk. In the 60s the first iteration of the show was a pilot called The Cage in which Jeffrey Hunter played Chris Pike as the man in charge of the Enterprise. The pilot was scrapped, the captain role was recast and given the name James T. Kirk.
Over time canon became that Christopher Pike was captain of the Enterprise before James T. Kirk and now Strange New Worlds is here to tell the story of that previous captain and his crew.
It was in Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 that Anson Mount made his debut as Christopher Pike when he temporarily took over as captain of the titular ship. We also meet Ethan Peck’s Spock — who is wrongly accused of murder and is on the run — in Discovery‘s second season as well Rebecca Romijn as Number One.
The events of that series set the stage for what is happening in Strange New Worlds, but at the same time not every character knows about what happened in Discovery, nor do you need to watch that season to understand the newer series. All you really need to know is that during the events of Discovery, Pike is given a vision of the future that — in the Strange New Worlds premiere — makes him hesitant to return to the Captain’s chair.
It Follows Season 2 Of Star Trek: Discovery
The impetus for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds came from season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery where Anson Mount, Ethan Peck, and Rebecca Romijn joined the cast as Pike, Spock, and Number One respectively. The response to those characters was so great that a spin-off series was set in motion and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds became the 11th series in the Star Trek Universe.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds was created by Akiva Goldsman, Jenny Lumet, and Alex Kurtzman. This is the fourth Star Trek series Kurtzman created (Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Short Treks, and Star Trek: Picard were the previous three) after he was given the keys to drive the Star Trek car. What also gives this series an “old school” flavor is the decision made to return to the episodic nature of storytelling, following the lead of the Original Series.
Why Fans Were Nervous At First
Back in 2019 when we broke that story, the world of Star Trek was very different. Star Trek: Discovery was the only program on the air and it was almost universally hated by Star Trek fans. Though CBS did a good job of hiding the shows’ ratings, numerous outlets (including this one) were reporting that no one was watching. That probably explains why Discovery was eventually canceled after only five seasons.
There was initially a broad concern that CBS and Paramount had learned nothing at all from how terrible Star Trek: Discovery was and that Star Trek: Strange New Worlds would be the same. It made sense given that Strange New Worlds was itself a spinoff of Star Trek: Discovery. Captain Pike and his Enterprise made their first appearance in Discovery‘s second season.
Luckily, Paramount was not delusionally unaware of Star Trek: Discovery‘s problems and with Strange New Worlds they boldly set the franchise off in a different direction. That direction, as it happens, is the direction Star Trek had always gone in before Star Trek: Discovery showed up and turned Klingons into orcs.
How Strange New Worlds Began
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds brings back the character of Christopher Pike, who actually was played in the unaired pilot (“The Cage”) for the Original Series by Jeffrey Hunter. When we first find Pike, he is long-haired with a grizzled beard, living out on his ranch in Montana.
He gets called back to duty, reluctantly, to help find Number One, who has gone missing during a first contact mission.
As each episode unfolds, they take viewers on a different adventure. There is no arcing storyline in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, which is the beauty of the series. Each episode presents a new adventure for the crew of the Enterprise.
The Plot Of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
So what is the real vision for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds anyway? Alex Kurtzman laid it out clearly in an interview.
“I think Strange New Worlds, under the guidance of Henry Myers and Akiva Goldsman, it’s going to be a return in a way to TOS [Star Trek: The Original Series]. We are going to do stand-alone episodes. There will be emotional serialization. There will be two-parters. There will be larger plot arcs. But it really is back to the model of alien-of-the-week, planet-of-the-week, challenge-on-the-ship-of-the-week. With these characters pre-Kirk’s Enterprise… I think what people responded so much to in all three characters is this kind of relentless optimism that they have. And that they are at the young phase of their careers.”
The cast has talked about where they see the series going too. Below are a few snippets from each on what they see from the perspectives of their characters:
“Spock’s interaction with Michael Burnham is essential to transforming Spock from somebody who’s been born on Vulcan, that is half-human, that has been taught to be Vulcan, and I think Michael Burnham gives him the permission to be human and teaches him what it is to be human… So essentially [that’s] the development of Spock as we follow along the conflict between his emotion and logic, going forward to when we first see Leonard Nimoy in The Original Series. So it’s a huge character point for me and will dictate a lot of behavior for Spock because of his interaction with Michael Burnham.”– Ethan Peck
“I think the biggest thing, obviously, was seeing my future, and when you see how it’s all gonna end and it’s not gonna be pretty and what do you do with that… So I think ultimately the question becomes how do you move forward and then… I think he’s probably going to wrestle with how can he best utlize the rest of his life for the good of the world, the universe.”– Anson Mount
Anson Mount And Ethan Peck Lead The Cast
You would be hard-pressed to find a better actor to portray Captain Christopher Pike than Anson Mount. He perfectly embodies what a Captain means for the Enterprise. Throughout the first season, Pike continues to struggle with the fact that he knows his fate and the suffering he will go through.
Another perfect bit of casting happened when Kurtzman landed on Ethan Peck as a young Spock. Not only does Peck bear a strong resemblance to a young Leonard Nimoy (the original Spock) but he has Spock’s mannerisms down to a tee.
Rebecca Romijn was another example of great casting as Number One. Although only referred to as Number One in the Original Series, Romijn was given the name Una Chin-Riley in a number of Star Trek novels and the name followed her to the series.
Joining those three are Jess Bush as Christine Chapel, Christina Chong as La’an Noonien-Singh, Melissa Navia as Erica Ortegas, Babs Olusanmokun as Joseph M’Benga, Bruce Horak as Hemmer, and Celia Rose Gooding as Nyota Uhura.
If the name Uhura sounds familiar, it should as Uhura was played by Nichelle Nicholas in the Original Series.
Akiva Goldsman And Henry Alonso Myers Are Responsible For Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds was created by Akiva Goldsman who also wrote the series premiere from a story created by himself, Alex Kurtzman, and Jenny Lumet.
Akiva Goldsman, Alex Kurtzman, Jenny Lumet, Henry Alonso Myers, Heather Kadin, Rod Roddenberry, and Trevor Roth all serve as executive producers on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
Alex Kurtzman is in charge of the entire Star Trek franchise at Paramount Pictures. That means he gets some of the credit for Strange New Worlds, though it’s not clear how involved he actually was in the development of the series.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is a marked departure from Kurtzman’s usual approach to Star Trek, an approach best embodied by the very different first and second seasons of Star Trek: Picard. Because of that, most believe Kurtzman has been hands-off with the show and may have allowed others to have free reign with it.
Akiva Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers are co-showrunners of the series.
Goldsman is a filmmaker and screenwriter of legendary proportions in Hollywood. His best work was probably the script for the Russell Crowe movie A Beautiful Mind. Unfortunately, he also wrote the script for Batman & Robin.
Myers is a newer figure. Before Strange New Worlds, he worked on shows like Ugly Betty and CSI. He does have considerable experience working in the realm of geek properties. He was one of the producers on the NBC series Chuck and right before joining Star Trek was the showrunner on The Magicians.
Star Trek icon Jonathan Frakes is also on board to direct some of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ episodes. Frakes is best known for playing Commander William T. Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation, but since then he has become a highly successful director.
He helmed the best Next Generation movie in First Contact, and has since been everywhere directing television shows, including but not limited to Star Trek shows like Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and even The Orville.
Jonathan Frakes himself revealed the news saying, “I’ve been asked to direct, and I’m looking forward to it very much.”
Of the new show, Akiva Goldsman originally said, “This is a dream come true, literally… I have imagined myself on the bridge of the Enterprise since the early 1970s. I’m honored to be a part of this continuing journey along with Alex, Henry, and the fine folks at CBS.”
CBS and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Executive Producer Alex Kurtzman, had this to say about Strange New Worlds: “When we said we heard the fans’ outpouring of love for Pike, Number One and Spock when they boarded Star Trek: Discovery last season, we meant it. These iconic characters have a deep history in Star Trek canon, yet so much of their stories have yet to be told. With Akiva and Henry at the helm, the Enterprise, its crew and its fans are in for an extraordinary journey to new frontiers in the Star Trek universe.”
The History of Captain Pike
For those less familiar with Star Trek lore, Captain Kirk was never the first Captain of the NCC-1701 Enterprise. There were actually two before him: Robert April was the ship’s first captain, Christopher Pike was her second captain, and James T. Kirk was her third and final master.
Pike was first seen on screen in the unaired pilot for the original Star Trek. There he was played by actor Jeffrey Hunter. The studio wasn’t happy with that pilot, so Gene Roddenberry recast and came up with Captain Kirk. But Pike continued on as part of Trek canon, appearing in the Kelvin-verse reboot movies (played by Bruce Greenwood) and recently resurfacing on Star Trek: Discovery as a major part of the show in Season 2.
Anson Mount first played Captain Pike on Star Trek: Discovery and the actor struck a chord with fans in the role. After one season, Discovery‘s story moved in a different direction. That left Captain Pike and his crew aboard the Enterprise in a completely different time period for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
With the Pike character free to move away from Discovery, Trek fans clamored for a spinoff. CBS heard what fans wanted and gave it to them.
First To Break The News That Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Was Happening
GIANT FREAKIN ROBOT broke the story that Paramount was making a series with Captain Pike as its lead. We were first and our exclusive report was officially confirmed by CBS on May 15, 2020.
We got our original exclusive scoop from two different sources. At the time, both sources confirmed that CBS was working on a show about Captain Pike and the crew of his NCC-1701 Enterprise.
When we broke the story, our source told us the series would follow Captain Christopher Pike and his crew taking the Enterprise out on a new five-year mission to explore strange new worlds.
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