The U.S.S. Enterprise will embark on a new five-year mission as the first episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds arrives for streaming on Paramount Plus. The show takes place in the decade before the events of Star Trek: The Original Series and features an ensemble cast of new and returning actors playing both original and pre-existing characters.
Star Trek: The Original Series
The series is based on the adventures of Captain Christopher Pike, a character who was played by Jeffrey Hunter when he first appeared in the original pilot for TOS, “The Cage.” The command crew of the Enterprise in the pilot had some familiar faces, like Leonard Nimoy playing a more emotional version of Spock. Still, it also had some characters who didn’t return in TOS, like Number One (played by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry).
After TOS was sent back to be retooled before it was ordered to series, it returned with a mostly-new bridge crew now helmed by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner). Spock returned (perhaps a little more emotionally reserved). However, Number One vanished (although Barrett-Roddenberry played Nurse Chapel and voiced the ship’s computer, she would later reprise both roles for Star Trek: The Animated Series).
Pike’s fate was revealed in the TOS two-part episode “The Menagerie.” In a frame story set 13 years after “The Cage,” we learn Pike will eventually become paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair after sacrificing himself to rescue several young Starfleet officers.
This episode repurposed footage from “The Cage,” a cost-saving measure that also helped connect the continuity of the unaired pilot with TOS’s Kirk-helmed crew (although Barrett-Roddenberry was credited as M. Leigh Hudec for her performance as Number One).
Star Trek: Discovery Alums
The three leads of Strange New Worlds were each previously introduced, having appeared in the second season of Star Trek: Discovery and episodes of Star Trek: Short Treks. Played by Anson Mount, this interpretation of Pike had to win the trust of Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) to achieve harmony on the U.S.S. Discovery (and in the process, he won over the audience).
In the Discovery episode “Through the Valley of Shadows,” Pike traveled to the Klingon planet Boreth, where time crystals caused him to experience the fate we learned he has in store in “The Menagerie.”
Pike’s second-in-command, Number One – also known as Una – is played by Rebecca Romijn. She appeared in the second season of Discovery, and in an episode of Short Treks, we saw her sing Gilbert and Sullivan with Spock (Ethan Peck) in a broken-down elevator. Otherwise, we know very little about Number One’s backstory or where she disappeared after “The Cage,” but we know that she’s very, very competent.
Speaking of Spock, the Enterprise’s science officer is half-human, half-Vulcan, and like Number One, all competent. However, as we saw in the second season of Discovery, Spock is undoubtedly not above breaking an unjust law to achieve the best possible outcome. Just don’t suggest he’s motivated to achieve these ends for any reason other than logic.
Like Pike, Number One and Spock had previously appeared in Star Trek; there will be other characters in SNW who are new interpretations of characters we have met before. Perhaps the most famous of these is Nyoto Uhura, a role originated by Nichelle Nichols in TOS. As SNW begins, Uhura, played by Celia Rose Gooding, holds the rank of cadet and has only recently joined the crew of the Enterprise.
Another returning character is Doctor M’Benga, a physician aboard the Enterprise who we saw in several episodes of TOS, where Booker Bradshaw played him. In Strange New Worlds, the character will be played by Babs Olusanmokun.
Another member of the Enterprise’s medical team will be returning, Nurse Chapel! Known for being very skilled at dodging bowls of Plomeek Soup thrown at her, Jess Bush will play SNW’s incarnation of Chapel.
New Enterprise Crewmembers
SNW will also deliver brand-new characters! These include Lt. Erica Ortegas (Melissa Navia), who serves as helmsman for the Enterprise under Captain Pike.
On Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, security for the Enterprise is handled by La’an Noonien-Singh (Christina Chong). While little is known about this character, her last name suggests she is connected to one of the most infamous villains in Trek history: Khan Noonien Singh (played by Ricardo Montalbán in TOS and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan).
We will also meet a new Chief Engineer for the Enterprise: Hemmer, played by Bruce Horak. Hemmer is an Aenar, a species possessing telepathic abilities first introduced in Star Trek: Enterprise. Hemmer is blind, but by his own account, his other senses don’t just compensate for this – they are superior.
Strange New Worlds
The first episode of Strange New Worlds will arrive for streaming soon, and we’re sure to meet more members of the Enterprise crew before too long. Could other characters introduced in the second season of Discovery return, given that SNW takes place in that time frame? Let’s hope to see more of Harcourt Fenton Mudd (Rainn Wilson) and L’Rell (Mary Chieffo).
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds debuts on Thursday, May 5, 2022, on Paramount Plus.
- STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS Pays Homage to Alien Franchise - July 1, 2022
- STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS Recap: (S01E09) Not All Who Wander - June 30, 2022
- STAR TREK: 8 Trek Pets - June 23, 2022