The voyages of the starship Enterprise are one step closer to being beamed onto our screens – with filming now complete and Star Trek Day revealing all sorts of juicy details.
Spin-off Strange New Worlds will focus on classic characters Captain Pike, Spock and Number One in the years between the events of Discovery and The Original Series, bringing Star Trek back to the episodic formula it originated with.
First announced back in May 2020, production finally got underway in March 2021 after a lengthy delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the implementation of strange new safety protocols on set.
“In a career, there is never enough work that is pure joy. I feel that my friend Alex Kurtzman along with David Stapf at CBS Studios and Julie McNamara at Paramount+ have given me just that by letting me haunt the stock rooms of my favorite candy store and I am grateful,” said Akiva Goldsman, co-showrunner and executive producer. “With a hell of a cast and undying love for The Original Series, we boldly go.”
Henry Alonso Myers, co-showrunner and executive producer, added: “I’m incredibly grateful to be working alongside Akiva and our brilliant, multi-faceted cast to help bring the adventures of the Starship Enterprise to new life. For someone who’s been dreaming of spaceships and alien worlds since I was little, this show is a dream come true.”
Anson Mount (Pike), Ethan Peck (Spock) and Rebecca Romijn (Number One) made their debuts as the characters in season two of Star Trek: Discovery, taking on the roles originally played by Jeffrey Hunter, Leonard Nimoy and Majel Barrett in the 1960s – and proving an immediate hits with fans.
"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,” said executive producer Alex Kurtzman. "These iconic characters have a deep history in Star Trek’s canon, yet so much of their stories have yet to be told."
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However, the popular trio won't be the only familiar faces, with the iconic Nyota Uhura among the many original characters who will be reappearing – along with the mysterious La'an Noonien-Singh, who will somehow be connected to infamous Star Trek villain Khan.
Executive Producer Alex Kurtzman has hinted that Strange New Worlds will be a departure from the types of Trek stories we've seen of late, with an optimistic tone and more episodic storytelling style helping to differentiate it from both Discovery and Picard.
Here's all the essential info on the new spin-off:
Star Trek Strange New Worlds series
The synopsis for the new spin-off reads: "Strange New Worlds will follow the crew in the decade before Captain Kirk boarded the USS. Enterprise, as they explore new worlds around the galaxy."
So while details are scant, it appears Strange New Worlds will bridge the gap between Pike, Spock and Number One's encounter with the Discovery crew and the events of the Star Trek: The Original Series story 'The Menagerie' which revealed Pike's ultimate (grisly) fate.
Alex Kurtzman has also revealed that the series will feature more "standalone episodes" and be less arc-based than other modern Star Trek shows, harkening back to the format of The Original Series.
"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," he told Deadline.
"We are going to do standalone 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."
He added: "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."
Co-showrunner Akiva Goldsman has also hinted that an episodic approach will allow the show to experiment with genre in a way the more serialised Star Trek shows could not.
"If you think back to The Original Series, it was a tonally more liberal — I don’t mean in terms of politics, but it could sort of be more fluid," Goldsman told THR. "Like sometimes Robert Bloch would write a horror episode. Or Harlan Ellison would have City on the Edge of Forever, which is hard sci-fi. Then there would be comedic episodes like Shore Leave or The Trouble With Tribbles.
"So [co-showrunner] Henry Alonso Myers and myself are trying to serve that."
Star Rebecca Romijn has teased that the show will not just reference The Original Series in terms of story structure, but also in the more direct form of Easter Eggs.
“I can’t say anything else because there are so many Easter eggs on this show, but we are very, very, very excited to introduce this show,” Romijn told Looper.
This may include the costumes and Enterprise set, which have been adjusted slightly since their appearance in Discovery to better emulate the look and feel of The Original Series.
"When you close your eyes and think of the key sets and situations that you think of The Original Series, that’s what we’re looking to do," Goldsman added.
Star Trek Strange New Worlds cast
Anson Mount will reprise his role of Captain Christopher Pike, first played by Jeffrey Hunter in the unaired Star Trek pilot 'The Cage' in 1965 and later by Sean Kenney in 'The Menagerie', with Bruce Greenwood also playing a version of the character in the films Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013).
Mount was delighted to return as Pike, after telling RadioTimes.com he thought the role was a “one-season gig”.
“I was telling our costume designer earlier today, I was at home for a year,” Mount said. “The last time I was home for a year was my junior year in high school. Everyone’s glad to be back at work.”
Ethan Peck will once again play Mr Spock, following in the footsteps of Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto, with Rebecca Romijn taking up the role of Number One as originated by Majel Barrett.
With Number One only appearing in the pilot of The Original Series, Romijn said on a Star Trek Day panel discussion that the show's writers have a “unique opportunity” to fill out the character's backstory for the first time.
"I had a delightful meeting with the writers’ room a couple of months ago, and they floated an idea for Number One’s backstory that I’m not going to share right now because it blew my mind when they said it," Romijn continued. "But that’s all I can say."
A second teaser video was released on Star Trek Day 2021 revealing the roles of the new cast members, which includes a few classic characters – as well as some surprising new faces...
The new roll call revealed that Celia Rose Gooding (Jagged Little Pill) would be taking on the iconic role of Cadet Nyota Uhura, who was memorably first played by Nichelle Nichols in The Original Series and later Zoe Saldana in the reboot films.
Uhura won't be the only original character returning however – Nurse Christine Chapel is also set for a reappearance, now played by Jess Bush (Skinford, Les Norton), having previously been portrayed by Majel Barrett.
Babs Olusanmokun (Black Mirror, Dune) will be taking over the role of Dr M'Benga from Booker Bradshaw, while Bruce Horak will be playing a brand new alien character called Hemmer.
However it is Christina Chong's (Tom and Jerry, Black Mirror) character that has gotten everybody talking, as she'll playing a new character called La'an Noonien-Singh. That's right – Noonien-Singh as in Khan Noonien Singh, suggesting that she will somehow be related to one of Star Trek's most notorious villains.
Melissa Navia (Dietland, Billions) rounds out the cast as Lieutenant Erica Ortega.
Before that, a teaser video featuring the series’ cast was released in March 2021 to mark the beginning of production.
Star Trek Strange New Worlds release date
There's no premiere date yet set for Strange New Worlds – the series was first announced in 2020, only for TV and film production to face an almost total shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Production on the series finally got underway in Toronto, Canada, March 2021, with star Anson Mount telling RadioTimes.com that despite COVID-19 protocols “it’s been one of the smoothest starts I think I’ve ever had in television.”
Deadline reported that a guest star had tested positive for COVID-19 in April 2021, but the actor had not yet made it to set before self-isolating and production on the show was not expected to be impacted.
Mount took to social media to announce that principal production on season one had wrapped on 24th July 2021, with only reshoots left to film later in 2021.
It seems many of the remaining pickup shots involve crowd scenes, which were not possible during initial filming as Toronto was in lockdown during much of the show's production.
At this rate, Star Trek Strange New Worlds is on course to meet its expected early 2022 launch.
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Star Trek Strange New Worlds UK: Will it be on Netflix?
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will be available to Paramount Plus (formerly CBS All-Access) subscribers in the US, as with all Trek series since the launch of Discovery in 2017.
There's no word yet on a UK broadcaster – though Discovery debuted on Netflix in the UK and was later broadcast on E4, the recent Star Trek: Picard landed on Amazon Prime Video, so it's possible that Strange New Worlds will also go to the highest bidder, which could be Netflix, or Amazon, or some other platform.