Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is our most anticipated show of all the Trek series being marshalled for the Paramount Plus streaming service. Picking up after the events of Star Trek: Discovery season 2, this classic Trek-style series follows Captain Christopher Pike, Lt Spock and Number One on board the USS Enterprise – a decade or so before Kirk takes the helm for the famous five-year mission we saw in the original series.
Star Trek fans no doubt know that Pike, Spock and Number One have a long history in the franchise. They all debuted in the original unaired Star Trek pilot 'The Cage', though this series will take us into less familiar pre-Kirk territory.
Indeed, as executive producer Alex Kurtzman told StarTrek.com when Star Trek: Strange New Worlds was announced in May 2020: “These iconic characters have a deep history in Star Trek canon, yet so much of their stories have yet to be told. The Enterprise, its crew and its fans are in for an extraordinary journey to new frontiers in the Star Trek universe.”
The Star Trek Day event on September 8, 2021 revealed that they'll be joined on their adventures by other familiar faces from the 1960s, including Nurse Chapel, Dr M'Benga and – most excitingly of all – the legendary Uhura, who'll be a cadet on the Enterprise in this prequel to the original series. Another member of the crew, La'an Noonien-Singh, has a surname with special resonance for Star Trek fans...
While plot specifics are currently scarce, the writers are promising a more episodic approach to storytelling than we've seen in the show’s more serialised stablemates, Discovery and Picard. So, with principal photography now wrapped and a likely 2022 release date, here’s everything we know so far about Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
What is it? A Star Trek: Discovery spin-off following the adventures of Captain Christopher Pike, Science Officer Spock and first officer Number One on the USS Enterprise, a decade before James T Kirk takes command.
Release date: Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is expected to release some time in 2022 – we'd guess at a spring debut, after Star Trek: Discovery season 4 and Star Trek: Picard season 2 have aired.
Cast: Alongside its familiar trio of lead characters (still played by Discovery's Anson Mount, Ethan Peck and Rebecca Romijn), six new crew members will be taking their places on the Enterprise bridge. Read more about them below.
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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds release date
Having been held up by coronavirus delays, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds belatedly went into production in Toronto in March 2021. According to the City of Toronto website, the season will run for 10 episodes.
Star Anson Mount later revealed that filming wrapped up in late July 2021, with some reshoots still planned.
And that’s a season 1 main unit WRAP. We owe some pickup shots, most of which will be tackled this fall, but the lion’s share of our work is in the can. Thx to our phenomenal crew, thx to Toronto, & thx to our fans for being so patient. We will see you soon! @startrek #StarTrekJuly 24, 2021
Paramount Plus is yet to confirm a release date, but seeing as Trek shows are traditionally effects-heavy and require a long time in post-production, we don't expect the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds launch to come before 2022.
In fact, now that Star Trek Day has confirmed that Star Trek: Discovery season 4 will debut on November 18, 2021, and that Star Trek: Picard season 2 will leave Spacedock in February 2022, we don't think we’ll see Star Trek: Strange New Worlds until May 2022. That's simply because the streaming service is unlikely to have two shows from its flagship Star Trek franchise airing simultaneously – instead, they'll probably air the three shows one after the other.
While we know Strange New Worlds will stream on Paramount Plus in the US, it may vary depending on where you are. The streamer is set to launch in the UK in 2022 – we'd expect to see Strange New Worlds appearing on there, especially if existing contracts mean Discovery and Picard have to stay on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, respectively.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds trailer
Disappointingly, we didn't get a full Star Trek: Strange New Worlds trailer at Star Trek Day. We did, however, get a brief teaser introducing the cast. It also contains a few stills from the new series, including a glimpse at the new-look USS Enterprise uniforms.
Meet the cast of #StarTrek #StrangeNewWorlds 💫 https://t.co/M6D2tyQuBA pic.twitter.com/z6ImvEKwZVSeptember 9, 2021
Going back even further in time, leads Anson Mount, Ethan Peck and Rebecca Romijn beamed in an announcement video in May 2020:
As you’d expect, the party line was very much that the show exists because of fan demand. “Without you this wouldn’t be happening,” says Peck, while Mount explains a bit about the tone of the series. “[It’s] a classic Star Trek show that deals with optimism and the future.”
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds cast
The principal Star Trek: Strange New Worlds cast looks like this:
- Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike
- Ethan Peck as Mr Spock
- Rebecca Romijn as Una Chin-Riley/Number One
- Jess Bush as Nurse Christine Chapel
- Christina Chong as La'an Noonien-Singh
- Celia Rose Gooding as Cadet Nyota Uhura
- Melissa Navia as Lt Erica Ortegas
- Babs Olusanmokun as Dr M'Benga
- Bruce Horak as Hemmer
Ever since Star Trek: Strange New Worlds was confirmed in 2020, we've known that three actors would be reprising their roles from Discovery.
Anson Mount is back in the captain’s chair as Captain Christopher Pike. Meanwhile, after proving himself worthy of donning the pointy ears that once belonged to Leonard Nimoy, Ethan Peck returns as Spock. Rebecca Romijn continues as first officer/helmsperson Number One.
A ‘start of production’ video released in March 2021 introduced five other members of the cast:
The five new additions to the USS Enterprise bridge crew are Melissa Navia (from Dietland), Celia Rose Gooding (Jagged Little Pill), Christina Chong (Doctor Who, Line of Duty), Babs Olusanmokun (Black Mirror), and Jess Bush (Skinford).
At the Star Trek Day panel in September 2021, it was finally confirmed who each of them would be playing. We also learned that the full name of Number One is Una Chin-Riley – the first time this has been confirmed in the character’s 55-year history.
Intriguingly, three of the new cast members are playing characters established in the 1960s. The most famous of these roles goes to Celia Rose Gooding, who plays a younger version of Nyota Uhura, the Enterprise communications officer famously played by Nichelle Nichols in the original series and first six Star Trek movies.
Babs Olusanmokun plays Dr M'Benga (originally played by Booker Bradshaw), a character who filled in as the Enterprise's chief medical officer when Dr McCoy was absent in the original series. Jess Bush, meanwhile, inherits the role of Nurse Christine Chapel, who worked alongside McCoy in the Enterprise Sick Bay. Chapel is one of two Strange New Worlds characters who were originally played by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry back in the 1960s – the other is Number One, who made her one-and-only original Trek vintage appearance in 'The Cage'.
Of the Trek newcomers, we can see that Bruce Horak's Hemmer is an Andorian – though the fact that he's wearing a red shirt doesn't bode well for his life expectancy. The same could be said for Melissa Navia's Lt Erica Ortega.
The most mysterious addition to the cast, however, is Christina Chong's La'an Noonien-Singh. The fact she shares a surname with The Wrath of Khan's Big Bad can't be a coincidence, but seeing as the cryogenically frozen 20th century villain won't be thawed out until Kirk takes command of the Enterprise it's uncertain how they're connected. Perhaps she's a long-lost descendant...
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds story
Star Trek: Discovery spoilers ahead – proceed with caution if you haven't seen season 2.
Pike, Spock and Number One have been part of the Star Trek story even longer than James T Kirk – they were on board the Enterprise in original Star Trek pilot ‘The Cage’, unaired in the ’60s and set more than a decade before Kirk’s famous five-year mission. Jeffrey Hunter, Leonard Nimoy and Majel Barrett originated the three roles.
While we know that the trio have been together at least three years by the time Star Trek: Strange New Worlds kicks off and that a tragic fate awaits Pike – more on that later – most of their voyages remain undocumented. That means it’s prime storytelling territory.
“We’re going to try to harken back to some classical Trek values, to be optimistic, and to be more episodic,” executive producer Akiva Goldsman (and director of the Strange New Worlds pilot episode) told Varietyin May 2020. “Obviously, we will take advantage of the serialized nature of character and story building. But I think our plots will be more closed-ended than you’ve seen in either Discovery or Picard.
“I think what we would want to do is keep the characters having moved through and recognizing the experiences they’ve had in previous episodes,” he added, “but to be able to tell contained, episodic stories.”
Goldsman explained a bit more in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter in April: “If you think back to the original [Star Trek] series, it was tonally more liberal – I don‘t mean in terms of politics but it could sort of be more fluid. 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. We’ve all become very enamored, myself included, with serialized storytelling. Picard is deeply serialized but Strange New Worlds is very much adventure-of-the-week, but with serialized character arcs.”
All this suggests that the show will get back to the more episodic structure that defined the Original Series and much of the Next Generation era – a radical departure from the heavily serialized Discovery and Picard. Indeed, the ability to visit a huge galaxy of, well, strange new worlds, should allow the show to feel different from week to week – a versatile formula that’s a big reason for the franchise’s longevity.
Going on Mount’s performance in Discovery, Pike is the ideal captain for an optimistic mission of exploration. We can also expect to see a Spock more prone to displays of emotion than his Original Series counterpart – in ‘The Cage’, Number One was the more buttoned-up, logical member of the crew, with her personality traits passing to the Vulcan when Star Trek went to series. “She's way more complex than y'all know,” actor Rebecca Romijn teased in the cast introduction video released on Star Trek Day.
Despite being made half a century after the Original Series, the look of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will echo those early ’60s designs – from the starship interiors to the Starfleet uniforms.
“It’s a fine line because, obviously, we want to keep continuity with the storytelling and the style, but we also want Strange New Worlds to be a different show,” Goldsman told the Hollywood Reporter. “It’s not Discovery. There are a few more reach-backs [to the Original Series] and the uniforms have been adjusted slightly, the sets are slightly different. Remember, the Enterprise existed as a little piece [of Star Trek: Discovery], but now it’s its own object. 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.”
Intriguingly, at this point in the Star Trek timeline, Kirk and other members of the original crew must be out there somewhere in the universe, so the smart money would be on a few headline-grabbing (recast) guest appearances – as the older members of the Original Series line-up, McCoy and Scotty would seem prime candidates. We’d also be very surprised if James Frain doesn’t reprise his Discovery role as Spock’s dad, Sarek – though Starfleet regulations may prevent them from talking about Spock’s adoptive sister, Michael Burnham, after her top secret one-way mission to the distant future.
And then there’s Pike’s tragic story…
When we meet him in Original Series two-parter ‘The Menagerie’, it’s revealed that he’s been left severely disabled by a radiation leak. In Discovery, he’s forced to endure a vision of that future. It’ll be intriguing to see how that knowledge preys on his mind, and how much it plays into Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ story.