The upcoming series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds had its first-ever official panel discussion on Star Trek Day. On hand were with series stars Anson Mount, Rebecca Romijn, and Ethan Peck. Joining them were executive producers Akiva Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers, along with co-executive producers Akela Cooper and Davy Perez. We have broken down all the news from the panel.
Episodic, with a hint of serialization
Producers for Strange New Worlds have already said that the show will return to classic Star Trek storytelling. Executive producer Henry Alonso Myers started off the panel by outlining how they are approaching this format:
We want to do Star Trek in the classic mode; Star Trek in the way Star Trek stories were always told. It’s a ship and it’s traveling to strange new worlds and we are going to tell big ideas science fiction adventures in an episodic mode. So we have room to meet new aliens, see new ships, visit new cultures.
Myers added they are going to make sure that characters grow and evolve on the show, drawing a bit of a contrast with the original Star Trek to make his point:
Audiences are sophisticated and so if Kirk falls in love and the love dies, the next week he’s going to still feel it and that is the kind of thing we wanted to carry over. We want to bring a modern character sensibility to classic episodic storytelling.
Writer Akela Cooper also added that there will still be a bit of plot serialization woven into the first season:
While we’ll have like individual one-off plots, the character arcs are what’s going to carry us through in a more serialized fashion. There’s probably one plot point that we will be sprinkling through this series until we actually get to the episode. And that’s all I can say about that.
Playing with the core three’s dynamic
Akela also talked about how the writers have picked up on some of the chemistry Anson Mount, Ethan Peck, and Rebecca Romijn showed in season two of Discovery, and are finding new ways to play with their dynamic:
The fun thing in the room is coming up with cool and unique situations and scenarios to put them in that will bring about certain aspects of their personalities we can play with, and see how they would complement each other but also contrast each other. And to just see how those puzzle pieces fit.
Writer Davy Perez revealed more of how they are seeing the relationships on the Enterprise:
We did have conversations about Pike and Number One being sort of parental figures to the ship and in specific to Spock. Because Spock is the younger Spock. He is not the wise, old Spock from The Original Series, this is the young guy just out of Starfleet Academy and still finding himself—and what kind of Spock will he become? And so you have great mentor/mentee relationships. And oftentimes, you can learn from your own kids just as much as you can teach. So there’s a lot of interesting relationship dynamics to play with there.
Pike’s fate, Spock’s balance, and Number One’s “mind-blowing” backstory
The actors talked a bit more about where their characters are headed. Anson Mount talked about how he will play Pike knowing his fate (which he learned in season two of Star Trek: Discovery). The actor said:
The most honest thing I can say is, I’m still figuring it out… Pike didn’t just learn how he dies, he learns in what circumstances. So we do know that at some point he’s going to be presented with a promotion opportunity to Fleet Captain. And he has to accept that in order for the fate to come into existence. So what is it that’s going to allow him, both in terms of circumstance and emotion, to accept that promotion? It’s a tough question, but I think we’ll figure it out together.
As for Ethan Peck, he is preparing to take on the struggle Spock has with his Vulcan and Human halves:
I’m very thrilled to find the balance in Spock. He between two worlds of logic and control and of emotional volatility that we all struggle with. And so it’s going to be an enormous challenge. And there are plenty of scenarios in which we could play with that. And I’m very excited to see what the writers come up with. And I’m just going to throw myself in. I can’t wait.
Rebecca Romijn talked about being excited to explore Number One, who is more of an open book for the writers:
“The Cage” being such an old pilot, the writers have this very unique opportunity where they’ve had this character that’s existed since the beginning of the canon, but she’s never been written. I can’t wait to find out how vast her skill set is. What are the arrows in her quiver? My number one question is: what’s her backstory? And 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 is it blew my mind when they said it. But that’s all I can say.
Referencing TOS, and beyond
When asked about how Strange New Worlds will be tapping into Trek history, Davy Perez said they are looking at more than just The Original Series:
The storytelling in itself is using sci-fi to say something about the world around us and that in of itself is like a way to touch upon the legacy. We’re obviously going to be mining as much as we can The Original Series and if we can reach into Next Gen some way. But… those Original Series episodes and that TNG era and Deep Space Nine were using episodic television to say something really introspective or really important about the world around us and about ourselves as the human species and what we could be in the future. And that kind of legacy storytelling is how we’re sort of gonna really look at each episode.
The USS Enterprise was introduced in the second season of Discovery, and Henry Alonso Myers talked about how while they’re developing the designs for the rest of the show, they’re doing what they can to hold to the original style:
One of the great joys of this job has been we meet weekly with our incredibly talented production and design team and we look over the incredible sets. For us, I think the fun of it has been figuring out how to keep continuity with the past. How to keep some of the amazing design elements from the ’60s that were incorporated in the first one and updating it for a modern audience.
Crossover with Lower Decks?
Rebecca Romijn (Number One) just happens to be married to Jerry O’Connell, who voices Commander Jack Ransom on Star Trek: Lower Decks. According to Romijn, this has created “nonstop competition” in their household over who is the best Star Trek first officer. However Romijn made it clear, “I am the better Number One, just letting you know.” As Romijn was discussing this friendly Strange New Worlds / Lower Decks competition in the Romijn / O’Connell household, executive producer Akiva Goldsman jumped in to say:
I do want to want to be clear, without violating any confidentiality agreements, that I have already begun advocating for the crossover episode.
This surprise revelation caused an eruption for others on the panel into some wild theories about what a Strange New Worlds / Lower Decks crossover might look like, including mentions of a mix of live-action and animation like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but that was all speculative.
Watch the full panel
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