Interview: ‘Strange New Worlds’ Co-Showrunner Henry Alonso Meyers On Updating ‘Star Trek’ Characters

On Saturday, Paramount+ brought the cast and creatives of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds to New York City for a star-studded premiere. TrekMovie was there on the gold carpet to talk to all of them. We start with our brief interview with executive producer and co-showrunner Henry Alonso Myers. At the recent Mission Chicago convention, he spoke at length about all the classic elements from Star Trek: The Original Series he and the team are bringing into this new series, so we thought we would talk to him about how the new show differs from TOS.

You have brought so much love from The Original Series into this, but are there elements of TOS you are doing differently? Maybe avoiding some of the tropes they had or the way women were sometimes treated? 

Well, I don’t want to… they were doing a show at a certain time with a certain perspective, and they probably weren’t aware of certain things. I think what’s really fun about this is trying to re-envision some stuff or deepen some stuff, or trying to find a richer perspective for characters who maybe didn’t always get that. Just doing it today with contemporary actors and trying to like zero in on them, makes the show feel different. Do you know what I mean? Like, I feel safe in saying our Chapel is not the Chapel of The Original Series, although she will become a version of the Chapel of The Original Series. We’re trying to do a character who would exist today.

Chapel is different on Strange New Worlds. What was behind the decision to make her so very different from the one we know?

We wanted to give a hat tip to some of the things that she does in TOS, but try to find a different reason why, like a human reason. A reason that we would understand. No slight against anything that they did on The Original Series, but they had a very different conception of women and of marriage and what people would do in their jobs. And as a contemporary audience member myself, I don’t find that believable, and I had trouble with that.

So a lot of that just started with, ‘Well, what else could she be?’ Where did she come from? What’s an interesting story to tell with her? And a lot of it also comes from when we cast Jess [Bush] as Chapel. What are her strengths? How can we play to that?

Jess Bush as Chapel

Did you have a different approach with Uhura?

Uhura is such an important character in the history of the franchise. But one of the things we realized doing this was there’s so much about her life that we don’t know. And it was exciting to figure that out… And we were really lucky to find Celia [Rose Gooding]. She just really, well, you know!

Was singing part of her audition process?

No, but we knew that she did. I knew we would incorporate singing somehow with her. I mentioned it when we were working with our casting people and they found someone who was kind of bright. We knew we had singing in the second episode, and then we knew we would try to find more ways to bring that forward. That just happened to work out. And then also just when we met her, she was so poised and was just like… I sort of knew when she walked in the room. I was like, “I think this might be our Uhura.” [laughs]

Celia Gooding as Uhura

More NYC SNW interviews to come

This is the first of our gold carpet interviews from the New York premiere of Strange New Worlds. Stay tuned all week long as we share more from the cast and executive producer/co-creator Alex Kurtzman.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds debuts on Thursday, May 5 exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S., Latin America, Australia and the Nordics. The series will air on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and stream on Crave in Canada. In New Zealand, it will be available on TVNZ, and in India on Voot Select. Strange New Worlds will arrive via Paramount+ in select countries in Europe when the service launches later this year, starting with the UK this summer.

Find more stories on the Star Trek Universe.

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Honestly, I’d rather they just stayed away from TOS characters entirely, though of course I know full well that ship sailed years ago when they brought them into Discovery. But oh well.

I guess all I can really hope for now is a great show, which I think everyone can agree is a fair thing to hope for.

Can confirm, it’s a great show. Yes, I have seen it.

Nice to know. Thanks.

Agreed. I think it would have been better had they steered clear of anyone on TOS apart from Spock and come up with their own characters. I’ve said before that the one character that feels could have possibly been on this ship was Scotty. Certainly not as Chief Engineer but for sure on the engineering staff. Apart from that I just don’t see any advantage to dipping into that well. But as you said, that ship left space dock ages ago. Secret Hideout loves their call backs. And the fans do do, it seems.

Well, you can blame the fans for this. And it obvious that this is what the fans wanted to see. When they were brought into discovery, everyone wanted to see a show based on the characters. And if memory serves me correct – Anson Mount did not want to do this initially because of the shooting in Toronto. If the fans did not insist on this show, we would have probably got the Section 31 show instead… or something else entirely.

Aren’t we supposed to still be getting the Section 31 show, just not as soon?

I’m very torn over this show. I totally understand that it’s happening because fans demanded it after falling in love with Mount’s portrayal of Pike, and that’s great, it truly is. I also love the whole idea of a return to classic episodic Star Trek, with an adventure/allegory-of-the-week format. On the other hand, one can’t really do Pike and his Enterprise without doing Spock, and with all due respect to Ethan Peck, for me the character is inseparable from Leonard Nimoy (and similarly, to me Nichelle Nichols and Nyota Uhura will always be inseparable). I’m also not down with the idea of the visual reboot (though I will give John Eaves all the credit in the world for coming up with an Enterprise redesign that at least looks genuinely good, even beautiful, which can’t be an easy thing to do).

Still, I do hope the show is everything we want, and that it brings joy and enlightenment, and I do intend to watch; I’ll probably just headcanon it as being in some alternate timeline / universe / whatever from the main Trek timeline, even while fully aware it’s officially part of the same prime timeline that’s meant to lead to TOS and everything beyond. It might not be officially sanctioned, but such a headcanon is probably the only way I can enjoy the show.

To be honest, who knows if Section 31 will happen. It is still on the books. But it was actually supposed to happen before Picard and keeps getting pushed.

Fans wanted this show, Paramount listened. Fans wanted episodic, Paramount listened. Fans wanted a ship closer to TOS than looking way off base, Paramount listened. You cannot have a show about Picard without having some of the legacy characters in it. I am sure Scotty will also pop up at some point in a future season.

I have no problem seeing other actors take on the roles. And at least we can see more character development beyond what we would have seen in TOS. I find that it is an exciting time right now. I love seeing different takes on the Trek universe.

I have written so much fan fiction over the years and had my own take on characters. I am very open minded and an interested in seeing another person’s take on the characters.

For me, the desirability of recasting depends on the character and the relationship the original actor has with that character. It doesn’t bother me that we’ve had multiple performers as Saavik, say, or Zefram Cochrane, Tora Ziyal, Ishka, or the Borg Queen.

Other characters, particularly ones who’ve had long runs and are closely linked with their characters, especially ones that have contributed in additional capacities aside from acting, are different. I wouldn’t be crazy about someone who isn’t Patrick Stewart taking on the character (aside from young actors playing the character at an earlier age than Stewart ever did, like the child Picard we’ve seen in Picard the show just recently).

Leonard Nimoy was Spock, for so many of us; this is a character with whom he became inextricably linked. He had 112 total appearances as Spock, across TOS, TAS, TNG, and the movies. While he’s not the Star Trek actor with the most appearances in the franchise (whether as the same character or not), he’s one of only two to portray the same character in every single episode of not just one series but two, with his runs as Spock in every episode of both TOS and TAS (a feat so far matched only by Patrick Stewart’s dual runs as Jean-Luc Picard in TNG and Picard). He portrayed this character in all of Spock’s appearances over a span of almost 47 years, longer than any other performer’s run as any one Trek character, and in six different calendar decades (playing Spock at least once apiece in the 1960s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, ‘00s, and ‘10s), something no one else has come close to doing with any one other character. He appeared in more Trek movies (8) than any other performer (whether as the same character or not), and he contributed to his character not only as an actor but also as writer, director, and producer (in both an official capacity in those roles on the movies, and long before with his thoughtful contributions to the character and to Vulcans generally on TOS, drawing upon both his own personal experience and outlook as well as his cultural background).

The various actors who played young Spock in “Yesteryear” and Star Trek III (both of which also still had Leonard Nimoy as Spock) were one thing, but someone else – not Ethan Peck specifically, but anyone else – taking on the character anywhere in the same age range encompassed by Nimoy’s 112 performances over 47 years just feels… off, to me. Granted, this is just me bringing in my own baggage as a fan of this character and this franchise for most of my life; try as I might, I have trouble putting aside my personal experience of following Nimoy-as-Spock through these stories over these years. For someone discovering the character through SNW, of course, that will all be irrelevant – and that’s okay! But try as I might, I just can’t divorce myself from that awareness of Nimoy’s extensive history with Spock, or from my own decades of experience watching Nimoy as Spock, and it’s as difficult for me to see someone else as “really” being Spock as it would be to see, say, four random young musicians come together off the street today, call themselves The Beatles, and accept them as being the same group as John, Paul, George, and Ringo (and yes, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best :p ). But as noted, others’ experience will differ (and again, that’s okay!). Perhaps it’s simply a failure of my own imagination. But I’m as inclined to view a new show through the lens of my own knowledge and experience as anyone else, and I think that’s fair.

FWIW, I still intend to watch it, and I sincerely hope to enjoy it.

You put those things perfectly. Thanks for that great comment, I second every word of it.

Honestly, singing is a big tradition in all the Star Trek shows and really does show the range of the actors they get for them. The Doctor still has the best voice in the franchise. Robert Picardo is a godsend! It’s nice that’s another element from classic Trek they are bringing back that we haven’t seen much in the new shows.

They have people from Rent on Discovery and haven’t used them musically afaik which is just baffling.

Yes. Unfortunately, Anthony Rapp plays a character who doesn’t seem as if he’d be cheerfully humming a tune as he goes about his work. :-)

He sang with a band at the NJ Creation convention I went to last September. That man is a great singer!!!

Leonard Nimoy encouraged fans to not “cling to the minutiae of canon,” and to be open to “where does Star Trek want to take me TODAY?” (My emphasis) Meyers, makes a good point about he was uncomfortable with exactly replicating Chapel as she was in 1966, due to how things have changed in 55 years. The Enterprise beauty shots from the opening credits are stunning. These showrunners (and Anson Mount) know the real star of the show is the Enterprise, itself. Also, I think Par+ is listening and weighing fan input on various sites and social media on the web. Thing is, we “die hard” Trekkies aren’t a large enough fanbase to sustain a TV show that cost $10 million per episode to make. The business side of show business forces the creative people behind the scenes to thread a very fine needle. Satisfy what can be an UNFORGIVING fanbase, while attracting new viewers. In 1966, Trek was groundbreaking TV. There were only 3 networks or channels. Trek now has to compete with shows like Dexter, Game Of Thrones, the MCEU, Breaking Bad, Outlander, Disney, etc in a multi channel and virtually unlimited on demand choices. Star Trek HAS to attract NEW viewers to survive, let alone thrive. I’m hoping that the 3rd time is the charm. We get stand alone episodes with SNW and with a diverse cast of both strong male and strong female characters. The editor of Starlog encouraged us to “embrace TNG” when it aired in 1987 as it had been almost two decades of no live action Trek. Other than the final two episodes of DSC in season 2? We haven’t seen any new live action adventures of the Enterprise (NCC-1701) since 1969. I’m going to go in with an open mind. Star Trek’s best home is on TV. I’ll love some aspects of SNW while struggling with some of the (understandable) creative decisions they make to attract viewers in 2022. Seeing the Enterprise should sooth most of what I struggle with. She’s beautiful……

You’ve spoken some truly important words: yes, Trek has to compete with stiff competition in an increasingly fragmented TV lanscape. But I wouldn’t go so far to say it has to compete with Dexter or Breaking Bad… That’s far too remote genre-wise…
However, Trek HAS to compete with Star Wars, the MCU, DC, Stranger Things, GoT, the upcoming LOTR Amazon show, the upcoming Alien series etc… scifi and fantasy and only that…

In addition, P+ has to compete with D+, Netflix, HBO Max and AmazonPrime. P+ must secure a firm position amongst the new “big five” of streaming services, fencing off Peac0ck, AppleTV+ and YouTube Premium and overtaking Hulu.

The “unforgiving fanbase” is an issue but that’s true for every single fanbase there is. Those toxic tendencies are everywhere: Star Wars, Doctor Who, Alien, Tolkien and it’s only getting worse. The only way to overcome all that is to generate as much general interest as possible to render the die-hard naysayers irrelevant.

Well put, sir. Thank you for your input.

I think “competing with” is a bit of an exaggeration. Trek doesn’t air on live tv, its streaming. So you can watch both Star Wars and Star Trek

I don’t think they are competing with the other genres either. Trek, and other streaming properties only need to carve out their niche. In today’s world smaller audiences are perfectly OK.

Yeah, I don’t think they’re really “competing with”, and if they were, I don’t know if the best approach is to make them conform tonally with all those other shows, especially shows outside the genre.

Standing out, at least somewhat, is a better approach for Trek anyway. TOS may seem very camp today, but not anywhere close to almost all of it’s contemporaries, going 5-10 years before or after TOS premiered. Most science fiction was terribly camp, nonsensical and forgettable, but TOS has endured. True, some of Trek is terribly camp, but the overall production holds up because how people like Gene Coon, D.C. Fontana, David Gerrold and Gene Roddenberry treated the material.

I’m hoping that Strange New Worlds is able to “stand out” better than Discovery or Picard has been able to amongst the rest of the current sea of television/streaming.

I don’t understand any criteria that has those CG shots registering as stunning, unless it is stunning disappointment. Look at some photographed physical objects and then try to reconcile the look of this work with that. It ain’t possible. Our standards for visual cred should be higher now, and yet the results are flying ass-backwards, towards pre-motioncontrol mid70s, like a tarted-up TAS.

I’m forced to agree, unfortunately. The sequence is actually closer to Prodigy than Voyager in terms of photorealism, even though Voyager was also represented by a CGI version of the ship in several of the shots. The effects are pretty in the sense that they’re colorful, but that’s about it — the Enterprise has little sense of weight or mass, despite being conceptually larger than the original. Even the TOS-R space shots felt more realistic.

That said, effects are just frosting on the cake, and every review I’ve read of this show today has been positive. So, we’ll see.

I disagree partly. I think it’s a generational issue. The sequence certainly has a video game vibe. But to younger viewers, video game graphics appear to be realistic. VOY on the other hand… not so much. A couple of years ago I watched “The 37s” with a class of 15-year olds. Amelia Earhard had popped up in our textbooks and I wanted to show them what “really” happend to her :-)

They deemed the photorealistic VOY effects as totally ancient and outdated. Quite obviously they had never seen OV TOS. :-) For me, the FX on VOY and ENT had always looked state-of-the-art but with younger viewers who grew up on video games, it’s obviously a different perception. The SNW opening certainly plays into those video game viewing habits.

Yeah, the visual effects have so far been an utter disappointment for me as a fan. They look like something tossed out in Unreal Engine. It doesn’t feel like it could be a real vessel. As cheap as the effects were in TOS, the ship at least looked grounded in reality to some degree since it was a physical object. Yesterday, my 8 year old son said that TV shows should use real models. I was kind of shocked. He thinks they look way better and thought the SNW opening wasn’t good. This is coming from an 8 year old who is well entrenched in modern effects. I’ve shown him older stuff and recently shared some things from the Directors Edition of TMP. He was blown away by just how incredible the Enterprise looked. The folks churning out CGI today lack a proper grounding in achieving results that feel grounded in reality.

Would have been really nice if production had build a physical model and filmed all of their close up beauty passes with it, but used CGI for faster action scenes and shots where the ship is further away.

Considering the AR wall basically requires unreal engine to live up to it’s potential, it would not surprise me if they use the same models in the cg too

Well, I can only speak for myself. I watched the trailer on my 75″ TV. I felt that the details on the ship that I was able to see were stunning, especially during closeup shots. I thought that the shots of bussard collectors spinning away on the nacelle caps was done right. Upon subsequent viewings, some of the long shots through the clouds and boulders were reminiscent of VOY and Prodigy. I think that may have been done on purpose, trying to reach that fanbase. We original Trekkies are getting older and from Paramount’s view aren’t spending as much money going to cons and buying memorabilia. A licensing employee from CBS (sorry I won’t name drop) has said that TNG is it’s biggest money maker, licensing product wise. I think a lot of the creative decisions for that intro was to attract the PlayStation generation. I’m guessing Kmart, that you might be in film making or photography? If so, your trained eye might notice the granular details that my untrained eye couldn’t. I also was excited to just flat out see NCC 1701 on my TV screen for new adventures. I probably had some rose colored lenses on.

I watched it on my 50″ TV and it’s not just about details, it’s shot composition as well, the lighting, none of which felt grounded to me. The ship didn’t feel like something that could exist in reality. That’s something the visual effects guys from the 80’s and 90’s Trek were overall really good at getting right. I hope Season 3 of Picard gets some of that back with the likes of Doug Drexler and Dan Curry returning. The CGI effects in modern trek are overly stylized

yeah, I’m looking at it through different eyes by a bit from you. While I have a great appreciation for truly excellent CGI, I find that present mostly in ‘invisible’ vfx rather than showier stuff. CG spaceships (and badly lit or oddly composited physical models) are very bothersome to me — I really hate that TRIALS&TRIBS abandoned the TOS lighting style for the K7 exteriors in favor of that dull look … it was almost like the low-contrast stuff they did with models was prep for when CG took over, because they took nice miniatures and made them look like mediocre CGI.

A basic standard that doesn’t require any trained eye or nitpickiness is if you look at real imagery of something like a big ship in a real oceanside dock. There’s a sense of the craft overflowing the frame. That isn’t something you get in all model shots, but when you do, it goes a long way toward convincing me. Say what you will about TOS, but the flybys when the ship comes to camera and overflows the frame top and bottom have a sense of scale to them … even when they do the same kind of shot decades later in s3-onwards TNG, it doesn’t really work as well because the model is much smaller and so it can’t really overflow the frame the same way.

TMP pulls it off to a greater degree because they had a tiny periscope lens for many shots, but even there you get a sense of trickster because they are using wide angle lenses, which feel different than what is often used in life when filming large objects. 2001 actually used giant models and fairly long lenses, hence the greater impact (plus the work was exquisite.)

With CG, I find that the lighting is very rarely right (GRAVITY does get it right, and some of the FC CG ships still look good to me), the contrast being off. The real big failure for me in recent years is that they seem to deliberately be coming up with approaches that step away from visual credibility in favor of painterliness. If you’re doing WHAT DREAMS MAY COME, that approach may be commendable, but with spaceshps? Why? Even a fantasy like STAR WARS still has a hard key light for in-system shots — it may not be consistent, but it has a basic cred built in, whereas what they are doing now is murky, and their motivations for doing this remain equally murky to me.

I’ve written about cinematography and VFX professionally for 30 years, and for a long while before that dabbled in zero budget stuff that was basically two steps up from throwing models past the camera, so I do have a good grounding in photography and the arts, even if it is mostly self-educated. But making things look less credible just has never seemed the way to go with something like TREK, because you’ve already got credibility problems with so much of it to begin with, because it is often so deliriously utopian. Now they try to ground it with darker stories but don’t deliver the goods because I guess all the good writers won’t work for this joker, and they barely come up with material that will sustain for a 2parter that stretches across 8 or 10 hours, so dramatically they’re in sad shape to begin with, and the visuals for me undercut things further (am the biggest non-fan of unmotivated or unnecessary lens flare you will likely find, so TREK in the last 13 years has been a visual disaster for me.)

I just read an article that says Captain Robert April will be black, played by Adrian Holmes. Wasn’t April in the animated series and the comics a white man? I think he was and that the animated series was declared canon.

If it was just TAS and the comics, I certainly would have no issue with them changing the look of the character. Rodenberry didn’t consider TAS canon, and comics aren’t canon.

Pike, Spock and Number One are all white, so it makes sense that they want some diversity in the other characters. Being in one episode of TAS doesn’t make Captain April exactly well-established; I’m happy to have Adrian Holmes play him.

Yes, April was in TAS. There’s a widely held misconception that Roddenberry called TAS non-canon, but it was actually his assistant, Richard Arnold, who did that. Arnold clashed with all the licensees and the writers, and he made decisions no one agreed with, claiming they came from Roddenberry. After Gene died, Arnold was fired and the writers were free to ignore all his dictates going forward–which included being able to reference TAS again.

This is just plain wrong and also overly simplistic. That Arnold deliberately lied and GR didn’t approve and/or direct what he was doing is undeserved, unsubstantiated conjecture, and the man could have been sued and possibly charged crimes if that had been the case. Arnold is given this unfair bogey man label by some Trek historians when the responsibility should sit with GR, who was both ill and not happy that TNG and the movies had been taken away from him — that’s all sad, and true, but on the other hand, it had to be done if you read your Trek history on how GR was largely responsible for the crappy eps we got in s1 due to his micromanaging and some of his rules to the writers, like the no conflict among the core crew thing which hamstrung the writers significantly.

Arnold wasn’t a bogey man, and was part of the first fandom groups in the 1970’s. As a young man, he ran the Grace Lee Whitney Fan Club and began to work as a volunteer “gofer” for GR and Susan Sackett. In the early 80s, he was a volunteer tour guide at Paramount Pictures and was eventually offered a paid position as “Star Trek Archivist” after the huge commercial success of ST IV. As such, he vetted the licensed tie-ins on behalf of GR in tandem with Paramount Licensing, a role which was assumed solely by then-Viacom Licensing. His position ended when GR died in 1991 and for many years after was doing freelance work for the licensees and has also worked to connect the actors with convention committees.

Knowing all this, you can bet that GR directed Arnold to say TAS was not canon, or at the very least, Arnold presented it to GR, and GR approved him going forward with it. Arnold would not have done this on his own without GR approving…no way! That sort of conjecture is completely unfair to the man, and there is not a shred of evidence that supports that. As for GR, he is still to be viewed as a great man and a visionary, with his best skill being creating Star Trek, not delivering/operating Star Trek week-to-week.

“As for GR, he is still to be viewed as a great man and a visionary…”

YES! Absolutely. He had his flaws, and some them even hurt Star Trek, but after all, it’s his vision, his baby. Others contributed significantly. But no GR, no Trek.

I do consider the man a prophet, just like I do with Lucas, Tolkien, Rowling and Stan Lee. None of them are flawless deities, but they were / are visionaries who conceived and created the five greatest realms of fiction in my book.Most other franchises are lacking that sort of personalized focal point and therefore are a little less attractive to me.

I’m glad we do have a creator, one who had many weaknesses, one who had many helping hands along his path…

Not to mention that Paramount didn’t honor GR’s contract. There was a clause in GR’s contract that Paramount would show him the books and pay him, accordingly. Well, Paramount refused.
When GR was producing and filming TMP, some argued that his resentment came out, with his many daily rewrites and other behind the scenes shenanigans that went on. TMP cost 40 million dollars to make and despite the fact that TMP eventually made money? Some could argue that GR effectively “beached the ship.” History repeated itself, just like the show getting two pilots. Paramount, based on the $$ spent on sets, brought Harve Bennet in, and gave him $16 mil to make TWOK. When Par boss, Michael Eisner, was interviewing Bennet for the job, he showed him TMP. When Bennet was asked if he could produce a Trek film? He said he could. Eisner asked him, “can you make for less than 40 million (insert expletive here) dollars?” Bennet, as a former TV producer, replied that he could deliver Paramount “3 movies with that kind of money.” So, Harve Bennet is an unsung hero for Star Trek. GR was demoted to “Executive Consultant.” due to his management style on TMP.
It wasn’t until 1986 or 1987, that Par finally opened their books to GR. They owed him MILLIONS. As they couldn’t or wouldn’t pay him in a lump sum, they paid GR back, using TNG episode budget. A big line in each episode’s budget, was to reimburse Roddenberry. Majel Barrett is on record, saying that they didn’t receive a proper profit sharing check until a few years later.

I hadn’t heard about that payback to GR thing in TNG budgets, but that is a step in the right direction for maybe me understanding how their episodic budget added up. I have spent forever trying to figure out how they were spending 1.2 mil per episode early on when Rob Legato said in more than one interview that he had 75,000 per show to deliver all the visual effects, which means it was only 1/16 of the money spent. Where the hell did it all go, there was no licensing fee to Desilu or NBC that took a chunk off the top on TNG?

As for GR finally getting paid, I think that happened because around the time of TVH, Shatner got some of the profit participants together (maybe LN and GR? not sure who else would be on that list) and they were going to pay to have an audit done of Paramount’s books. Miraculously, Paramount suddenly declares that Trek is no longer in the red!

I’ve also found it of interest that up till that point, every accounting I saw about TMP had it listed as making 175 mil worldwide, but that the later reports (and everything online now) has it at only 139 worldwide. That’s a huge discrepancy, but perhaps when Par decided to acknowledge profitability, they shaved down TMP to limit their payout. TMP did 55 or 56 in domestic rentals, which when you do the 2x-2.5x multiplier thing to get gross domestic numbers, gets the film to 115 to 137 just on domestic haul. So even just 40-50 int’l would push it close to the original 175 figure. I’ve never seen anybody research this stuff (not that I know where they’d go to get the real numbers, I doubt there are detailed books on TMP’s actual budget even in existence), but it all gives me cause to wonder.

Everybody (except the studio and Katzenberg) seems to have lost big on TMP; Trumbull was supposed to get a much better deal than just getting his freedom from working for them, but they screwed him over, then had the gall to not hire him to do TWOK despite his underbidding ILM by a ton. It was a blacker mark on Wise’s career than his involvement in gutting THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS (I still can’t understand why the guy didn’t have the cajones to try sneaking a workprint out to Welles of his original cut so there’d be some actual version of the film to preserve down the line … maybe this was just karma taking decades to deliver payback.)

From Peter David’s accounts of Arnold’s interference with comics and novels, it sounds like he was acting on his own initiative. The novels certainly went south during his reign, i can say that from largely giving up on them after being devoted before that point.

Don’t want to get into the nature of GR thing again, except to say if Coon and Black and Justman hadn’t been around, none of this would be a thing because the show wouldn’t have lasted long enough to be more than a footnote.

if Coon and Black and Justman hadn’t been around, none of this would be a thing because the show wouldn’t have lasted long enough to be more than a footnote.

I find myself agreeing with that assessment.

Coon, Justman, and Fontana were essential to making to show into the thing we all love. Justman and Fontana lived long enough to see Star Trek get the popularity it deserved, and I’m sad that Mr. Coon did not.

I agree with both you and ML31 on this. Coon, supported by Fontana and Justman, not only save TOS, but significantly improved it, even as GR got in the way in many unproductive instances.

GR was a visionary and creator who certainly deserves his Trek creator fame, but his micromanagemnt of the week to week creative part of both TOS and TNG was neither positive nor was is typically helpful. And he behaved like a jerk at times in providing his direction to staff.

Peter David had an axe to grind with GR because for multiple novels, GR was not please with the canon and story liberties David was taking with Vendetta. It started with some wacky Billy Mumy idea to for David to convert a Lost in Space type of story into a Star Trek novel, and then really came to a head when GR wanted to stop the publication of Vendetta:

“RA: Every manuscript that comes into these offices goes to Gene. It then
eventually would come up here. I would then go through it and make my notes.
We would then have our meeting on it, and the process could never take more
than two weeks because that’s always the amount of time we were given. Ten
working days, to go through it and send it back. Gene’s problems with
_Vendetta_ had been from the proposal stage, and it was “no…this book is not
to be published. This book does not tell a Star Trek story–a vengeance story
is not a Star Trek story.” Okay.”

Oh, and he was never fired from his studio job after GR died by any stretch of the imagination. And also, when he passed away in 2020, multiple Trek personalities, including Marina Sirtis, validated the character of the man. He gets in trouble I think because he was the front-man to GR, who frequently had a lot of pushback on both the authors and the licensing things, and the canon interpretations. GR tried to take full control of this, and he went to far and pissed a lot of people off. But since Arnold was the front-man, he takes the blame (plus it’s likely not going to look good for David to blame Rodenberry to grind his axe, so he blames the front-man instead).

I recommend you read the incredibly detailed interview with Arnold that is online. Search: “richard arnold interview star trek google groups” (and then separately add to this search each part of the interview: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5).

Of course at the end of the day we get to a “he said, she said” situation. But for those of us who’ve read all the biographies of Trek and GR, it seems pretty cut and dry that GR, to a fault and with some bitterness, would be over micromanaging the novels, licensing and canon.

Ocaam’s razor!

I’ll do some more reading. My understanding going back a couple decades was that after GR’s death, Arnold was ordered out of the offices within like 72 hours. I certainly don’t want to be guilty of what I complain about so much in printing legends instead of facts. Maybe I can ask the FactTrek guy about this, I just got done chatting with him these last couple hours …

interesting. I never knew that. Thanks

That’s not really what happened though. Please see the my other posts on this in this thread.

I wouldn’t mind this. Adrian Holmes is a good, charismatic actor that can own the role. Although I always envisioned someone like Robert Patrick for the Captain April role.

I wish we got Robert Patrick for the FBI role in PIC S2 :)

Except for his sex and orientation, Felix Leiter changed in just about every way over the course of Bond movies.

Felix was played by a different actor every time until Hedison was the first repeat 16 years later. Then of course, Wright played him the most in the Craig versions. However I think there is a different tone with the Bond films that really doesn’t cross over to others. Characters are recast all the time and it’s not a big deal. Others would have a tougher time getting away with that on such a grand scale.

Oh, agreed. I mean, the Bonds did stuff like have the same actor playing different roles on different sides from film to film, like Charles Gray in YOLT and DAF or Joe Don Baker in TLD and GE. Leone spaghetti westerns were even more extreme in this regard, but I mean, look at TOS and how it went with Lenard and Muldaur.

Even having read novels with April and seen TAS, I still think the April race thing is a non-issue myself, just cast a good actor and get on with it.

I do kind of wish the Bernie Casey casting (supposedly at Connery’s behest) had happened in the Eon films, because I’d have preferred seeing him in LTK rather than bringing Hedison back. If you look at Casey in THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES, it’s like watching a rank amateur, but he developed some good skills very quickly, with a very quirky and solid turn in SHARKEY’S MACHINE (which probably appeared before CHRONICLES but definitely shot a year or two prior.) Now that I think of it, he wasn’t bad in GUNS OF THE MAGNIFICENT 7, which was a decade prior, I guess when he was still playing for the Rams (I think his ’69 card was the first football card I ever came across.) So maybe CHRONICLES is just because the Bradbury writing is so unique and difficult to play, plus they had that terrible sucky LOGAN’S RUN / MILLENNIUM director.

I am going through the Martian Chronicles miniseries now and it is definitely a slog to get through it all. Its perhaps the most boring thing I have ever watched.

Wait till you get to the end of pt 2, when McGavin gets chased by martian sand sailers. You’d think it was done by kids playing in a sandbox. (if you do make it to the end, you get a modest brass ring — they do the story where a human and martian from different times see and converse briefly. It’s my fave part of the stories, and it is the one part of the show that sorta works briefly.)

Supposedly NBC cut their BRAVE NEW WORLD miniseries in half before finally airing it; if they’d done the same with CHRONICLES, it still would have been felt long. I saw about 20min of it again around 2005 (probably on SyFy) and my wife very quietly and earnestly said, ‘you made your point, please just shut that off.’

If Felix Leiter and Jimmy Olsen can be black, why can’t Robert April?

And it’s TAS… They got all sorts of colors wrong on that show… deliberately. They had pink Tribbles! Lilac Klingon uniforms! The events are canon, the depictions not so much.

DC operates in a multiverse with countless earths. Jimmy Olsen being black on one version of Earth is not the same as Robert April being back in the Prime universe of Trek. Having said that, I don’t see a problem with this at all. But if you were to make Spock black fans would be breaking down the doors of Paramount I think.

JJ Abrams is about to make a movie where Clark Kent/Superman is black and I don’t think it’s going to go as well as he thinks it will

JJ Abrams is about to make a movie where Clark Kent/Superman is black and I don’t think it’s going to go as well as he thinks it will

I suspect it is less that and more the person who is reported to be writing it.

We’re not talking anything like Aaron Sorkin-level talent, right?

“JJ Abrams is about to make a movie where Clark Kent/Superman is black”

A Superman will be black but it’s not Clark Kent…It will most likely be Calvin Ellis…

If the showrunners decided to test several actors of different colors and races and gave the gig to Adrian Holmes because he was the right guy for the part? Well done, in my opinion. Casting people were color blind, and found the best actor, as to how April was written for modern Trek. Look, anyone can be attached to granular facts of canon. This character was white, male or female, had blue eyes and only ate yellow M&M’s. I know several behind the scene creatives at Trek, past and present, (won’t name drop, sorry) and one told me that he derives comfort, when canon is respected down to the last detail. You might be as well, and that’s fine.
You’re entitled to that same opinion.
However, I do know how HARD it is to actually produce these episodes.
There are schedules and deadlines to meet.
Actors, especially ones who are character actors, who are guest stars on television, are juggling several projects. Their agents may have asked too much money for them and the budget for the episode was maxed out.
SNW may have offered the role to a white male actor and he wasn’t available, due to other commitments. If Adrian Holmes was available, did a good audition, I can see why they booked him, instead of being tied down by canon.
The bulk of the viewers probably don’t even know that TAS existed, and April appeared in a forgettable episode, and was a white male. Not to mention the character’s appearance in the comics. The showrunners are juggling a “dozen balls in the air,” and I can understand why they cast the actor (for many reasons) who got the role.

He was in TAS. One could call me inconsistent with how I view canon and it would be a fair assessment. There are some things I feel they should not alter in any way shape or form and others that changing them up some would not be a negative. The ethnicity of Capt. April is one of those things I don’t have any issue with at all. Although the name doesn’t support it I would have liked to see some other nationality not seen in Trek all that much. But it honestly doesn’t bug me one way or the other.

Actually I’m beginning to love the idea of April being a POC… Now Trek has truly impressive line-up of black inventors: Emory Erickson invented the transporter, Richard Daystrom the computers and April the Enterprise herself…

I kind of wish they’d have just left those characters alone.

Anybody know the age rating of SNW yet? Hoping that in addition to pretty much superbly nailing a modern interpretation of the 60s Trek aesthetic (a few too many lights and shiny surfaces still, but perhaps they’ll tone that down further, once the cast start getting migraines ;) ), and a promising cast, plus a return to episodic story-telling, my remaining hope is that this marks itself out as a return to family viewing at long last. Star Wars and Doctor Who haven’t felt the need to suddenly insert f-bombs and such to appear edgy or less ‘family friendly square’, and I don’t see why Star Trek shouldn’t go back to being more wholesome too.

Many are getting tired of ‘grim-dark’ sci-fi, as its been done to death at this point. We want escapism, the world/reality is too grim-dark, we need some optimism. Hoping this show is fun, thought-provoking, and has great cast chemistry without that feeling that they’re trying to nail demographic data points by comittee, as Disco and Picard have suffered from. Early feedback is positive – fingers crossed this truly does feel like the return of classic Star Trek, both in tone, story and characters. Wishing this show well!

MA for mature audiences is on one of the trailers. Whether that applies to every episode or even what defines mature is up to viewer. I agree with the idea that the show should be thought provoking. Don’t JUST force feed ideas but leave us questioning them as well. Ultimately I am remain cautiously optimistic. This is a first season so there are bound to be ups and downs but I like the stand alone format coming back. It adds variety to the franchise once again and allows us not to wallow to much on what could potentially become weak storylines.

From what I can surmise from the trailers, there might be some nudity involved especially when it comes to Spock’s ponfarr situation. I mean Gene Roddenberry himself would have put some nudity in TOS if the censors had allowed back in the day so I don’t mind it one bit.

Not to be that guy, but I couldn’t find any interviews or articles mentioning that Roddenberry would have put “some nudity” in TOS. Something may exist, but it doesn’t seem well documented and an obscure quote that is 31-56 years old certainly shouldn’t play any part in supporting adding nudity to future Trek.

No one likes to hear it but TV-MA (like an “R” rating) is a major barrier to allow a young audience an entry into the Trek franchise. A lot of parents still base their family viewing on these ratings. If the producers and fandom are fine with that, so be it.

I’ll borrow the following from an earlier thread on this site:

I got into Trek watching old re-runs of TOS and TNG. I was 9 when DS9 premiered. If those had been produced in a way that wasn’t “family friendly”, I don’t think I (or a huge number of people) would ever have had the opportunity to become life-long fans.

I think a lot of people confuse “family friendly” with “meant for kids”. I would consider DS9 “family friendly”. It certainly isn’t “kid” friendly, but DS9 was something designed for practically all audiences. Some of the deeper/darker themes of the earlier seasons were lost on me at that age, but it’s stories and conflict were something I could enjoy alongside my parents and my sibling, and I found greater appreciation for the stuff I missed as a kid while watching the show later in life.

I’d say that DS9 was handled more *maturely* than Discovery or Picard have been handled.
The themes of DS9 could be dark, but the show wasn’t brutal, at least compared to the kind of pervasive brutality that has appeared in Secret Hideout Trek. I’m not personally phased by violence or language or an overly depressing tone, but there’s a time and place for all of that.

Trek shouldn’t be the place to show Icheb getting his eye removed from it’s socket or continually trying to humanize Empress Space Hitler. There’s a lack of optimism that is pervasive in Discovery and Picard that is off-putting to a lot of the detractors. More people should be concerned that production has been floating the idea for 4+ years about creating a show centered around a truly detestable (and evil) Starfleet organization (Section 31).

I’ve not been this excited for a Trek TV series since September, 2001. And yes, I am one of the very few that really liked Enterprise, even with its silly theme song, space Nazis, and Temporal Cold war.

Season 4 was really going in a good direction and then boom . . . no show.

A lot of people love Enterprise today, me included.