After a break, we are resuming on our coverage from the 56-Year Mission Star Trek convention in Las Vegas. During a Star Trek: Strange New Worlds panel, the cast mostly kept mum on the second season, which has already been shot. However, Rebecca Romijn (Number One) did let something out. We also have some comments from Anson Mount and the other members of the cast about their Star Trek roles.
Number One’s mutant parallel in SNW
The first season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds ended on a cliffhanger with Commander Una Chin-Riley being arrested for concealing her true Illyrian heritage and genetically modified nature. At the Vegas event, actress Rebecca Romijn was asked if this storyline would link to Star Trek mythology and the Eugenics Wars, which led to the outlawing of genetic enhancement. At first, she was reluctant to say anything about season 2, but then the actress talked about how she saw a parallel with a previous role:
It will be expanded upon in the second season, yes…. And what also is really strange about it, and I probably shouldn’t say this, but I kept going back to when I was playing Mystique as a mutant. I had little bits of dialogue in season 2 that were literally word-for-word things I said in the X-Men series before. But they are related. They are two characters, and I relate them.
Romijn played the blue-skinned, shape-shifting mutant Mystique in three X-Men films between 2000 and 2006. A recurring theme of those films was the prejudice between humans and mutants, which resulted in some mutants being held prisoner, including Mystique. So it makes sense that Romijn’s Number One will be dealing with similar themes in season 2.
Mount wasn’t sure he would return to Pike
Strange New Worlds star Anson Mount talked again about how much being a Star Trek captain was a dream come true for him as a lifelong fan. He first played the role of Captain Pike in the second season of Star Trek: Discovery and he said he didn’t know at the time that a spin-off series was under consideration. He told the crowd a bit about the journey from wrapping production on Discovery at the end of 2018 to the announcement of the new series in mid-2020.
Well, we did notice that they were spending a lot of money on the Enterprise bridge. So we were like, “Is this a thing?” Then they wanted us to do [Short Treks]. And then I had to call Alex [Kurtzman] to ask him a question and he was like, “So I think we are going to do a show.” So they had a soft pitch and CBS bought the concept and ordered a script. And then it was like a year goes by and they haven’t wrapped us up in contracts. So I’m starting to think this isn’t going to happen, this is going to go away. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the pandemic kept us out of other jobs. And so we were able to it.
Mount also compared and contrasted the experiences of working on Discovery and Strange New Worlds:
They are very similar experiences in the sense that it’s a lot of the same crew and creatives. So we have built-in relationships that helped us to get started much smoother than most shows. And the day-to-day is very similar, on different sets. But yes, the episodic structure of it has allowed us—this is really [showrunners] Akiva [Goldsman] and Henry [Alonso Myers] just pushing the envelope as much as possible and really getting to play more. Akiva’s mantra is ‘Star Trek can be a lot of things, Star Trek can be anything.’ So I’ve really enjoyed the hell out of that.
Peck still can’t process being Spock… hopes the show explores Sybok
As for Ethan Peck, the actor described taking on the iconic role of Mr. Spock as “an incredible, beautiful burden.” And when asked how he feels about being Spock, even four years after he was cast in Discovery, he still didn’t have the words:
Ask me that in ten years. Right now it’s a thing that’s kind of difficult to integrate into my reality. I’m just kind of experiencing it and having the experiences that are written for me on set. And I’m really incredibly grateful for it. And yeah, I pinch myself. I am living the dream. It’s the adventure of a lifetime.
During the fan Q&A, Peck was asked if he would be interested in exploring the relationship between Spock and his half-brother from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Peck admitted that even though he has a shirt for that movie he hasn’t seen it (“I’m a total fraud,” he told the crowd), but he knew what the fan was asking:
You are referring to Sybok?… I feel very excited about it. I hope that they do that, absolutely. It’s been teased, I suppose.
Rose-Gooding didn’t know she was cast as Uhura
Regarding her audition process, Celia Rose-Gooding talked about how she was trying out for a character named Yuboa, and had no idea it was actually for Uhura until after she had been cast:
I auditioned, got a callback, and I found out I booked it. And I still understood that I was going to be playing Yuboa and I was on my way to a fitting and the casting director called me and was like, “Hey, I don’t know if anyone’s told you yet, but Yuboa is not real, you’ve been punk’D, you’re playing a young Uhura… and I was in an Uber and I screamed so loud I shuddered the car. And the driver was like, “Are you fine” and I was like, “I just got the greatest news of my life!” And yeah, it’s been crazy, crazy, wheels-up ever since.
Rose-Gooding also talked about how much they wished they’d had the chance to meet original Uhura actress Nichelle Nichols:
I didn’t [get to meet Nichelle Nichols], which is something that I am making my peace with. But am very much a spiritual person and I know without the shadow of a doubt that we are so incredibly connected, and I feel her presence everywhere, which is a gift. Anyone who had an opportunity to know Nichelle knows how warm and loving – she gave so much of herself to this franchise. I’m just happy to be like a fraction of her legacy because she’s an incredible, incredible, incredible, incredible woman.
Navia sees Ortegas as a perfect fit
Mellissa Navia talked about the role of Ortegas being something special to her and how the role fits her unique style:
It’s a dream role to play the helmsman of the USS Enterprise. I mean, it just doesn’t doesn’t get better than that… The breakdown was she’s Latina, and she’s a soldier. She’s a pilot. And she funny, and she can also beat you up. And I’m like, “I feel like that’s me!”… But when I got the role, I remember thinking my whole career casting directors have always said, “You’re so specific.” And so I’ve always auditioned for things and I’ve always come down to like the last two girls, and it’s I’m never enough of anything. And I just remember feeling a sense of calm came over me like before I finally got the call that I got it where I was like, “If they want me, it’s going to be me.” Because what I bring to this is very specific to my life experiences… And when they called and I was like, “All right, let’s do this.” And that’s how Ortegas came to be.
What Jess Bush took from Majel Barrett
Actress Jess Bush said “Of course I did!” when asked if she’d studied up on Majel Barrett Roddenberry, calling her original work as Nurse Christine Chapel “great” in the original Star Trek. The new Chapel talked about what she took from that original performance for her Chapel:
I think that there was a very distinct essence to her Chapel. There’s a lot of a lot of room for development, but just her kind of sarcastic, dry nature, I pulled that and then used that to kind of generate what she is now.
Like all the actors, she was reluctant to talk about season 2, so when asked where things might be going between Chapel and Spock, all Bush would say was “no comment” with a laugh.
More from 56-Year Mission
We will be going through the rest of our material from STLV and have more to share from some of the other panels at the 56-Year Mission Las Vegas. Check out the rest of our STLV coverage here.
Find more news about the Star Trek TV Universe here at TrekMovie.com