Anson Mount Says ‘Strange New Worlds’ Season 2 Will Explore The Limits Of Star Trek’s Idealism

By the time the first season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds wrapped up in July on Paramount+, filming for the second season had already been concluded. Now the star of the show is talking about how the season 1 finale flows into the themes of season 2.

Is there such a thing as a monster?

As part of his promotion of the launch of Paramount+ in Germany last week, Anson Mount talked to German Trek site TrekZone.DE. The actor was asked about the season finale, “A Quality of Mercy,” which showed Pike an alternate future based on some key choices he made during his face-off with the Romulans, notably how his diplomatic approach proved to be the wrong choice. In the following exchange, the actor discusses how this and other elements of season 1 will inform season 2:

TrekZone: Earlier Star Treks portrayed violence as a problem and empathy and diplomacy as the solution to that problem… I feel Strange New Worlds has a more hawkish, sometimes even more militaristic approach to conflict. We see that in the Gorn arc and—in part—this seems to be the message of the season finale. How does that fit with the optimistic vision of the future that this series is advertised as?

Anson Mount: Well, you’ll have to see where we take that. Because some of those themes go on in the second season and really asking those exact questions that you were just asking. Is it possible that intelligence can be so completely ripped apart from any sense of communication or idealism? That, is there such a thing as a monster? Is that really possible? So yeah, we go down that exact road.

Celia Rose Gooding as Uhura, Anson Mount as Pike, Melissa Navia as Ortegas, and Rong Fu as Mitchell in the season 1 finale

Mount’s comment about a “monster” could be telling, as co-showrunner Henry Alonso Myers indicated in his recent TrekMovie interview that the show isn’t done with the Gorn, saying season 2 will “try to carry through on the promises we made in season 1.” Regarding the Gorn, when playing a game “This or that?” and given a choice “Klingons or Gorn?” Mount said:

Anson Mount: It depends on what you want, if you want a good round of drinking blood wine, it would be the Klingons and if you want a really good nemesis, I would go with the Gorn… I’ll go with Klingons just because there’s some hope of establishing common ground.

Anson Mount on stage for the Berlin launch (Paramount+)

Mount wants to do a Western (or a classic Mystery)

Before he went to Germany, Anson Mount appeared with some of his Strange New Worlds co-stars at the Wales Comic-Con, who didn’t have much to say about season 2 except to say it was going to be bigger and better than season 1. However, when given the choice to pick any kind of story or genre they would like to take on in a future season, Mount had a couple of ideas (via geektown.co.uk):

Anson Mount: Western! I want to do a Western… I was also thinking that I’d love to do an Agatha Christie whodunit with Spock as the logical detective and Pike is the sort of like ‘out of left field’ detective, or vice-versa.

Of course, Anson Mount’s biggest TV role before Strange New Worlds was in the Western series Hell on Wheels, with co-star Colm Meaney of Deep Space Nine. If they ever do a Western on Strange New Worlds, it would be the perfect time for a reunion with Meaney.

Anson Mount and Colm Meaney in Hell on Wheels (AMC)

Strange New Worlds returns in 2023

We don’t have a release date for the second season but it will likely debut on Paramount+ after the third season of Picard wraps up in late April. So May 2023, around a year after the debut of season 1, seems like a good bet. Season 2 will introduce Academy Award nominee Carol Kane as the new chief engineer. Paramount hasn’t released a trailer yet, but on Star Trek day they did release a clip from an Ortegas-focused episode.

[International viewers can watch the clip on StarTrek.com]


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I would have thought that Discovery S5 would premiere sometime after Picard S3 ends… and after that SNW S2 would premiere after Discovery S5 ended no?

Something Mount said that concerns me a bit “I’ll go with Klingons just because there’s some hope of establishing common ground”. Is he confirming that the Gorn are indeed blood-thirsty monsters that cannot be reasoned with, as portrayed in S1? This goes against how they were portrayed in Arena, where the Gorn could at least converse and their aggressive behavior in destroying Cestus III could be justified by their thinking that the Federation had encroached on their territory. So in TOS although they were aggressive, they were far from mindless beasts. I do hope they don’t double-down and continue on this path of making the Gorn mindless monsters. Maybe what we saw in S1 is an early development stage, where they just need to feed, and as they grow they become more sentient and aware. If not, IMO this would be a serious lost opportunity to explore the Gorn in a more in-depth manner by giving them more layers, instead of them being just animals.

S2 of SNW began filming first, and was already well into post-production before filming on S5 of DSC started.

I agree. I don’t have an issue with showing more Gorn in season 2 but I really hope they aren’t just more one dimensional monsters either.

Dude, the Gorn in TOS was essentially an intelligent monster who could not be reasoned with. Let’s not try to reinvent that — the episode is what it is

They weren’t monsters. They were territorial, just as Kirk believed he was defending the Federation’s territory when he chased after the Gorn ship. And he says to the Metron that maybe they can reach an agreement some day, so obviously he believed in the end they could be reasoned with.

To make them monsters without hope for anything better is a reinvention. It’s also a lazy and depressing message.

Plus with this version of Gorn I can’t believe them building a house let alone an interstellar star ship.

Danny Boy. Pre Lion’s statement isn’t inaccurate.

People use that term monster for many different things. But let’s look rationally at the situation presented.

The Gorn find a settlement of aliens in what they believe is their territory. The use guile to approach and destroy. They then use guile to lure more aliens that are outside of that territory into that area to destroy them.

The enterprise returns attack after being attacked, and pursues them. When the Gorn and Kirk are transported unto the planet we learn that the Gorn has been able to understand Kirk the entire time (this is the first time Kirk or any person from the Federation at this point in the episode (meaning the crew of the Enterprise or the settlers on Cestus III) have had real communication with he Gorn, while the Gorn has been able to understand them since before the attack on the colony)). So the Gorn have known that the settlers tried to Surender, tried to communicate. The Gorn on the ship nor the Gorn on the ground are not shown to have any interest in it. They don’t care about the reason of circumstances of the other party. Now on The Enterprise we do see that the crew are stating that they (meaning the Federation) might have at least caused the reason for the attack, showing something that we never see the Gorn express. The Gorn’s only single concession we hear is a promise of quick death to Kirk.

Now one of the ways the term Monster is used is to describe people who lack the ability to show empathy to the plight of others, and that’s clearly shown here. So the term monster is applicable.

Now when Kirk shows he’s not willing to kill a helpless foe, the Metron’s spare him and the crew of the Enterprise. Not before stating he is willing to destroy the Gorn ship for Kirk, who declines. Kirk states they can talk, and maybe reach an agreement.

Kirk’s belief is just that belief in the possible, but at no point is that belief backed up based on the behavior shown in the episode, just on Kirk’s belief in the possible.

Now by that same token, at no point does SNW show that the Gorn are monsters without the possibility of improving relations. You state thats a reinvention and lazy writing. And frankly that statement is without merit or rational thought.

We know that’s La’an belief, but we see that others don’t share her belief that is formed based on her experience and trauma. It would be like us the viewers believing that Style’s view of the Romulans reflected every person in the Federation. I am sure that loan survivor of Cestus III felt the same way. That’s typically eh reactions of those that survive massacres. Trek has often shown initial stages the implacable nature of an enemy before eventually showing that there is the possibility of better. Be it from Cardassians, Romulans, Borg, Jem’Hadar, ect…..

Exactly! I mean, some fans just watch the ep again and stop the overthinking on what was presented in the ep. Kirk and the Metrons can try to stamp their values and reasons for the Gorn’s behavior all they want, but I am talking about the behavior and actions of the one Gorn we saw in that ep — that dude was a monster, albeit an intelligent one.

The Gorns are intelligent monsters, period…it is what it is.

It sure is, and it isn’t what you just said.

Silvereyes

Actually no it doesn’t. We see they can communicate in Discovery, that they do work together in Discovery. We just learned that their initial after birth state is entirely instinctual. But we do learn. few nuggets that might indicate, that the Gorn use others as birthing chambers, that they do this isolated from their remarry territory so that births aren’t in populated areas, Which gives some indication that this primal stage is limited to a period of unknown length after being hatched. It seems reasonable that at some point after the one survivor would then be brought into a larger group to socialize.

Now we see Lian being absolutely sure that you can’t reason with them. But by that same token the original survivor from Cestus III would feel the very same. Because in their own experience communication with them was not ever successful. That doesn’t indicate that it’s without possibility.

And in TOS we learn they do have the ability to communicate with other species, as they use this as the means to access the base and lure the Enterprise into a trap. And of course we in Discovery their own language used.

In TOS the Gorn never shows any interest in working together or engaging in talk to resolve any issue, outside of thinking Kirk should be reasonable and stop fighting and running away as he is clearly the superior opponent.

The Metro doesn’t spare the Gorn because of his or his species character, he spares them because Kirk first refuses to kill, and when later offered to destroy them says no.

Now its Trek so either the Gorn remain the same and other races learn to give them their space, the learn to eventually over time engage in diplomatic relations with other species, or another species (or species decide to annihilate them. But their is nothing in TOS that indicates that the Gorn ever have a desire or learn to coexist with other species.

Jesus I wish I could get the edit function to work. Its SNW not Discovery, its La’an not Liam and about 15 spelling mistakes I would like to correct……

No worries, we still understood what you meant.

Now we see Lian being absolutely sure that you can’t reason with them. But by that same token the original survivor from Cestus III would feel the very same. Because in their own experience communication with them was not ever successful.

Exactly. Some fans are really overthinking this. They are intelligent monsters who in no way share the civilized values of the Federation, or even the Klingon or Romulan empires — both of which can actually be reasoned with.

Intelligent monsters with a primeval set of values at best. It is what it is.

Nowhere does he say the Gorn are just beasts or mindless monsters.

If anything, it might be a longer arc looking at what happens when you don’t think you can find common ground and how do you get there – which was certainly part of TOS (Romulans/Klingons etc).

Of course they aren’t just beasts. But they are intelligent monsters who in no way share the civilized values of the Federation, or even the Klingon or Romulan empires — both of which can actually be reasoned with.

Intelligent Monsters is a great description of the Gorns.

On the one hand, I think that there is something to be said for punching Nazis (and was disappointed that Discovery didn’t do much with the idea of the “Vulcan hello” from its pilot). On the other hand, it’s awfully easy to say violence is the answer when the question is purely hypothetical. I think there’s something to the fact that the most idealistic Treks (TNG and — I think, swashbuckling aside — TOS) are the ones made by the creative staff with the most personal, intimate familiarity with war and its brutality.

I don’t understand the obsession with doing Star Trek-Western mashups. TOS, TNG, and ENT all did one; none was particularly memorable (ENT was the best of the lot). “Cowboys and Aliens” was a bit of a dud, too.

Of late, I’d say that ‘testing the limits of Trek’s idealism’ has been much more an obsession than the space western. Getting a little old.

It’s literally based on “Wagon Train.”

Fistful of Datas is a favorite of mine.

Same. Word’s a cowboy. Love it

Star Trek TOS was written as the “wagon train to the stars” according to Gene Roddenberry

I actually think Spectre of the Gun is one of the best episodes of the much maligned TOS season three.

Phantom of The Gun?

I really don’t need more exploration of the limits of Starfleet idealism. Its an interesting question, but is pretty much the only one the franchise has asked since TNG ended.

My feeling is they can’t better In The Pale Moonlight in this regard. I just want some more original stories for s2.

The Gorn have been the one thing Strange New Worlds has gotten entirely wrong. I can’t help but wonder if the writers rewatched “Arena” or if they just went from memory and misremembered, because they seem to have misunderstood that episode’s point. This is a far bigger problem that Discovery’s Klingons.

I agree with a number of people here. “Testing the limits of Star Trek’s idealism”? Again? Why do they keep throwing this same stuff at us, from Discovery and Picard, and now the SNW has to follow suit? Is this really what the world needs right now? More dystopian sci-fi? What terrible thing did Gene Roddenberry do that he must be punished by post-TNG Trek this way? They have gutted the very meaning of Star Trek. Not only is it depressing, it’s also uncreative. Every Star Trek since Enterprise , from the JJ movies, to Discover and Picard, has been the same dystopian garbage.
I really don’t understand what’s wrong with these people. How can they think they are doing something inspiring and/or creative this way?

It all started with a core group of TNG writers who were butt-hurt about Gene not letting them put in as much conflict as they wanted. So once Gene was dead and couldn’t do anything about it, they pissed on his grave by turning Trek into what THEY wanted it to be. And that’s where we’ve been ever since.

Wow that’s harsh! I don’t agree with this at all, How was Voyager not optimistic? Enterprise did have a downturn in season 3 but that was relating to 911 at the time. And season 4 went back to the optimistic spirit IMO.

Yes I will say DS9 was more dark and not optimistic as the other shows, and yet it’s one of the most popular if not the most popular show for a lot of fans today. And a big reason for that it challenges the ideals of what the Federation is. That’s why I love it personally.

As for the newer shows, I think LDS, PRO and yes, SNW follows Roddenberry’s spirit well. And let’s be honest, if writers had to follow exactly what Roddenberry wanted, then we would have more TMP and the early seasons of TNG all over again and the franchise probably would’ve died out by the 80s.

I’d argue DS9 was optimistic but was set in the background of a dystopian like society trying to crawl out of hell. But at the end of the day DS9 is a tale of pure good triumphing over evil unlike any Trek before or after.

I think this is a very good point. To put it polemically, yes, it’s hard to write drama (especially on a weekly-ish basis) that’s concerned more with ideas than with soapy adolescent kissing/fighting, and that grounds its interpersonal conflicts on big ideas and grand ambitions rather than people’s “feels.” But from Sophocles to Shakespeare, that’s what great writers do: they write like adults, about adults, for adults. (And to be clear, that doesn’t mean you can’t occasionally have your light-hearted romps — your “Twelfth Night”s or your “Qpid”s, for instance.)

I’m certainly not going to put Gene Roddenberry in the pantheon of all-time great writers (and he did more overseeing than writing, anyway, and he was more of a guiding light for most of TNG) but the man had ambition, and a vision. Much of Trek since has been mere space opera. Occasionally it’s been very good space opera, but I think it has generally seen diminishing returns the further it’s gotten from the original — copies of copies of copies.

And you can see it in the creatives involved in later Trek. Consider the case of RDM. Everything he’s worked on has started out closer to the Roddenberry ideal, and then — sooner and sooner, as his career has evolved — deteriorated into questionably plotted soap opera. DS9 sank into war and Worf-Dax/Kira-Odo dramas as it went on; BSG had two all-time great seasons followed by ever-more gratuitously dark “grit” and outre plot twists (albeit with a few highlights) until it finally degraded into incoherent hooey; Outlander was — I gather — just a soap opera from the get-go. (FWIW I don’t know anything about For All Mankind)

You must be fun at convention parties.

While I don’t agree that every Star Trek since Ent has been the “same dystopian garbage” (see: Prodigy or Lower Decks…AND SNW for optimistic ideals) I do think you make a valid point in questioning why writers are CONSTANTLY trying to flip the narrative on Star Trek and present it as a new idea, as if DS9 didn’t do that almost 30 years ago.

We have enough dystopia in the real world.

ds9 tested the resolve and ideals of the Fed and starfleet in time of war but never wavered in showing that sisko and co held and defended those beliefs to the end.

odo ended the war in a gesture of peace while s31 wanted genocide

Give me a break. TOS consistently tested all this as well. My god man, it’s like you have never seen Day of the Dove or Obsession?

Oh how original. So … like every show and Movie Kurtzmann was involved in. For once I’d just like to se a show again, that embraces Star Treks idealism instead of “challenging” it or “exploring its limits” … it’s getting really really tiring.

As much as I love Deep Space Nine … it’s not the show to emulate for EVERY Star Trek project. Well … at least when it comes to tone. In terms of the Quality of writing it definately is …

We’d hoped that Secret Hideout had finally internalized that the aspirational core of Trek is one of if not the most important element of its enduring appeal.

Clearly, they and some of the actors still find this difficult to comprehend without turning it into a lecture. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be getting so much hype from the principal characters about how tested and conflictual the upcoming season of Picard and SNW are going to be.

Yeah, even Noah Hawley’s movie idea which was Paramount’s third or fourth attempt to get a film off the ground (I think we all lost count at this point lol) was suppose to cover that idea:

https://trekmovie.com/2020/09/18/the-federations-ideals-would-be-put-to-the-test-if-noah-hawley-gets-to-make-his-star-trek-movie/

I said in that article at the time, when you have 800+ hours (and counting) of ANYTHING, you’re not really doing anything completely original at this point but yet they keep bringing this up as if its some new concept. It’s been done over and over and over again at this point and yes mostly on DS9. That is my favorite show by far but I agree we don’t need another show like that. I thought that’s what Discovery was trying to do in its first season and failed IMO.

Who is Movie Kurtzman? His first name is Alex, and he is leading the P+ television Trek series, not the movies, although he formerly did support as a writer and produce, the three JJA movies.

What Happens to “what If er just make Star Trek”?

Then fans would complain about there being a lack of a message or a central question.

What was the central message in first season? I don’t remember anyone really talking about one other than ‘let’s do some exploring’. And no one complained about it.

In fact that’s kind of the beauty of SNW, it’s just more about the day to day like what we got in TOS, TNG and VOY.

That’s what’s best of episodic Trek. A season is not supposed to have a centralized theme. Although if I suppose S1 did have one, it’s that you can’t always escape your destiny.

I like Mount’s idea of an Agatha Christie-style mystery for Pike and Spock. However, can we just drop the whole “let’s do a western” idea? “The Spectre of the Gun” and “Fistful of Datas” are two of my least favorite Treks.

Wasn’t the whole point of this series to get AWAY from the super dark themes we’ve been seeing in Trek recently? Clearly the writers aren’t paying attention to the fans- this is the exact opposite of what we want.

I like SNW, but I wish the characters would talk like Starfleet officers. Many are flat-out disrespectful to their superiors and Picard would have ripped them a new one a long time ago.

I’m trying to think of TNG examples, since you mentioned Picard. I don’t recall Captain Picard ripping anyone a “new one” for being informal.

Well ironically there was always Wesley LOL

SNW is too “quippy” in an MCU type way, at least for my taste. Oretegas is the worst offender.

You just hit the nail on the head with that description for me, something I wasn’t able to pinpoint myself. It is EXACTLY like MCU dialogue.

To be honest, this seems to be an issue with all of the new shows and movies. I felt that way watching the Kelvin movies, but I just excused it with them being mostly new officers and having a 25 year old former cadet as their captain. ;)

But yeah, most of the shows the characters talk very informally and too contemporary. I love LDS, but it’s probably the worst culprit out of all of them, just way too much conventional slang on a show that takes place over 400 years in the future. I do miss the TNG days when people sounded more professional, at least around the captain if no one else. As for SNW, Pike definitely runs a more laid back and easy going ship than Picard certainly did so that’s probably another reason. He’s kind of like everyone’s buddy sort of the way Archer was.

But my guess is the real reason is a demographic issues. They probably want younger viewers for them to relate to the characters easier and to follow Hollywood trends. And its probably working.

Yes the movies were wayyy too 90210 for my taste.

I liked in the S1 finale when Pike finally put Ortegas in her place. I like the character over all but man you are not co-captain.

The darker Trek is the better.

Agreed, I like idealistic and hopeful Trek, but idealism is best in the face of darkness. Idealism and hope just doesn’t hold much weight when everything’s rainbows and unicorns.

easy to be a saint in paradise

I don’t agree. Picard season one was pretty dark and it was also garbage.

Darkest before the dawn

I’m still waiting for an all-singing, all-dancing musical episode. :)

Personally, I would just like them to do a completely different story every week, and not get caught up in big reveals, turning idealism on it’s head, or dumbass crossovers with silly cartoon Trek.

“…man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what‘s a heaven for?” –Browning

Idealism is absolutely imperative, especially in Star Trek. Why’s it Star Trek?