The season two premiere of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds introduced a new mysterious character with Academy Award-nominee Carol Kane playing Pelia. Now the actress, and co-showrunner Henry Alonso Myers, are offering a few more details about the character, and her species — the long-lived Lanthanites.
Pelia is really old – designed to be the flip side of Hemmer
“The Broken Circle” introduced Carol Kane as Pelia, a Starfleet Academy engineering instructor who ended up taking the position of chief engineer, replacing Hemmer who sacrificed himself in the penultimate episode of season 1. Speaking to Collider, Carol Kane talked more about her character’s background, including identifying a connection to Hemmer:
I have taken over being the engineer on the ship from Hemmer, who was my student, years ago, and I guess I could say that I’ve been alive for centuries. So I have quite a background, and I know a lot about everyone there, and I know my job, and I think I’m very opinionated because I have been around much longer than anyone else, and I think I claim that territory. I get pretty straightforward and opinionated.
The premiere episode also revealed that even though Pelia looks human she is a Lanthanite, a race Spock described as living “on Earth among other humans undetected until the 22nd century.” Uhura also spotted her distinct accent as Lanthanite. Kane noted above she has lived for hundreds of years, which was also stated in the episode. In a video about Pelia released by Paramount+ (below), Kane reveals Pelia is even older than that:
As an actor, I just love to jump into my imagination and different worlds and that is one of the great gifts we get being actors. One day you are a bank teller and the next day you are a surgeon and the next day someone thousands and thousands of years old… My character Pelia is thousands of years old. She comes from a tribe called Lanthanites.
In the Paramount+ video, co-showrunner Henry Alonso Myers explained how making Pelia ancient was their way of changing things up from Hemmer:
We needed an engineer because we had lost Hemmer and we just got into a discussion as a writer’s room about would be an interesting, very different energy to throw into our cast… So we had this idea about a race of people who lived among humans for thousands of years unknown to us… Hemmer had this notion of his own purpose as it related to his mortality. So we thought, “What would be a flip of that?” Here’s someone who never really has to face their mortality. How would you see life differently if you were that person?
Long-lived races are nothing new for Star Trek, including Vulcans and El-Aurians, like Guinan. However, the executive producer hinted Lanthanites may be immortal, putting them into the more rarified league of Star Trek aliens like the Q and other super-beings, although there is no indication yet they have any special powers beyond their age. We will likely learn more in episode 3 where preview images indicate La’an and Kirk will encounter a younger Pelia in the 21st century.
Kane shakes up the cast
Henry Alonso Myers also talked about how they were drawn to casting Kane due to her “completely different energy,” and how this allowed for a new dynamic with the characters. He explains in the Paramount+ video:
When she comes into any scene, she is so much herself in a way that I think is kind of perfect for the crew. It really kind of throws people back on their heels. It makes them think about things differently. It forces them to play things differently.
In the same video, actress Celia Rose Gooding noted that due to Uhura’s strong connection to Hemmer, she is a little “trepidatious” initially with Pelia, but “because of Pelia’s incredible personality and just how warm and exciting she is, I think Uhura can’t help but sort of be attracted to that.”
For her part, Kane was not familiar with Star Trek, telling Collider “I had not really seen it,” joking that she thought the producers had the wrong number when they initially reached out. However, in the Paramount+ video about Pelia, she talks about how easy it has been to join the show.
I never imagined being in sci-fi. It’s very different from anything I’ve ever come close to doing… I must say, being in scenes with this entire cast has been so much fun. Sometimes you feel a little awkward coming in a second season, people have already gotten very-family-like together. And I haven’t felt that for one second. I think the first person I was able to work with was Ethan Peck who is just a doll and so talented and handsome to boot, which never hurts.
Here is the video with Kane and Alonso Myers talking about Pelia.
And here is the full Collider interview with Kane.
Season 2 episodes drop weekly on Thursdays on Paramount+ in the U.S, the U.K., Australia, Latin America, Brazil, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Season 2 is also available on SkyShowtime elsewhere in Europe. The second season will also be available to stream on Paramount+ in South Korea, with premiere dates to be announced at a later date.
Keep up with news about the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com.