Fans of the original “Star Trek” will find a treasure trove of references to it and the franchise’s history in a new prequel series on Paramount+.
In “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” which begins streaming Thursday, May 5, the story picks up in the years before Captain James T. Kirk boarded the USS Enterprise and features a number of characters from Season 2 of “Star Trek: Discovery,” chief among them the ship’s commanding officer, Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), a native of Mount Prospect.
Joining him to explore new worlds around the galaxy are Spock (Ethan Peck), the ship’s science officer; First Officer Una Chin-Riley aka “Number One” (Rebecca Romijn), Cadet Nyota Uhura (singer and stage actress Celia Rose Gooding) and Chief Medical Officer M’benga (Babs Olusanmokun).
New characters with a link to “Trek” history include Nurse Chapel (Jess Bush), who was played in the original series by Majel Barrett, wife of “Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry; Na’an Noonien-Singh (Christina Chong), the Enterprise’s chief of security and a relative of Khan from “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan”; and Hemmer (Bruce Horak), a sightless officer and albino subspecies of Andorians, a race from the original series.
Spock (Ethan Peck), Pike (Anson Mount) and Una (Rebecca Romijn) lead the crew of “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” on Paramount+. – Courtesy of Paramount+
The series comes from the creative minds of Akiva Goldsman, Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet and is part of Kurtzman’s Star Trek Universe that will be expanding with several new shows in the coming years.
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For Mount, a lifelong “Trek” fan, he’s thrilled to be continuing the story of Pike three years after debuting on “Discovery.”
“Every single day I’m on the set — I’m not exaggerating — is both disbelief and a feeling of tremendous gratitude,” he says. “Which is one of my little secret parallels to the character of Captain Pike, who — let’s face it — if you’re going to stare into the face of God, the universe, whatever you want to call it, every single day, you have to have a healthy dose of humility and appreciation and gratitude. And I think that those are the greatest qualities in Captain Pike. So, if I can live up to him at all, it’s through my appreciation of being a part of this universe.”
Taking on an iconic and indelible character such as Spock can sometimes make an actor feel limited in his options, but Peck sees it another way.
“In a way, there are boundaries,” he allows, “but as we sort of zoom in on him and his life and his experiences in the past that we haven’t yet seen, (we find) infinite possibilities of him and his life.
“So it’s a really delicate dance that we’re attempting,” he continues. “And I think a lot of it is done in the writing. You know, I show up to work and I get a new script, and suddenly I’m faced with something that’s totally unfamiliar to me in my work as Spock. So, the sky is kind of the limit, in my opinion.”