Today is Star Trek Day, which CBS is using to celebrate the anniversary of the premiere of the original series back in 1966. In addition to panels about all of the established shows in the franchise, the network used the opportunity to talk about one upcoming project, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, a spinoff of its CBS All Access series Star Trek Discovery.
Earlier this year, CBS announced that it had greenlit a new streaming series, Strange New Worlds, which peels off some familiar characters: Ethan Peck’s Spock, Anson Mount’s Captain Christopher Pike, and Rebecca Romijn’s Number One. The series will serve as a prequel to the original 1966 series, exploring the adventures of the U.S.S. Enterprise in the decade or so before Captain Kirk came in to take over.
Here’s what we learned about the series from the panel, which included Executive Producers Akiva Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers; stars Mount, Romijn, and Peck, as well as and Co-Executive Producers/Writers Akela Cooper and Davy Perez.
How the series came about
To kick things off, moderator Mica Burton asked Goldsman how they came to create the new series. Goldsman explained that even before Discovery aired, there were rumors that the series would be about Pike and the crew of the Enterprise. “I came rushing to the first meeting ready to talk about Captain Pike and Number One, only to discover that not only were they not in the show, but from that moment on, [it] became my singular cause of trying to get that era of Enterprise storytelling onto the screen.”
Myers joked that if you thought of the original pilot episode The Cage was the pilot for this series, it would be the longest pickup for a series in television history.
What the series will be about
The crew couldn’t say much about what the series would be about, but they did drop some hints. Myers said that everyone involved really wanted to do classic Star Trek, in the way that it was originally told. Accordingly, he says that the series will better resemble the original series, in that it’ll be more episodic, and that it’ll be about a spaceship and its crew going out to visit strange new worlds, and that we’ll see new aliens, new ships, and new cultures.
That said, he notes that audiences have changed since the 1960s. “If Kirk falls in love and the love of his life dies one week, the next week, he’s going to still feel it,” Myers explained. “We wanted to bring a modern character sensibility to the classic episodic storytelling.”
Returning to the franchise
After the end of Discovery‘s second season, Mount, Peck, and Romijn noted that they weren’t totally sure that they’d see their characters again, but that Alex Kurtzman had been talking about doing some Short Trek episodes. Mount explained that he wanted to do more than just a handful of scenes, and wanted to bring some actual closure to the characters after the end of the season. A couple of days later, he called Mount back and said that they had a show in mind, and that Goldsman had been pitching the series for a while.
Romijn noted that they learned about the show about a year ago, and that on set, the three of them had clicked. They hoped that something bigger would come out of it. “It just took us a while to share the news.”
Exploring Familiar Characters
Mount noted that in Discovery, Pike learned about his future and the circumstances surrounding his death. “The most honest thing I can say is that I’m still figuring it out,” he explained, and that he’s going to have to figure out the circumstances and how to move forward with that knowledge.
Peck explained that Discovery showed off a younger version of Spock, and he’s excited to see where he’ll be able to take the character to “find the balance” between logic and emotions for the character to get him to the iconic character that we’re familiar with.
For her part, Romijn noted that while she existed in the original pilot, Number One has never been explored in the series. “I can’t wait to find out how vast her skillset is,” she explained, and to explore her backstory, which she’s very excited about.
How Strange New Worlds will stand apart from other Star Trek shows
Goldsman noted that the series will be a bit more episodic, while character arcs will be a bit more serialized. They get to play with all of the elements of Star Trek, but also recognize that it’s a show in which we’ve been aware of the characters and stories, but that they can play with and push it forward.
Akela Cooper expanded on that, noting that individual episodes will be one-off stories, but that they’ll be focusing on character arcs that extend over the episodes in a more serialized fashion. She noted that there will be one plot point that will be recurring, and which will set up a later episode.
You can watch the entire panel here.