“Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” breaks new ground among the more recent “Trek” shows by going back to the old ways — that is to say that the show is much more episodic as compared to the heavily serialized “Star Trek: Discovery” and “Star Trek: Picard.”
In an interview with Variety, series star Anson Mount said that the idea of the show following that format was always the intention of its creators and allowed the cast to “get ourselves out of the way a little bit.”
“I like to think that Pike is not the star of the show,” said Mount, who plays Captain Christopher Pike. “The star of the show is the Enterprise. I wanted our show to serve as more of a metaphorical platform for not things to preach about, but things to think about. And I think it has that sense of adventure like the original series, where you wouldn’t even know where you were going to be at the beginning of the episode, much less the end. We wanted to reinvigorate that sense of excitement.”
That is not to say, however, that things from one episode will not carry over into others. “The show is episodic but the characters have memory,” as Mount puts it.
That is clearly demonstrated in multiple points of “Strange New Worlds,” in particular in Pike’s grappling with the knowledge of his impending paralysis. In “Discovery,” Pike got a glimpse of his own future that was first seen in the original series, with Pike confined to a brainwave-operated wheelchair and only being able to communicate via a blinking light. At multiple points in “Strange New Worlds,” that knowledge causes him considerable stress.
“My take on it was it would have been boring to look at it as a question of identity and fear for what it meant for myself,” Mount said. “The more interesting question is if Pike is more concerned with how it’s going to affect his ability to be a captain. And that, in a strange backdoor way, is tied up in his identity.”
Another story that carries on through multiple episodes is Spock’s relationship with the Vulcan T’Pring. Spock, played admirably by Ethan Peck, is in a “very fragile and delicate place in his development.”
“He’s more vulnerable than he’s ever been in his life — human vulnerable,” Peck said. “So I think there’s a lot of experimentation ahead of him. How much is too human? What is too Vulcan? How should this problem be approached? I think it’s a really exciting time in his life where you see him explore these extreme sides of himself.”
Interestingly, both Peck and Mount have been living with these characters since 2019 when they first appeared on “Discovery” Season 2. That means that they have been connected to the “Star Trek” universe as long as the cast of the original series was at first, considering the original show only aired for three years.
“It’s a crazy thing,” Peck said. “When a character reaches the level of cultural importance that Spock has… to be associated with that is kind of confusing and strange, but at the same time, it’s been the most incredible journey. I’m so grateful to be a part of it even though it has come with all of these strange effects of being scared to screw it up and not to meet fans’ expectations.”
“Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” debuts on Paramount+ on May 5.
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