55 years ago, NBC passed on the first Star Trek pilot, “The Cage,” and instead ordered a second pilot starring William Shatner as Captain Kirk that eventually sold the show. Now after all that time, the characters from that rejected pilot are getting a series of their own — Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
The show will follow the adventures of Captain Christopher Pike, his female executive officer Number One, and a young Mr. Spock, now played by Ethan Peck. The character of Pike returned to the Star Trek fold last year in the second season of the CBS All Access show, Star Trek: Discovery.
Star Trek Exploring Strange New Worlds… Again
This time Anson Mount, from Hell on Wheels, in the shoes once filled by Jeff Hunter and Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek 2009). And he was a hit with the fans who demanded CBS All Access make a Pike-centered show. Number One is now played by Rebecca Romijn, filling in for Majel Barrett who originated the role and married Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.
Now Trekkies are getting their wish with Strange New Worlds. And I was one of those Trekkies. I’ve longed for a return to good old fashioned space exploration like in the original Star Trek and The Next Generation.
But here’s the conundrum: is this show in danger of becoming too regressive with three cis white lead characters?
After all, Trek is known for its diverse casts and pushing the envelope of inclusion. For instance, Deep Space Nine featured the first black space captain, Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks). Voyager told the adventures of the first female starship captain, Katheryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew). And decades after the original Trek and the groundbreaking Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), the production team cast Sonequa Martin-Green as Commander Michael Burnham, the first black female Star Trek lead.
Not only that but Discovery features actor Wilson Cruz as one half of Trek‘s first gay couple.
Not So Diverse Trek?
YouTuber and Trekkie Jessie Gender often takes a critical eye to the beloved franchise. In her most recent video, she asks this very question on whether the new Pike show is in danger of being regressive.
That being said, the show does have the potential for diversity amongst this new-ish crew of the Starship Enterprise. Two POCs already appeared as part of Pike’s crew in both Discovery and the bit-sized episode series Short Treks.
Actress Amrit Kaur, who’s South Asian descent, played wide-eyed Cadet Thira Sidhu in Short Treks. And Samora Smallwood, who’s part Cape-Verdean (West Africa), played Lt. Amin in Discovery.
Could we see these two in Strange New Worlds?
I sure hope so. Because I’d hate for my beloved Trek franchise to go backwards after its come so far since it first premiered in 1966.
What do you think? Who would you like to see on the newest Star Trek show?
We’ll be live tweeting #StarTrekSDCC Universe Virtual Panel on July 23 @ 10 am.
Ryan is not Lord Voldemort even though they share a name. He hasn’t even read Harry Potter or watched a single movie. He’s more of a starships and space travel kind of guy. As a Trekkie and proud Filipino-American, he is our starship commander leading a fleet of writers and content creators at Avazz. He’s also an award-winning writer and journalist with a pilot currently in development.
You can read more about his adventures at ryanthomasriddle.com.