Taking a look at the trailer for “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” season 2…

Return to Tomorrow

It’s been a very busy week for Star Trek. First came the announcement of Oscar-winner Michelle Yeoh’s return to the franchise in a new Paramount+ movie tentatively-titled “Star Trek: Section 31,” as well as the series finale of “Star Trek: Picard” (more on that one in a future column), and a new trailer for the second season of “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.”

O “Strange New Worlds” that has such creatures in it?
Forgive my mangling of the Bard…

Of the newer, post-2017 Star Treks, my personal favorite would have to be Strange New Worlds (SNW), mainly because it feels truest to what Star Trek used to be about; exploring new worlds and new civilizations, while allegorically addressing the many social, cultural and political ills of present-day ‘Spaceship Earth.’

Classic & New Characters

SNW features a cast composed of legacy and new characters within the Star Trek universe, all aboard a starship Enterprise in the years before James T. Kirk takes command in the original series (1966-1969). Legacy characters include Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), “Number One” Una Chin-Riley (Rebecca Romijn), Lt. Spock (Ethan Peck), Cadet Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding), Chief Medical Officer Dr. M’Benga (Babs Olusanmokun), and Nurse Christina Chapel (Jess Bush), all of whom have been featured in previous incarnations of Star Trek. Newer characters created for this series include Security Chief La’an Noonien Singh (Christina Chong) and Helm officer Erica Ortegas (Melissa Navia). SNW’s seamless integration of classic and new characters (deftly brought to life by their respective actors) has been exiting to watch. Something old, something new; truly the ‘best of both worlds’…

Prepare to meet thy dunes…
Security Chief La’an Noonien Singh, Captain Christopher Pike and Lt. Spock take in the vista of a ‘strange new world.’ True to its title, SNW takes Star Trek back to its roots of standalone stories within a simpler overall mythology.
Spock, Pike and Number One during what appears to be a tense moment on the bridge of the USS Enterprise.
Anson Mount’s Pike rapidly became a fan favorite during his time commanding the starship Discovery in the second season of that show. Rebecca Romijn brings both a toughness and warmth to the role of Number One. Ethan Peck’s Spock took time, but he’s since grown on me, as well (I’m a lifelong Leonard Nimoy fan, and very choosy…). The reimagined bridge of the Enterprise is a gorgeous piece of production design; opulent, forward-thinking, and retro-futuristic, all at once.
Top: Number One was revealed to be a genetically-modified Illyrian in last season’s “Ghosts of Illyria”, and she was taken into custody at the end of the session finale “A Quality of Mercy.” Her somewhat spoiled outcome appears to be favorable, as she appears throughout the trailer in various new situations, none of which involve a court-martial. Bottom: Judging by the ringing of the bell, I’d say Una is finally getting her day in court. The customary ringing of the bell before a Starfleet courtroom proceeding was seen most famously during during TOS Star Trek’s first season (“Court-Martial,” “The Menagerie” and “Space Seed”). This is not the first time Romijn has played someone persecuted for her differing DNA, either (see: the first three “X-Men” movies).
Top: We see Number One, Uhura and La’an all sharing a good laugh on what looks like an Enterprise Ladies’ Night. Below: Ortegas and Dr. M’Benga share laughs over drinks in the Enterprise‘s downright luxurious dining area, which puts the Enterprise-D‘s little “Ten-Forward” bar to shame.
Top: Nurse Chapel toasts Sam Kirk (Dan Jeannotte), the brother of future Enterprise captain, James T. Kirk, as Ortegas looks on. As longtime Star Trek fans know, poor Sam isn’t long for this universe, after he marries, has a son (Peter Kirk), and moves to the planet Deneva in TOS Star Trek’s “Operation: Annihilate!” Bottom: Ortegas tries on some fashionable off-duty duds as well. From her increased presence in the trailer, it appears the charming, but terribly underused Melissa Navia may finally get to carry an episode or two–I hope. Navia and her character are very likable.
Top: A bloodied Chapel is saved her boss, Dr. M’Benga after some unknown ordeal.
Bottom: Chapel and M’Benga fist-bump in a happier time, either before or after the above crisis. I had the chance to meet actress Jess Bush last summer at the 56-Year Mission convention in Las Vegas, and she was just delightful. Babs Olusanmokun is also a very talented actor (“Dune: Part One”) who greatly expands the role of Dr. M’Benga; a minor character of TOS Star Trek, seen serving as one of Dr. McCoy’s medical staff on Kirk’s Enterprise. I’m curious if we’ll ever learn just why M’Benga chose to step down as Enterprise CMO to serve under Dr. McCoy.
Top: Spock relaxing in his quarters with his cherished Vulcan lute, first seen in Star Trek TOS’s “Charlie X.”
Bottom: A visibly anxious Spock is seen in command, where helm officer Ortegas goads him into creating a new catchphrase for getting underway. All captains have their catchphrase (“Make it so,” “Engage,” etc). Spock’s choice is very… Spock. I have to admit, at first I wasn’t overly fond of this new interpretation of Spock (my favorite character in all of Star Trek), but I’ve since come to appreciate how Ethan Peck (grandson of Gregory Peck) has made the role his own, rather than relying on a Leonard Nimoy impersonation. Like Zachary Quinto in the Bad Robot Star Trek movies, Peck is playing a younger Spock who is less self-assured than the older, more confident version of the character played by the late (great) Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015).

Welcome Aboard, Chief Engineer Pelia (Carol Kane)

Following the death of Chief Engineer Hemmer (Bruce Horak) in season one, the trailer gives us a glimpse of the new Chief Engineer, Pelia (Carol Kane). Carol Kane is a longtime veteran actress, appearing in “Dog Day Afternoon” (1975), “When a Stranger Calls” (1979) “The Princess Bride,” (1987) and even playing herself in “Man on the Moon” (1999). In the classic TV series “Taxi” (1978-1983), Kane played Simka Gravas, the wife of immigrant garage mechanic Latka Gravas, played by the legendary comic actor, Andy Kaufman (1949-1984). Personally, I’m very excited to see what this talented veteran actress will bring to Pike’s dinner table…

We haven’t seen much of Carol Kane’s Pelia yet, but judging by her aloof expression (Top) and what looks like her trying to get a chuckle out of the half-Vulcan Spock (Below), she appears to have dimensions worthy of the veteran actress’s talents.

Kirk meets Khan’s…descendant?

We first met SNW’s version of future Enterprise captain James T. Kirk, as played by Paul Wesley, in an alternate-future seen in the season one finale, “Quality of Mercy” (a quasi-remake of TOS’ “Balance of Terror”).  Nothing against the actor, but as seen onscreen, this new Kirk felt a little too generic, with none of William Shatner’s (or Chris Pine’s) little neuroses and ticks that make the character so much more than just an action figure.  Nevertheless, Kirk finally boards his future command in the flesh next season, and he also appears to make even stoic Security Chief La’an Noonien Singh (Christina Chong) a bit hot under the collar…

Top: Commander James T Kirk (Paul Wesley) is beamed aboard his future command. Middle: The normally unflappable Security Chief finds herself under the legendary spell of the ladies’ man Kirk, much to Number One’s amusement (and perspiration). Bottom: La’an notices as the dashing James Kirk struggles with what appears to be a 21st century department store’s revolving door: “I’m from space,” is his only defense. I’m sincerely hoping this isn’t a time-travel story (way too early for that…).

Note: It’s interesting that La’an’s direct ancestor is none other than the dreaded late 20th century genetically-engineered augment ruler, Khan Noonien Singh, who will meet Kirk face-to-face in TOS: “Space Seed” and, with even greater consequences, in 1982’s hit feature film, “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.”

Clinging to the Klingons.

Hold onto your gagh–the Klingons return. More accurately, they’ve never left–having been in every iteration of Star Trek, from their debut in 1967’s “Errand of Mercy” (TOS) to the present-day. Over the years, their appearance has evolved considerably, much like their relationship with the Federation; going from sworn-enemy to wartime ally (just as the ‘Organians’ first predicted). At the time of SNW (the early 2260s), the Klingons are still considered enemies of the Federation, with whom they are always on the cusp of all-out war…

Pike, La’an and M’Benga are in a shuttlecraft during a particularly rough landing on a purple-hued ice planet that looks very much like the planet Boreth, home to the famed Klingon monastery where Pike first leans of his tragic future as the immobile, radiation-scarred victim of a horrific training accident (TOS “The Menagerie” Parts 1, 2).  Pike discovered his future via Klingon ‘time crystals’ kept by Klingon monks while commanding the starship Discovery (DSC “Through the Valley of Shadows”).
Top: Guards to a forbidding entranceway (with an incongruous Starfleet emblem above it) certainly look like Klingons. Middle/Bottom: Pike, La’an and M’Benga make their way across a snowy ice-field towards a meeting with the Klingons. I’m assuming this is the snowy Klingon monastery on Boreth. If not, it might also be Rura Penthe, the icy, purple-hued penal colony first seen in “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” (1991). However, given Pike’s prior experience with the monks and their time crystals, I’m betting on Boreth. Or… it might be something else altogether.
Top/Middle/Bottom: Spock, of all people, drinks a celebratory toast with a burly Klingon soldier, pretending to enjoy his tankard of whatever-that-is (doesn’t look like blood wine).  Ethan Peck’s grunt of satisfaction afterward is absolutely hilarious.


To those who enjoy the action-adventure aspect of Star Trek, the trailer also promised some spectacular moments in that regard, as well…

Top/Middle/Bottom: We see gutsy pilot Erica Ortegas firing phasers through what appears to be an asteroid before flying the Enterprise right through its freshly hollowed center. We then see the Enterprise flying through a virtual sea of ruby-red asteroid fragments. It’s truly amazing what can be achieved on a television-streaming budget these days…
Top/Bottom: We see Spock and Chapel in EVA suits investigating the wrecked hull of a Federation starship very similar to the Enterprise. This might also be the same event from which we see M’Benga carrying a visibly injured Chapel earlier. Given the many adventures they share in SNW, it’s surprising that Chapel and Spock aren’t closer friends in TOS Star Trek; perhaps it ‘got weird’ between them at some point between SNW and TOS. This might also explain Chapel rebounding so quickly into the arms of her later fiancé and future mandroid, Dr. Roger Korby (TOS “What Are Little Girls Made Of?”).
Starbase One, with its giant bio-domes, hovering near Jupiter; the station was previously featured in of SNW (“Strange New Worlds,” “Spock Amok”), and in season one of Star Trek: Discovery (where it was relocated to the edge of interstellar space, without its bio-domes) . If I had to guess, I’d say Starbase One is probably where Number One will be facing her court-martial, after lying to Starfleet about her genetically-modified Illyrian lineage (genetic engineering automatically bars anyone from serving in Starfleet).
Top: The Enterprise in orbit of a multi-mooned planet in a classically-composed Star Trek shot.
Middle: The Enterprise departing from Starbase One, in orbit around the planet Jupiter in the Sol system.  Bottom: “My god! It’s full of stars!” With all apologies to “2001: A Space Odyssey” (and “2010: The Year We Make Contact” ), this shot looks almost as if the Enterprise has fallen into Stanley Kubrick’s famed monolith…

Whatever happens next, it looks like a wild warp ahead when “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” returns in June.

When/Where to Watch

“Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” season 2 will premiere on Thursday, June 15th, streaming exclusively on Paramount+, along with all other Star Trek series (1966-present). Live long and prosper!

All Images: Paramount+

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Lorraine Fiel says:

    I don’t have Paramount+ so don’t get to watch any of the new Treks except Prodigy which airs on Nickelodeon too. I would really love to see Strange New Worlds and Picard if I ever get to b e opportunity.

    1. I don’t know if this helps, but as of last month, season 1 of “Star Trek: Strange New Works” is available on DVD and BluRay; in fact, I bought a copy at my local Barnes and Noble.
      Good luck. 🙂

  2. scifimike70 says:

    Although prequel Star Treks these days might run the risk of draining the impacts of events and people from the original shows, it’s great when they can somehow have certain appeals that the original shows didn’t. SNW has so far qualified and unlike Discovery and Picard, it’s not too overwhelming or complicated for my tastes.

    1. Same.
      DSC and PIC sometimes leave me overwhelmed with their needlessly complicated plots, which often feel protracted to make 6 or so extra episodes out of a 2-hour story.

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