Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
|Star Trek: Strange New Worlds|
|Based on||Star Trek|
by Gene Roddenberry
|Country of origin||United States|
|Production locations||Mississauga, Ontario|
|Distributor||CBS Media Ventures|
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is an upcoming American television series created by Akiva Goldsman, Alex Kurtzman, and Jenny Lumet for the streaming service Paramount+. It will launch as part of Kurtzman's expanded Star Trek Universe. A spin-off from Star Trek: Discovery and a prequel to Star Trek: The Original Series, it follows Captain Christopher Pike and the crew of the USS Enterprise.
Anson Mount, Rebecca Romijn, and Ethan Peck respectively star as Pike, Number One, and Spock, reprising their roles from Discovery. These characters were introduced in the original Star Trek series, and these actors were cast in the roles for the second season of Discovery in 2019 to help align that series with the wider Star Trek franchise. After a positive fan response, Kurtzman expressed interest in bringing the actors back in their own spin-off series. Development had begun by March 2020, and it was officially ordered in May. The lead cast, title, and creative team were confirmed then, including Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers as showrunners. Babs Olusanmokun, Christina Chong, Celia Rose Gooding, Jess Bush, and Melissa Navia also star in the series. Filming began at CBS Stages Canada in Mississauga, Ontario, in February 2021 and is set to end in July.
Cast and characters
- Anson Mount as Christopher Pike: Captain of the USS Enterprise
- Rebecca Romijn as Number One: First officer of the Enterprise and second-in-command to Pike
- Ethan Peck as Spock: Science officer aboard the Enterprise
- Babs Olusanmokun
- Christina Chong
- Celia Rose Gooding
- Jess Bush
- Melissa Navia
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||TBA||Akiva Goldsman||Teleplay by : Akiva Goldsman|
Story by : Akiva Goldsman & Alex Kurtzman & Jenny Lumet
Maja Vrvilo directed the second episode, with Sydney Freeland directing the seventh and Amanda Row directing the eighth. Additional directors for the series include Jonathan Frakes, Leslie Hope, and Andi Armaganian.
The first season finale of the series Star Trek: Discovery set-up the second season by introducing the USS Enterprise, the starship from Star Trek: The Original Series. Then co-showrunner Aaron Harberts wanted to explore Enterprise Captain Christopher Pike, feeling that he had not been seen much in Star Trek previously. Harberts was less interested in exploring another Enterprise crew member, Spock, given his many appearances throughout previous iterations of the franchise, and was reluctant to have an actor other than Leonard Nimoy or Zachary Quinto portray the character. However, Spock was confirmed to be included in the season in April 2018. That month, Anson Mount was cast as Pike, and he revealed in July that Rebecca Romijn would portray original series character Number One. Mount and Romijn both signed one year deals for the series as part of an attempt by the producers to closer align Discovery with the wider Star Trek continuity. In August, Ethan Peck was announced as portraying Spock in the season.
In June 2018, after becoming sole showrunner of Star Trek: Discovery, Alex Kurtzman signed a five-year overall deal with CBS Television Studios to expand the Star Trek franchise beyond Discovery to several new series, miniseries, and animated series. After Mount was revealed to be leaving Discovery with the second season finale, fans of that series began calling—including through online petitions—for him to reprise the role of Pike in a spin-off series set on the Enterprise, alongside Romijn as Number One and Peck as Spock. Mount and Peck both responded positively to the idea, though Mount said his return would involve "a lot of creative conversations". Kurtzman also expressed interest in the idea, saying, "The fans have been heard. Anything is possible in the world of Trek. I would love to bring back that crew more than anything."
At the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, Kurtzman announced that the second season of companion series Star Trek: Short Treks would include three shorts starring the Enterprise actors. He said this was a way to bring those characters and actors back after Discovery jumped into the future for its third season, but this would not preclude a spin-off series featuring the Enterprise cast from being made. In January 2020, Kurtzman said active discussions regarding a spin-off series featuring the actors had begun, and he had been "tossing ideas back and forth" with Akiva Goldsman who already served as an executive producer on other Star Trek series. Kurtzman said he would prefer for a potential spin-off starring the Enterprise cast to be an ongoing series rather than a miniseries, and said it could explore the seven years between Discovery's second season and the accident that seriously injures Pike in The Original Series. Kurtzman soon stated that two unannounced Star Trek series were in development for CBS All Access, and the spin-off was reported to be one of them in March.
CBS All Access officially ordered Star Trek: Strange New Worlds to series in May 2020, with Mount, Romijn, and Peck confirmed to be reprising their roles. Kurtzman and Goldsman were confirmed to be executive producing alongside their fellow Star Trek producer Jenny Lumet, Henry Alonso Myers, Heather Kadin of Kurtzman's production company Secret Hideout, Frank Siracusa, John Weber, and Rod Roddenberry (the son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry) and Trevor Roth of Roddenberry Entertainment. Aaron Baiers, Akela Cooper, and Davy Perez were set as co-executive producers. Goldsman wrote the script for the series' first episode based on a story he wrote with Kurtzman and Lumet, and was set as showrunner alongside Myers. Goldsman would also remain an executive producer on Star Trek: Picard. Myers joked that "The Cage" (1965), the first pilot episode of The Original Series which stars the same main characters, could be considered the pilot for Strange New Worlds as well, making the series "the longest pilot-to-series pickup in the history of television". In September 2020, ViacomCBS announced that CBS All Access would be expanded and rebranded as Paramount+ in March 2021.
"We are going to do stand-alone episodes. There will be emotional serialization. There will be two-parters. There will be larger plot arcs. But it really is back to the model of alien-of-the-week, planet-of-the-week, challenge-on-the-ship-of-the-week."
—Executive producer Alex Kurtzman on the old-fashioned storytelling approach to Strange New Worlds
Goldsman had written the first episode by the time of the series' official announcement in May 2020, and said the series would be more optimistic and episodic than Discovery and Picard, a style closer to the original series. He did note that the series would continue to take advantage of serialized storytelling to develop character arcs.
A writers room for the series was underway by July, with stories for 10 episodes already broken by the end of that month. In August, Kurtzman said "we have actually been able to get quite ahead in scripts" for the series due to the COVID-19 pandemic preventing the start of production. He felt what audiences had responded to when watching the characters on Discovery was their "relentless optimism", and said the spin-off would explore how Pike remains an optimistic leader despite learning about his tragic future during the second season of Discovery. Myers elaborated on the series' approach to episodic storytelling, explaining that the writers wanted to "bring a modern character sensibility" to "Star Trek in the way Star Trek stories were always told. It’s a ship and it’s traveling to strange new worlds and we are going to tell big ideas science fiction adventures in an episodic mode. So we have room to meet new aliens, see new ships, visit new cultures."
Anson Mount, Rebecca Romijn, and Ethan Peck reprise their respective roles from Star Trek: Discovery in the spin-off. Their characters were first introduced in "The Cage", which starred Jeffrey Hunter as Pike, Leonard Nimoy as Spock, and Majel Barrett as Number One. Peck said the characters will evolve in Strange New Worlds from their portrayals in Discovery to be closer to their original incarnations, which he described as a "whole new challenge". Perez described Pike and Number One as the "parental figures" of the Enterprise, particularly to Spock since he is "not the wise, old Spock from The Original Series, [he is] still finding himself". Babs Olusanmokun, Christina Chong, Celia Rose Gooding, Jess Bush, and Melissa Navia were announced as additional series regulars with the start of filming.
Design work for the series had begun by August 2020, and Myers said the production had been looking for ways to keep continuity with past Star Trek series. He elaborated that they wanted to "keep some of the amazing design elements from the 60s that were incorporated in [The Original Series while] updating it for a modern audience." Goldsman elaborated that the costumes and sets would keep continuity with Discovery, but would be adjusted slightly for the new show to bring it closer to The Original Series.
With the series' announcement in May 2020, Goldsman said he was unsure when production would begin due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Kurtzman stated on August 12 that filming would take place in 2021. Pre-production began on August 24, with Kurtzman saying in October that filming would be a "systematised, militarised operation" due to the pandemic. The crew experienced this approach to filming first working on Discovery. He elaborated that filming would function in "pods" to minimize the potential spread of the virus, and added that, due to the pandemic delays, the series would begin filming with more completed scripts than is usual for Star Trek.
Filming began on February 18, 2021, at CBS Stages Canada in Mississauga, Ontario, under the working title Lily and Isaac. Paramount+ constructed a video wall to allow for virtual production on the series as well as the fourth season of Discovery, based on the StageCraft technology used on the Disney+ series The Mandalorian. The new virtual set was built in Toronto by visual effects company Pixomondo, and features a 270-degree, 70 feet (21 m) by 30 feet (9.1 m) horseshoe-shaped LED volume with additional LED panels in the ceiling to aid with lighting. The technology uses the game engine software Unreal Engine to display computer-generated backgrounds on the LED screens in real-time during filming, which visual effects supervisor Jason Zimmerman noted was especially useful for creating the planets that are visited in the series; additional filming for the series to support these visual effects took place in New Mexico. Zimmerman oversaw the installation and use of the volume remotely from Los Angeles.
Goldsman had completed filming the pilot episode by early April 2021, except for scenes requiring large groups of extras that could not be filmed due to limits on the number of people allowed on set during the pandemic. He hoped to be able to finish those scenes soon after. Later in April, a guest actor for the series flew from Vancouver to Toronto before testing positive for COVID-19. They had been in contact with a few crewmembers during a costume fitting before the positive test was returned, and those people were quarantined per the studio's protocols. Filming for the series was not impacted by the incident, with frequent Star Trek director Maja Vrvilo beginning production on the second episode by April 26. Filming for the seventh episode took place in the week of May 31 with Sydney Freeland directing, followed by Amanda Row directing the eighth episode in the week of May 7. Filming for the season finale began on July 7, with production on the season set to end in late July.
By December 2020, Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard composer Jeff Russo had discussed Strange New Worlds with Kurtzman, including how it "should be treated musically", but whether Russo would be involved in the spin-off's score had yet to be determined at that point.
Kurtzman promoted the series during a virtual "Star Trek Universe" panel for the Comic-Con@Home convention in July 2020. The panel also included a table read of the first act of Discovery's second season finale, which Mount, Romijn, and Peck participated in. After the table read, the actors teased details about Strange New Worlds. On September 8, 2020, CBS All Access streamed a 24-hour event for free to celebrate the 54th anniversary of the day The Original Series premiered. The event included a marathon of episodes from across the Star Trek franchise, with a break during the day for a series of panels about different Star Trek series. These included the first official Strange New Worlds panel, with Mount, Romijn, Peck, Goldsman, Myers, Cooper, and Perez discussing the series and their approach to developing it. In February 2021, Mount and Peck appeared in a marketing campaign for Super Bowl LV advertising the rebranded streaming service Paramount+.
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