One of the most popular panels in Star Trek: Mission Chicago was for the upcoming series Star Trek: Strange new worlds. Stars Anson Mount (Captain Pike), Rebecca Romijn (number one), Ethan Peck (Spock) and Celia Rose Gooding (Uhura) were available, along with executive producer and co-star Henry Alons Myers. The series debuted on May 5, but in the second season (episode 6 is currently being filmed), they took the time to produce to come to Chicago to imagine the series. And TrekMovie was there to capture the most important ones.
An episodic show with lots of new aliens, time travel and humor
Henry Alonso Meyers explained how Strange new worlds will be structured rather than the classic Star Trek series:
Henry: The performance is episodic. Each episode is a new adventure, it’s a new planet, it’s a new genre. One of the great things about Trek is that sometimes it’s funny, sometimes scary, sometimes dramatic, and sometimes sad. And we’re really trying to make it happen for each episode so that they have a really different feeling – to the point where we even encourage our directors to really give each episode a different look to make you feel. The only thing we stick to is that we’ve arranged some of the characters’ stories, so if someone says – as in TOS – they lose the love of their lives one week, the next week won’t be completely right.
He continued that the performance would have many familiar elements, but done differently:
I think we are going on adventures that are very similar, but also uniquely different from the events that took place in TOS and TNG. It means new worlds, it means time travel, it means that sometimes there are superior beings who come and do crazy things with us. That means all kinds of things.
He later talked about the opportunity to introduce new aliens:
We try to be loyal to Canon, but also introduce some interesting new creatures that you have never seen before. We worked with Older effects do a lot of great prosthetic creatures and also some CG stuff. You will meet new aliens. There are new aliens here almost every week.
When the presenter noticed that the trailers showed some of the show’s humor, Myers said, “We’re blessed with an extremely funny cast.” He explained how they tried to make sure the show contained some humor, but that’s part of Trek’s tradition:
Look, life is dramatic and fun. And we tried to reflect it. Some of my favorite episodes from Original seriesand from TNG and from Deep Space Nine are fun episodes. And we sometimes wanted to go back to that.
Fresh look at the figures
Myers also talked about how screenwriters approach each of the characters, including those who have already appeared in the Star Trek canon:
We approach each character freshly. Every character is a real human being and sometimes not a human being. And let’s start with who they were? Where did they come from? what they want? They must be soaked with life. And so we try not to let the pressure of all the past kind into it, because if you do, then you just can’t live. In fact, you can’t be human, because Uhura has some real feelings that he goes through every day when he thinks about all the pressures of history. That will change the character. So we started with who they are right now?
Anson Mount explained how his version of Captain Pike differs from Jeffery Hunter’s “Cage” version:
I was aware of that performance, of course. I’ve been a fan of Trek since I was eight. I knew there was a departure, but I have to go in the material that is in front of me because the script is king. What I said was, “Jeffrey Hunter’s pike was one Pike. My Pike is the second Pike. ”Everyone changes, don’t they? I hope I can handle it through Act Three Pike.
Rebecca Romijn noted that there are many opportunities for number one development:
She didn’t have a name [in “The Cage”]. She was number one. As for the characters, it was an empty table. She only had about 14 minutes on the screen. You only saw her while performing tasks, so you still don’t know anything about her character. So it was really fun for us to develop this character and get to know her. Yes, it’s great, it’s a dream come true.
Celia Rose Gooding talked about how she saw something of herself on Uhur’s journey:
I searched Celia a lot to find out where she was in that life. Because much of Cadet Uhuru’s life and Celia’s life intersect in different places. We are both very young people in the industries we work in, while I will call Starfleet an industry. [laughs] But they are both very young, both very excited to be a part of something. And the beauty of Nyota is finding out what she wants to do. And she doesn’t know her future like we do … She takes it all day by day and that’s something I’m trying to do. So I try not to jump off the gun and think, ‘Oh, well, we know that in 10, 20 years in the future this place will be.’ I try not to think about it. Because that’s not what he means. What is on his mind is going on today. And then every day to find out who I am, what kind of people we are.
Spock is the most advanced of all the canonical characters in the series. Ethan Peck talked about studying Leonard Nimoy’s performance to make sure he was doing the right thing:
Of course, I focused on Nimoy Spock, because that’s our timeline. I’ve been a fan of Kelvin’s films myself, but I’m more inclined to Nimoy because that’s what I’ve become. I spent a lot of time with Original series and Leonard Nimoy. As I prepare for work, I hear his voice ringing in my head. And I say, ‘Is that so?’ I hope she’s with me the way I do. But at some point I stopped watching it so I could find it myself.
But there is more we could explore Strange new worlds for Spock, as Peck explained:
I think a lot more shades need to be explored in this series. We see deeper into his personal life and into him, which is such a privilege and scary at the same time, because we want to do it properly, correctly. But yes, it was very exciting and very challenging.
Enterprise is also a growing figure
There has been a lot of talk about production design, including Myers and Mount talking about the approach to updating the look Original series:
Myers: All of our VFX artisans and incredible artists, and our designers and our customers, talked about the things we were talking about: “Okay, how would they do it at TOS? And how would they do it if TOS was today? ‘ Do it with today’s sensitivity, today’s VFX, today’s money, today’s ideas. And so we tried to approach it.
Assembly: From an aesthetic point of view alone, our production designer Jonathan Lee did an amazing job, combining with the original mid-century modern aesthetics you saw on Original series with updated Enterprise. You still feel like you were in the original year 1701.
Myers: The craziest thing about this set is that we’ve built a working starship … Every screen works. Every screen you can touch works. It’s really amazing.
Rebecca signed up (with Anson who supported her) to talk about how Enterprise suites are still expanding:
Rebecca: The sets are beautiful. Sometimes I just walk around and visit them and imagine that this is one cohesive ship. We are deployed in several different phases, but that’s where their jaws fall. They are so beautiful. And let’s not forget that Enterprise itself is the main character of this show. Enterprise is sexy, exciting and fun. Last week they built a kit that is so beautiful that I can’t say what it is.
Anson: That’s the second thing, it’s still growing. One day Ethan and I entered the scene and said, ‘Wow!’ I can’t tell you what it is, but we said, ‘WAU!’
AR Wall for Alien Worlds … and engineering
I like it Star Trek: Discovery in season four, Strange new worlds uses AR Wall technology, where actors can play in a virtual scene. Actors and showrunner talked about what this technology brought to the show:
Celia: It’s unbelievable what they’re working on, especially on things with the AR wall. That’s the spectacle. That’s the thing that’s bothering me.
Anson: We have a stage where the walls are basically made of high resolution screens. So when we go inside, the CG environment is done and we are in that environment. And so it really allowed us to discover the extent of the planets we’re going on. You’ll see.
Henry: Our artists have spent at least four months building all of these environments on the day everyone comes. The unbelievable thing is that you see it on the screen for months and months and months and you get there and it literally moves with you. I will spoil that there is engineering set up. And that allowed us to create an engineering kit that looks like no Star Trek engineering kit before. It’s really unbelievable.
Captain on the bridge
The panel actually began with a special surprise for the audience when Anson Mount presented a clip of the first scene from the USS Enterprise bridge from the pilot episode. Excerpts from this scene were featured in various promo characters released earlier this month, but this was the whole scene that began with Pike and Spock in a turbolift, going through the tasks of the bridge crew, noting that Una (number one) was missing from Spock. explaining “Command believes that I will best serve the mission as Chief Scientific Officer.” This leads them to enter the bridge, and Pike notices that he will have a “new number one” when he meets Lieutenant La’an Noonien Singh, who explains that she was assigned as the acting first officer. He welcomes her on board and says she has “charming big shoes to fill.” He tells Ortegas to aim for their goal, and then he meets cadet Uhura during the communication and calls her “miraculous.” The ship then leaves the space dock and twists.
After the scene, Mount remarked that fans shouldn’t start gossiping on Twitter and that even if he’s not on stage, “Rebecca is still on the show.”
More will come from Chicago
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