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54 years after 'The Cage,' the original Number One is about to board Star Trek: Discovery
The pilot for the original Star Trek series was shown to NBC executives in 1965 — they rejected it, so Gene Roddenberry made a different pilot, which they liked much more. The very first Trek pilot that ever boldly went (titled "The Cage") had no Captain Kirk in sight — Jeffrey Hunter played Captain Christopher Pike, and Majel Barrett played his first officer, referred to only as "Number One." Others have been called this name over the years (Commander Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation, most notably), but 54 years later, the original Number One is finally ready to boldly go once more.
In new photos released by CBS on Tuesday, we now have our first official image of Number One’s return, in Star Trek: Discovery.
She figured into the original series episode "The Menagerie" in 1966, but that's because that particular episode hacked up the original pilot, put a frame around it, and used it to tell a slightly different story. It's mostly through that episode that viewers first got to know the story of "The Cage," Captain Pike, and that Spock was once one of his officers. The truncated version of the episode (magically shown to Kirk, Spock, and a Starfleet tribunal ... because of reasons) actually worked better for most fans, with some of Pike's most dated lines getting the ax. Most notoriously, Pike remarking on "not liking women on the bridge" was dropped. It wasn't missed.
The events of "The Cage" became canon thanks to "The Menagerie," and Star Trek: Discovery's second season takes place after those strange events on Talos IV. We've already met the series' new take on Pike (Anson Mount), who has temporarily taken command of the Discovery. There's also a whole new "Search for Spock" going on, which means that Number One is holding things down over on the U.S.S. Enterprise while it undergoes repairs. We've known that Discovery was going to bring in Number One, now played by Rebecca Romijn, and she's finally about to make her first appearance in Episode 4 of this season, titled "An Obol for Charon."
Number One returning to Trek lore is a big deal, and not just because she only appeared once and it was over 50 years ago. She was a formidable officer in a powerful position, and television in 1965 wasn't famous for featuring that kind of character. We barely got to know her, and this is something that Rebecca Romijn is very much aware of.
“I want to help unfold this character because we didn’t get to know enough ... She knows her s**t, and I kind of want her to be like, a broad, like a fast-talkin’ dame," Romijn told SYFY WIRE on the red carpet for the Season 2 premiere. "It’s slightly period, the Enterprise obviously was in the '60s, and so the look of my character is of that era, slightly, which I love. It’s fun to keep discovering things about a character that we didn’t get to know enough about the first time around."
Number One won't be the only one returning this week — per other new images released by CBS, we can look forward to Jett Reno (Tig Notaro) making her second appearance after being featured in the Season 2 opener.
Fans are no doubt delighted that Notaro is sticking around after being so entertaining in the premiere, but the photo above holds an even bigger promise. Notaro's Reno is clearly in the engineering section of the Discovery (naturally), and it certainly looks like she's got her hands on one of the spore drive's components. We truly hope that this means that she'll have at least one scene with Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp), because it will either be instant love or nonstop insults between the two. Either way, expect some fireworks.
As usual, the overseas Netflix Instagram page for Star Trek: Discovery has a trailer for the episode, which is a little longer than the one they showed on CBS All Access:
We see both Number One and Jett Reno in action, as well as an illness befalling Commander Saru (Doug Jones), and Ensign Tilly (Mary Wiseman) still dealing with the mycelial fallout from last week. How are they all connected? We'll have to boldly stream to find out.
Star Trek: Discovery returns this Thursday on CBS All Access. Welcome back, Number One.