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At today's Paramount+ virtual Television Critics Association press tour virtual panel for the upcoming Star Trek, the Original Series prequel, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, co-showrunners Akiva Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers, along with co-series creator Alex Kurtzman, and some of their cast, revealed to reporters a first scene from the series featuring Celia Rose Gooding. who is playing Starfleet Cadet Nyota Uhura, the role originated by actress Nichelle Nichols in TOS.
Uhura is one of several characters from TOS that will be featured in this series about Captain Christopher Pike's helming of the USS Enterprise during her maiden voyages. Characters like Doctor M'Benga (Babs Olusanmokun), Nurse Christine Chapel (Jess Bush) and Ethan Peck's iteration of the Vulcan, Spock.
In bringing her spin to language expert and communications officer Uhura, Celia Rose Gooding said she was always so impressed with how Nichols made the character "capable and powerful" in the series. But this new iteration of Uhura will also have a lot of "uncertainty" for the first season. "Nichelle had a level of understanding and clarity [in her portrayal], but we're showing different parts of her humanity, which isn't as sure and asks questions as we go along," the actress explained. "Getting to represent an iconic character in a multi-faceted way is an honor and now we're getting to see other sides of Uhura that go outside of the limitations set for Black women in the '60s."
Asked if other familiar Trek characters would be appearing in Season 1 outside of those already announced, Goldsman said, "We’re starting wth this crew and don’t want to bring folks into the show to be splashy. We want to dig deeply into the characters in this ensemble. We’re open to widening our arms, but right now, and this is said in the best possible way, what you see is what you get."
However, Goldsman did confirm that the previously announced character of La'an Noonien-Sing (Christina Chong) is indeed related to the TOS villain, Khan Noonien Singh, who was played by Ricardo Montalbán in the classic 1967 episode, "Space Seed."
During the panel, Alex Kurtzman also revealed the official one-sheet for the series:
He said they spent a lot of time thinking about the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds one-sheet and what message they wanted it to convey about the series. "We wanted it to reflect that the [concept] of the final frontier is at just the beginning," he explained. "And then we know that Pike rode his horse around Mohave, so we included that image. We think it brings the sense of nostalgia hope, optimism, exploration and sense of adventure."
Speaking of Pike, actor Anson Mount, who first embodied the character in Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 and reprises him for the spin-off, told reporters the fan response to the character has been "surprising and deeply encouraging" and a career highlight.
As to how much more we'll be learning in regards to the kind of captain that Pike is in comparison to the many who have come before him in Trek canon, Mount said, "The writers have done a magnificent job of establishing this captain as his own iteration of what a Starfleet captain should be, independent of other captains in canon. Humility is a big part of his character. And his father was a science teacher and scholar of comparative religion, so exploration is a big part of Pike. He's looking at the things that made us see what’s next over the horizon? Are we searchers or conquerors?"
And considering that TOS was an episodic series, with weekly standalone episodes, the EPs were asked if Strange New Worlds would follow that storytelling model? Goldsman said, "I'm a big fan of serialized storytelling. TOS was episodic when one could tell close-ended stories. We plan to move gently through genre and an be tonally specific. And when you go episodic, that allows for reversals like some of the very best The Twilight Zones. TOS was also great at that and we hope to chase some of those values."
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds debuts May 5 on Paramount+.