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Here's why 'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' went old school with its opening titles
The co-showrunner of the newest Star Trek show reveals how that fan-favorite callback to The Original Series came to be.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds boldly goes back to what made Star Trek, well, Star Trek: Focusing on episodic missions-of-the-week with a strong dose of character-driven serialization. With the return to classic Trek-style voyages also comes an even more welcomed nostalgic play: The return of the famous "Space, the Final Frontier..." narration over the opening titles.
Watching a pre-Kirk era U.S.S. Enterprise glide through and around the cosmos as Captain Pike (Anson Mount) utters the iconic preamble was a pleasant surprise for Star Trek fans, especially with Strange New Worlds being the first Star Trek show to use the signature opening titles since Star Trek: The Next Generation. Executive producer Akiva Goldsman, who also directed Worlds' pilot episode, was instrumental in making this a part of the show. According to Goldsman's co-showrunner, Henry Alonso Myers, the addition wasn't something that was scripted.
"In the first director's cut of the pilot that Akiva did, he just put a new version of the old Trek opening titles sequence in, just like a place holder," Myers tells SYFY WIRE from the show's production offices in Canada. "And we sort of loved it."
Myers went on to say that the temp version used in that early cut of the premiere episode featured the names of Strange New Worlds cast mixed in with the 1960s version of the U.S.S. Enterprise doing its thing. That nostalgic, unscripted addition was met with considerable enthusiasm among the show's creatives, and it spoke to the mandate that they had for a show set during a largely-untapped pocked of Trek canon.
"We really wanted this show to be a throwback and a reinvention of a 'throwback'," Myers explains. "We're trying to do what TOS did [on this show], we're trying to do what TNG did, and both of those had the V.O. and it just felt right."
What helped the inclusion of the title sequence feel even more right, according to Myers, was talking about it with both executive producer and keeper of the Trek franchise, Alex Kurtzman, and composer Jeff Russo.
"We wanted a theme song that [served as] a perfect metaphor for what we are trying to do, creatively. It is generated from that original series score, but it sort of builds and has an orchestration that sort of opens up and reveals new themes. And it kind of does it in a bigger, more cinematic way than they were able to do back in the '60s."
Strange New Worlds' opening titles give the Enterprise's fly-bys through space a considerable upgrade. Whether the starship is cutting a path through gaseous mists, or settling in amongst large chunks of space ice, the visual landscape depicted in the new opening credits truly honors the scope and scale of what Gene Roddenberry had in mind for his take on the Final Frontier when he first envisioned it nearly 60 years ago. And, again, the costly visual effects employed also speak to the thematic tentpoles that Strange New Worlds weaves its retro stories through.
"The goal here was to be like: 'We're gonna give you that thing, that is similar to what they had on The Original Series, but we are going to build it out in ways that A) they weren't able to or B) it never would have occurred to them because our times are different and our budgets are different."
While six decades is a long time to see such potential realized on screen, Strange New Worlds more than makes the wait worth it.
New episodes of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds stream Thursdays on Paramount+.