Anson Mount, Rebecca Romijn and Ethan Peck, reprising their roles as Captain Pike, Number One and Spock from Star Trek: Discovery, will lead the series set before Captain Kirk and crew.
Fans of classic "Star Trek" have reason to cheer with the announcement of the third live-action, ongoing series in the sprawling franchise set for streamer CBS All Access.
In an announcement on Friday, CBS revealed that it had given a series commitment to "Discovery" spinoff "Strange New Worlds." But while the parent series has literally jumped into uncharted territory in the far future, "SNW" is set to chart more familiar territory, albeit just as mysterious.
Before its latest time jump, "Discovery" was set in the era just before Captain James T. Kirk took over the U.S.S. Enterprise from his predecessor, Captain Christopher Pike. Originally seen only in the lost "Star Trek" pilot from the 1960s, Captain Pike has become a mythological character in "Trek," with his story poked at and teased over the subsequent decades.
"Discovery" had several nods to the original series, which would come after it in the Trek timeline, but none so prevalent as the slow introductions of key members of Pike's Enterprise crew including Pike himself, portrayed by Anson Mount.
Also making their mark on the new series were Rebecca Romijn as the never-named "Number One" and Ethan Peck as Spock. All three were well-received by fans, with a clamoring beginning immediately for a chance to see lost stories of the Enterprise under this Captain Pike's command.
Fans are not only getting that wish fulfilled, but one they didn't even know they had as co-creator and executive producer Akiva Goldsman told Variety, "We're going to try to hearken back to some classical 'Trek' values, to be optimistic, and to be more episodic."
"Obviously, we will take advantage of the serialized nature of character and story building," he continued. "But I think our plots will be more closed-ended than you’ve seen in either 'Discovery' or 'Picard.'"
Both of the newer series proved dramatic departures from previous Trek series in both their darker tones and serialized storytelling approach, with vast season-long story arcs. While later series like "Deep Space 9" toyed with serialized storytelling and more serious content toward the close of the "TNG" era, it was still done through the lens of largely episodic storytelling.
"I imagine it to be closer to the original series than even ‘DS9,'" Goldsman said. "We can really tell closed-ended stories. We can find ourselves in episodes that are tonally of a piece ... It’s hard to do a shore-leave episode in the middle of a long, serialized arc."
That said, though, he promised that there would be logical through-lines for characters emotionally in response to what happens in some of those episodes.
"I think one thing that we always struggled with [as fans] was that Kirk is heartbroken at the loss of Edith Keeler in 'The City on the Edge of Forever' and has to be just fine the next week," Goldsman says, citing an example. "I think what we would want to do is keep the characters having moved through and recognizing the experiences they've had in previous episodes, but to be able to tell contained, episodic stories."
There is no word on when production might begin on "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but it's nevertheless exciting news for fans new and old as a Pike-centric series has been among the most requested since before Scott Bakula first explored the pre-Kirk era in 2001's "Enterprise."