The CBS All Access streaming service May 15 announced it has ordered “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” a new series focused on Capt. Pike’s tenure as commander of the starship Enterprise 10 years before Capt. Kirk.
The series will star Anson Mount as Pike, Rebecca Romijn as first officer Number One, and Ethan Peck as science officer Lt. Spock. The trio first played the characters in the second season of CBS All Access’ “Star Trek: Discovery” and reprised the roles in a number of “Short Treks” episodes.
Though fan reaction to “Discovery” has been mixed, the performances of Mount, Romijn and Peck as the legacy characters has been widely praised, leading to calls for them to receive their own show.
“When we said we heard the fans’ outpouring of love for Pike, Number One and Spock when they boarded ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ last season, we meant it,” executive producer Alex Kurtzman said in a statement. “These iconic characters have a deep history in Star Trek canon, yet so much of their stories have yet to be told.”
The characters themselves date back to the original “Star Trek” pilot episode, “The Cage,” that was produced in 1964. Series creator Gene Roddenberry’s first attempt to sell the science-fiction series was famously rejected by NBC executives, though they were impressed enough by the concept to ask for a second pilot, which revamped the formula by replacing almost the entire cast, keeping only the alien Spock character, played by Leonard Nimoy, and introducing Capt. Kirk as played by William Shatner. Footage from the original pilot was eventually recycled for a two-part episode of the original “Star Trek” series that introduced Pike as Spock’s former captain.
“Strange New Worlds” could thus be seen in some regards as the “Star Trek” series that Roddenberry had originally envisioned in the mid-1960s. The title comes from the famous mission creed of the U.S.S. Enterprise to “explore strange new worlds” and “seek out new life and new civilizations,” with the show’s creators promising a series that returns “Star Trek” to its roots of a starship exploring a vast unknown galaxy.
“Fans fell in love with Anson Mount, Rebecca Romijn and Ethan Peck’s portrayals of these iconic characters when they were first introduced on ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ last season,” Julie McNamara, EVP and head of programming at CBS All Access, said in a statement. “This new series will be a perfect complement to the franchise, bringing a whole new perspective and series of adventures to ‘Star Trek.’”
The series premiere was written by Akiva Goldsman with a story by Goldsman, Kurtzman, and Jenny Lumet. Goldsman, Kurtzman, and Lumet will serve as executive producers in addition to Henry Alonso Myers, Heather Kadin, Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth.
“With Akiva and Henry at the helm, the Enterprise, its crew, and its fans are in for an extraordinary journey to new frontiers in the Star Trek universe,” Kurtzman said.
Pike was previously played by Jeffrey Hunter in “The Cage,” with actor Sean Kenney in heavy makeup doubling for Hunter in new sequences shot for the pilot footage’s use in the original series. Bruce Greenwood played Pike in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot movie and its 2013 sequel (both co-written by Kurtzman). Number One was previously played by “Trek” mainstay (and later Gene Roddenberry’s wife) Majel Barrett in “The Cage.”
In addition to “Star Trek: Discovery,” which is expected to premiere its third season later this year, CBS All Access is also home to “Star Trek: Picard,” a “Star Trek: The Next Generation” sequel that presented its first season earlier this year, and “Short Treks,” a series of 15- to 20-minute short films based on elements from the franchise. CBS All Access will also present the animated series “Star Trek: Lower Decks.”
“Strange New Worlds” will be the eighth live-action “Star Trek” series in the history of the franchise. The series will be produced by CBS Television Studios, Secret Hideout and Roddenberry Entertainment. Aaron Baiers, Akela Cooper, and Davy Perez will serve as co-executive producers. Goldsman will remain an executive producer and a member of the creative team on “Star Trek: Picard” as well.
A premiere date for “Strange New Worlds” was not announced.