If there's one thing that Akiva Goldsman is trying to do for the Star Trek franchise, is that he's eager to please fans of new and old. The executive producer opened up during a recent interview about the more traditional era of The Original Series with Strange New Worlds. Since it's been 16 years since the last non-serial series in Enterprise, Goldsman explains what the Anson Mount-starred series will be about.
"It's unlike the other shows in that it's really episodic," Goldsman said. "If you think back to The Original Series, it was a tonally more liberal — I don't mean in terms of politics, but it could sort of be more fluid. Like sometimes Robert Bloch would write a horror episode. Or Harlan Ellison would have 'City on the Edge of Forever,' which is hard sci-fi. Then there would be comedic episodes, like 'Shore Leave' or 'The Trouble With Tribbles.' So [co-showrunner] Henry Alonso Myers and myself are trying to serve that. We've all become very enamored, myself included, with serialized storytelling. And I'm talking to you from behind the stage where we're shooting Picard, which is deeply serialized. But Strange New Worlds is very much adventure-of-the-week but with serialized character arcs".
Goldsman talked about the challenges he encountered directing the pilot. "It was super fun and I've finished almost all of it," he said. "There were certain scenes that we couldn't shoot in Toronto because of quarantine — in terms of limits on the number of extras [in a scene] — that I'll back and finish pretty soon, I hope. But there's something extraordinary about a bunch of folks coming together to do a new thing; you're surrounded by people who would be perfectly happy to be on the floor of a Star Trek convention, which is a little different than a typical show." Naturally, as a series set in the Kirk-era, attention to detail is everything compared to filming Discovery.
"Yeah. It's a fine line because obviously, we want to keep continuity with the storytelling and the style, but we also want Strange New Worlds to be a different show," Goldsman continued. "It's not Discovery. There are a few more reach-backs (to The Original Series) and the uniforms have been adjusted slightly, the sets are slightly different. Remember the Enterprise existed as a little piece of [the show Discovery], but now it's its own object. When you close your eyes and think of the key sets and situations that you think of The Original Series, that's what we're looking to do." Given Mount's warm reception on Discovery season two, the stars aligned for the new series.
"There are few things I will take credit for in the Star Trek universe, but this is actually one of them," Goldsman said. "When [executive producer] Alex Kurtzman called about [joining the Discovery team], I was wildly envious of any involvement in Star Trek because I love it so much — my very first Star Trek convention was in 1975. I had no idea what his show was about, so I went online and I started reading that it was clearly going to be about Captain Pike and Number One. So that's what I thought I was going to join. Then I got there and it couldn't have had less to do with Captain Pike and Number One. So I started agitating for them because the timelines overlapped with Discovery and the Enterprise was out there. When the Enterprise appeared at the end of season one, and once Anson [Mount], Rebecca [Romijn], and Ethan [Peck] started living those characters in season two, it sort of became this wonderful inevitability." Filming on the first season is set to wrap in July on the Paramount+ series.