Star Trek: SNW EP Henry Alonso Myers on S01 Kirk, Gorn, Hemmer & More

Since Star Trek made its official return to television in 2017 for Paramount+ in Discovery, there's been a portion of the base that longed for the more traditional non-serialized storytelling. Executive producers and showrunners Akiva Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers answered the call with Strange New Worlds with characters reintroduced in Discovery season two with Anson Mount's Captain Christopher Pike, Rebecca Romijn's Una-Chin Riley, and Ethan Peck's Spock. Myers opened up about the fan reception of the series, which wrapped its first season on the streamer.

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Photo Cr: Marni Grossman/Paramount+

"I'm a fan, so I go to the outlets that I like and listen to some things, and check Twitter every now and again," Myers said. "But I also don't want to let that into my head too much, because you'll start to do things for the wrong reasons. Part of doing this job is delivering what fans want, but part of it is creating emotional experiences, and sometimes emotional experience is challenging." Of Pike's crew, the only other legacy characters from The Original Series as a prequel series are Jess Bush's Nurse Christine Chapel and Celia Rose Gooding's Cadet Nyota Uhura. Other characters introduced are Melissa Navia's Helmsperson Lt. Erica Ortegas, Christina Chong's Lt. La'an Noonien-Singh, Babs Olusanmokun's Dr. M'Benga, and Bruce Horak's Chief Engineer Hemmer.

Star Trek: SNW EP Henry Alonso Myers on S01 Kirk, Gorn, Hemmer & More
Photo Cr: Marni Grossman/Paramount+

"When someone hands you a 'Star Trek' show, you can't treat it like you're going to break it all the time and only do what you think is safe," Myers said. "If you do that, you're not going to do a good show. That said, choosing to do things that might push the boundaries is going to bug people. I just don't want that to scare them away." There are advantages as a prequel series the EP admits he could play around with. "People will sometimes feel like you're playing with people's childhoods," he explained. "What has been a real freedom for me is to say, 'I'm not playing with your childhood: The things from your childhood haven't happened yet.' I have to act like I don't know what's going to happen. Uhura doesn't know who she's going to be. Spock doesn't know who he's going to be. If you can accept that, you can understand that their experience is real and interesting and happening now."

Star Trek: SNW EP Henry Alonso Myers on S01 Kirk, Gorn, Hemmer & More
Photo Cr: Marni Grossman/Paramount+

Myers admits that Next Generation and Deep Space Nine are the biggest touchstones for Goldsman and himself. "I think I was a little more in the 'TNG'/'DS9' world, and Akiva was a little more 'TOS' — and we found a way to meet in the middle," he said. "When I thought about what kind of stories that I wanted to tell, that's where I leaned." Many of the episodes focus on one or two characters. "I love genre storytelling, but when it skimps on character, it just never works, and when it delivers on character, it makes everything work," he says. "We get to relish the downtime moments. It's the comforting part of television that you don't always get out of movies. If we focus on character, the action will feel like it has more stakes, the romance will feel like it actually matters, and the humor will be funnier, because it's coming from people that we know and like to hang out with. I think that that's the thing that we've gotten to do a little more than other ['Trek'] shows."

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Photo Cr: Marni Grossman/Paramount+

As far as how to get Paul Wesley's James T. Kirk into the narrative for the season finale "A Quality of Mercy", Myers used the season one TOS episode "Balance of Terror" as inspiration as Pike lives an alternate history where his training accident never happened, but still leads to disastrous results. "Part of that episode ended up being about the differences of command the differences between Kirk and Pike and how they approach things very, very differently," Myers says. "But there was a brief moment when we didn't know if we would be able to get a Kirk. I wrote two versions of the script, one with Kirk and one without."

Star Trek: SNW EP Henry Alonso Myers on S01 Kirk, Gorn, Hemmer & More
Jess Bush as Nurse Chapel and Ethan Peck as Spock of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS. Photo Cr: Marni Grossman/Paramount+ ©2022 ViacomCBS. All Rights Reserved.

Star Trek: A Revamp of the Gorn

Another legacy item Strange New Worlds was able to tackle is the TOS enemy the Gorn, which was most prominently featured in the penultimate episode "All Those Who Wander". "You couldn't do the Gorn now the way they did the Gorn," Myers says. "I think audiences would have an instinctive organ transplant rejection to the classic version of the Gorn. Audiences now are sophisticated, they expect a certain level of effects work, of verisimilitude." Prior to the episode, most associated the species with the TOS episode "Arena" with Kirk fighting the alien aka an actor wearing a non-emotive mask. "I mean, look, I love 'Arena.' 'Arena' is a great episode. But there's a reason people haven't touched the Gorn much since then," Myers says. "They're extremely hard to do. It's expensive, it's challenging. You have to reimagine them."

Star Trek Strange New Worlds
Photo Cr: Marni Grossman/Paramount+

One such narrative that was changed in "All Those Who Wander" is that it reintroduced the Gorn as an enemy that can gestate similar to the xenomorphs in the Alien franchise and one such casualty was Horak's Hemmer, but Myers assures fans, "We are finding and have currently found ways to have Bruce circle back in our universe in a very classic 'Trek' way. It won't be the last you see of Bruce Horak." For more on what Myers can tease about Spock's brother Sybok, reaffirming how the cast core of Mount, Romijn, and Peck will remain entering season two & more, you can check out the Variety interview here. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season one is available to stream on Paramount+

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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