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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Cast Share "Subspace Rhapsody" Thoughts

The cast of Strange New Worlds on how they approached one of the memorable moments in "Star Trek" history, the musical "Subspace Rhapsody."

Article Summary

  • "Subspace Rhapsody" marks a musical first in Star Trek's series canon.
  • "Strange New Worlds" cast discusses challenges and joys of creating a musical episode.
  • Insights into the recording process and personal cast experiences offered.
  • Reflection on fan reception and surprise chart-topping moments revealed.

Sometimes it takes a while for a TV series, especially on a pop culture phenomenon like Star Trek, to create a signature episode. For Strange New Worlds, one of those without question was the season two penultimate episode, "Subspace Rhapsody." Of all the genres the sci-fi franchise manages to tackle across generations, the musical wasn't one it tackled. While it had its share of characters with profound musical talent, like Nichelle Nichols' Uhura on Star Trek: The Original Series, Robert Picardo's The Doctor, and Jeri Ryan's Seven of Nine on Star Trek: Voyager, there was never a dedicated narrative to the genre. Love it or hate it, "Subspace Rhapsody" got fans talking.

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Photo Credit: Best Possible Screengrab/Paramount+

"Subspace Rhapsody": Boldly Going Where No Star Trek Series Has Gone Before

Directed by Dermott Downs and written by Dana Horgan & Bill Wolkoff, the Enterprise found itself trapped in song after an accident with a subspace relay forces those afflicted to sing during the most mundane activities and exposing their deepest personal secrets as per the infrastructure of traditional musicals. The crew tries to find a way to undo the damage before irreparable harm comes to the galaxy, including potentially inciting a war against the Klingons, the cast featuring Anson Mount (Pike), Rebecca Romijn (Una Chin-Riley), Ethan Peck (Spock),  Melissa Navia (Ortegas), Christina Chong (La'an), Celia Rose Gooding (Uhura), Jess Bush (Chapel), and Babs Olusanmokun (M'Benga) joined host Amy Ratcliffe from The Nerdist for a roundtable discussion for the SAG-AFTRA Foundation:

Chong – I was incredibly excited. It was one of my dreams to be in a TV or film musical. It was like literally my career coming 360 and living out a dream.

Bush – I want to say it was Chrissy's fault that this all happened.

Olusanmokun – I would say it was her idea.

Mount – We'd kind of been lobbying the showrunners to do something like that for a while not because I'm a singer. I'm definitely not, as you can see, but like I like "Oh shit" situations. I think they're really good for creativity. The way they scheduled it was even better because it came towards the end of a very long shoot season. It was a really hard episode to do, as you can imagine because it required a lot of work on the weekends between recording the album and choreography. Everyone was super psyched to be at work every day.

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STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS – Photo Credit: Best Possible Screengrab/Paramount+

Romijn – I would say some people were more psyched than others, that's for sure.

Gooding – I was stoked. I was pumped.

Romijn – I was stoked as well. We performed to playback. We recorded everything. We came in for dance choreography. It was a real labor of love. It was very fun.

Chong – What I can say while Rebecca's mentioned it there because it just pumped into memory, the first time I went to the recording studio. I wanted in on Rebecca singing. I think you just finished singing and recording 'Keeping Secrets.' I listened to the playback of her singing and had tears in my eyes. It was so amazing to see your fellow castmates doing something so incredible and out of the box for what we signed up for originally. It was really amazing.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Cast Share "Subspace Rhapsody" Thoughts
STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS – Photo Credit: Best Possible Screengrab/Paramount+

Peck – I was skeptical. It reflects who my character is as well, but I was like, 'Oh my gosh!' I kept looking at Christina, who was like, 'Oh my gosh!' I was like, 'Oh, I don't know.' I was blown away by the whole experience. I was very moved by it, and singing is so hard. It took me seven hours to record a two-minute song. I don't know how long it took you all, but it was like a very long, onerous process.

Bush – It took me a long time as well. It gave me so much insight into the craft of singing. It's unbelievable. It's so difficult, and it requires so much sensitivity and honed skill, which know conceptually, but when you try and do it, you're like, 'Oh wow! This is wild.' I don't know. I was also blown away by how much faith they had in us, just blind faith.

Gooding – They also have autotune technology, so if anybody was truly tone-deaf, I think we would have covered it fine, but we lucked out with a group of people who, if they could not truly sing, everyone put their best foot forward, really showed up, and wanted to make it work. That was 80 percent of getting it done was showing up wanting to get it done with this group.

Romijn – The only one they didn't use autotune was you.

Gooding – That is categorically false. That's very generous of you.

Navia – My character did not get a full song, and I'm not bitter about it at all. However, I will remind everybody every season until we do this again, but the thing is that everyone worked so hard on every single song, like we did backtracking. We were in the studio, and then on set, I loved how many of us sang, like during songs. I was belting the bits that I had. It was an absolute blast. I was saying while I was on mute that everything they've thrown at this cast, so many different genres and so many different obstacles, every single person here goes above and beyond. When I heard we were doing a musical, I was not in the least concerned.

I was inquisitive about what the story was going to be. I think all of us…we knew about the musical for so long. We were rehearsing. We were training. We were singing, and when we finally got the script, I'll never forget being there, and it was Anson. We were in the transporter room, and I think I was with Babs. Anson looked up from the script, and he was like, 'This is incredible! This is good!' I was like, 'Anson said it.' Oh my goodness! What is about to happen? We knew the script was good, and I knew we were going to pull it together. It was a blast, but I didn't get a full song, so just putting it out there.

For more, including the cast's reaction to fan reception, overtaking Taylor Swift in the charts, and more, you can check out the full video of the conversation below. Both seasons of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds are available to stream on Paramount+.

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Tom ChangAbout 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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