Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Teaser Breakdown: Who's Who On New (Old) Starship Enterprise

The widely-heralded Star Trek Day had fans, "Trek" icons, and the creative talents behind the most recent shows all joining together to celebrate the beloved sci-fi franchise. Though fans had to wait most of the day to get to the really juicy bits of breaking news, we finally received our first look at the "Star Trek: Discovery" spin-off, "Strange New Worlds."

In Season 2 of "Discovery," we were introduced to the original original crew of the legendary starship Enterprise before Captain James T. Kirk ever stepped foot on board — led by Anson Mount as Captain Pike, Ethan Peck as a young Spock, and Rebecca Romijn as Number One. Audience reception to these characters proved to be so overwhelmingly positive that it felt like a fait accompli for the crew to get a spin-off of their very own, and now that dream is becoming a reality. In the wake of the new teaser, join us as we break down each and every member of the show, familiar faces, and brand-new creations alike.

Christopher Pike

Ask any Trekkie and they'll happily tell you that before William Shatner's Kirk charmed his way into our hearts, "The Original Series" was actually meant to begin with an ambitious pilot titled "The Cage" that revolved around the (mis)adventures of Christopher Pike, played at that time by Jeffrey Hunter. This was ultimately scrapped and the footage was recycled for a later episode in the series once things were more established, but this earlier captain of the USS Enterprise has always played an important role in the background of Kirk & Company's journeys.

As the no-nonsense Pike, Anson Mount brought the rich history of the character to the foreground, immediately commanding the attention of viewers in "Star: Trek Discovery" season 2 and proceeding to steal every scene he appeared in. With "Discovery" and now "Strange New Worlds" taking place after the events of that unaired pilot but before the beginning of "The Original Series," this spin-off has been afforded the unique opportunity to dive right into a previously unexplored timeline in "Trek" lore. The title of the show couldn't be more apt, as fans can eagerly look forward to "Strange New Worlds" making good on the strangeness and newness of it all.


Let's face it, fans don't always react well to change — especially when that change involves a character with as much history and audience attachment as Spock. Ethan Peck had big shoes to fill when he appeared alongside Anson Mount in "Discovery," but any anxiety was quickly put to rest as we acquainted ourselves with this younger, brasher, and more reckless version of Spock. Even the most casual of fans intuitively understand the influence of the late Leonard Nimoy and his graceful portrayal of the half-human, half-Vulcan science officer. And while the J.J. Abrams movies helped set the precedent in terms of recasting younger versions of classic characters, Peck faced initial questions about perhaps not quite resembling Nimoy or even Zachary Quinto from Abrams' Kelvin Timeline films. He overcame these doubts with aplomb.

His appearance in "Discovery" proved to be far more than fan-service, as the show laid out his troubled backstory with "Discovery" lead character Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green). As Spock's adopted sister, their complicated sibling relationship added whole new layers to both Burnham herself and to Spock's eternal struggle to reconcile the two halves of his identity. It may have seemed like a tall task to retcon so much previously-unseen (and unremarked-upon) material into Spock's backstory, but "Discovery" neatly sidestepped that bit of awkwardness by sending the crew of "Discovery" hundreds of years into the future and leaving those left behind to swear never to reference the classified events under penalty of treason. At this point in the timeline, Peck's Spock still has a lot of growing to do and we couldn't be more excited to see it play out.

Una Chin-Riley

This is a big one, folks. For decades, fans knew her only as "Number One." Pike's First Officer was originally played by Majel Barrett Roddenberry, "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry's wife. Unfortunately, one of the many reasons that "The Cage" went unaired was because of handwringing over the fact that (gasp) a woman was seen giving orders to the men in her midst. As undeniably progressive and forward-thinking as the ideals are that "Trek" was first founded on, grappling with the biases and shortcomings of the time was a constant struggle.

In any case, Rebecca Romijn rounded out the trio of original characters in "Discovery" and is now receiving a name of her own for the very first time: Una Chin-Riley. This development can't help but feel like a neat parallel to D.C. Fontana, who is second only to Roddenberry himself in terms of shaping the franchise into what we've all come to know and love over time. Born Dorothy Catherine Fontana, the prolific script writer and story editor went by the initials "D.C." so that unsuspecting viewers wouldn't have to see (gasp) a woman's name credited at the beginning of practically every episode of "The Original Series." Una Chin-Riley is now reestablishing her place among the "Trek" canon of invaluable female characters and, well, speaking of which ...

Nyota Uhura

Nichelle Nichols is a revered figure in "Trek" history and for very good reason. Her casting as Nyota Uhura in "The Original Series" served as a notice of intent, a bold and daring move at a time when the mere concept of a Black woman starring in a sci-fi show was all but unheard of. Though often stuck in the role of a glorified secretary throughout the show, Nichols served as a pioneer and a trailblazer in showing that the idealistic future of "Star Trek" could also be an inclusive one.

Fans didn't necessarily expect her character to make an appearance in "Strange New Worlds," but that's exactly what the teaser indicates as Celia Rose Gooding ("Jagged Little Pill") will step into the role. Here, the title of "Cadet Uhura" appears to indicate that she'll be joining the Enterprise as a fresh face right out of Starfleet Academy, which would explain her absence from "Discovery." Similar to Zoe Saldaña's portrayal in the recent trilogy of movies, this would be another look into the character's past as a younger, inexperienced, and presumably less buttoned-down version who has nothing but potential in front of her.

Nurse Chapel

The surprises just keep on coming! We now know that actor Jess Bush ("Playing for Keeps") will be playing Nurse Chapel, yet another established "Star Trek" figure who first appeared in "The Original Series." Also first portrayed by the late Majel Barrett (who would go on to become a fixture in several "Trek" shows, from the unforgettable Lwaxana Troi in "The Next Generation" to the recurring, familiar voice of the computer), Nurse Chapel injected a pleasantly wry tone into the series as Kirk, Spock, and Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy (played by the inimitable DeForest Kelley) blundered their way into and out of sticky situations. As the ship's nurse, she frequently shared scenes with Bones all while nursing (see what we did there?) a big, gooey crush on Spock himself, bringing out amusing new layers in the normally emotionless Vulcan. This could very well be an avenue to be further explored in "Strange New Worlds," but we'll have to wait and see for ourselves how it all comes together.

Dr. M'Benga

This one might be a bit of a deeper pull for those who really know their franchise history, but Dr. M'Benga was mostly seen in the background (played by Booker Bradshaw) all throughout "The Original Series" as the ship's second doctor and a self-titled expert in Vulcan healthcare. That would seem to prove handy with a Vulcan of Spock's caliber onboard for several missions into deep space that the Enterprise is known for. Now played by Babs Olusanmokun ("Dune," "Black Mirror") in "Strange New Worlds," this character can easily slide into the role of the ship's chief medical officer as it seems likely that he served as the ship's primary surgeon before Bones ever arrived on the scene. The spin-off series sure seems to be building up the medical side of the crew, which might indicate that their adventures will take them to some strange, new, but dangerous places.


Andorian stans, this is your moment. The Andorian species has long been a fan-favorite, with their incredibly distinctive look pairing with the fact that they were one of the Federation's founding members. In that light, it's been a long time coming that a member of this race would find themselves among the prestigious crew of the starship Enterprise, a long overdue honor that "Strange New Worlds" is finally setting right. Though mostly relegated to brief appearances throughout the history of the franchise, Andorians received quite a bit of a spotlight in the "Star Trek: Enterprise" series, which reignited fan interest in the aliens in a big way. Bruce Horak will play the original character of Hemmer and, in a really cool development, he will be the first legally blind actor to play a main character on a "Trek" television series.

La'an Noonien Singh

Here's something that'll get your attention. The "Strange New Worlds" teaser announced the appearance of another original character, this one played by Christina Chong ("Doctor Who"). It's her name that'll get tongues wagging, however, as it was revealed to be La'an Noonien-Singh. Little else is known about this particular character, but that surname obviously points towards a prominent figure in "Trek" lore.

Khan Noonien Singh made waves with his initial appearance in "The Original Series" episode titled "Space Seed," establishing his backstory as a relic of the Eugenic Wars set in the 1990s. A fierce warlord and dictator on Earth, Khan was left adrift in space ever since until his collision course with Kirk and the Enterprise crew. He later reappeared on the big screen with 1982's "Wrath of Khan," commonly regarded to be the absolute pinnacle of the franchise. What's interesting is that it's entirely possible for Khan to have had descendants of his line, living out their lives all the way to the events of "Strange New Worlds." In a universe as big as "Star Trek," the odds seem infinitesimally small that a living descendent of Khan himself would find themselves on the Enterprise by chance ... but we wouldn't expect the series creators to drop this name on us for no reason, either. Stay tuned!

Erica Ortegas

Rounding out the new cast of characters is Erica Ortegas, who will be played by Melissa Navia ("Dietland"). Little else is known about this wholly original character aside from her rank as Lieutenant, but she will continue to add to the ranks of diverse characters that these newer shows have made into a priority. Intriguingly, creator Akiva Goldsman has hinted that "Strange New Worlds" will take its cues from "The Original Series" and act as a throwback of sorts, returning to the episodic storytelling that used to be the norm. As he put it:

"There's a great thing that episodic television does, and 'Star Trek' did it greater than most, which is to teach while, as my late wife would have said, sugaring the pill, not letting the audience know that what we're doing is telling a story with a moral. 'Star Trek' came, not incidentally, in the late '60s, at a time where we could really have used a lens on our behavior, our society, our hopes for the future and the present we were living in. It's not particularly different today, sadly."

In that light, it's easy to see how characters like Ortegas will be given the opportunity to play integral roles throughout the season and slowly but steadily earn our affection. "Strange New Worlds" will debut on the Paramount+ streaming service later in 2021.