Let's Break Down That Amazing Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Cameo

This post contains spoilers for the season finale of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds."

The first season finale of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" — called "A Quality of Mercy" — is a fan service episode writ large. In it, an older version of Captain Pike from an alternate timeline visits present-day Pike (Anson Mount), offering him a magical Klingon time crystal that would allow young Pike to visit the future. In touching it, Pike finds himself thrown forward seven years, occupying the events of the 1966 "Star Trek" episode "Balance of Terror." What if, a fan might be asking themselves, Pike was captain of the Enterprise during that episode, and not Kirk (William Shatner)? The ultimate answer would be that Pike would not resort to military tactics alone, but be very open to the idea of talking it out. In "A Quality of Mercy," diplomacy almost works. 

A brief aside: Pike is quickly becoming one of the best captains in "Star Trek" history. Not since Picard has a captain been so devoted to talking out conflicts. Only Pike is warmer and more genial than Picard. 

But since Pike is visiting "Balance of Terror," the Enterprise bridge now has to match classic 1966 "Star Trek." The "Balance of Terror"-era Enterprise also includes certain original series characters that haven't yet appeared on "Strange New Worlds," as well as some "Strange New Worlds" characters back in their classic positions. It had already been announced that an alternate Kirk would appear, this time played by Paul Wesley, but other characters have a role to play as well, including stalwart engineer Montgomery Scott, originally played by James Doohan.


The Pike-commanded "Balance of Terror"-era Enterprise from "A Quality of Mercy" — heretofore called AQOM Enterprise — has caught a case of pop culture fatalism. It seems that had Pike remained in command of the ship, then Spock would have become first officer as he was in 1966, Uhura would return to serve as communications officer, and Dr. M'Benga (Babs Olusanmokun) would remain the chief medical officer. Dr. M'Benga, originally played by Booker Bradshaw, was seen in the "Original Series" episodes "A Private Little War" and "That Which Survives." There is no mention of Dr. Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley) on AQOM Enterprise. 

While he doesn't appear on camera, Lt. Commander Scott is heard very clearly over an intercom during "A Quality of Mercy," consulting another character about engine troubles the ship is currently having ... and Scotty wouldn't appear unless there were engine troubles. It seems that Scotty, no matter who is captain, is destined to become the chief engineer on the Enterprise. Or at least work there; there is no explicit dialogue referring to him as the chief. Sadly, the position is now open on SNW Enterprise thanks to a tragic event that befell Hemmer (Bruce Horak) in the episode "All Those Who Wander." 

This raises the question: Could Scotty be added to the cast of "Strange New Worlds" in season 2? Let's get nerdy and comb through some expanded universe timelines to find out. 

Star Trek chronology

According to Michael and Denise Okuda's ancillary sourcebook "Star Trek Chronology: The History of the Future" (published in 1993, so very much an incomplete history), Montgomery Scott was born in 2222. This date is extrapolated from the age of actor James Doohan during the first season of "Star Trek" — he was 44 — cast backward from the show's eventually-revealed starting year of 2265. To put that in perspective, Kirk wouldn't be born until 2233. In the 1995 "Star Trek" tie-in novel "The Fearful Summons" by Denny Martin Flinn, Scotty graduated from Starfleet Academy in 2241 at age 19 or 20. 

Once again referencing a novel — this time D.C. Fontana's 1989 book "Vulcan's Glory," perhaps considered slightly more canonical, coming as it does from one of Trek's original writers –  Scotty served as a junior engineer on the Enterprise beginning in 2253. That same book depicts Scotty constructing his own handmade whiskey distillery in main engineering. The events of the original "Star Trek" pilot, called "The Cage," took place in 2254, meaning a young Scotty was already on board. "Strange New Worlds" picks up in 2258.

It's entirely possible, then, that a certain hardworking engineer has been toiling away on the Enterprise's engines on "Strange New Worlds" the entire time the show has been on the air. Research was unable to uncover any kind of gap in Montgomery Scott's career where he was off the Enterprise at this time. There's no reason why Scotty shouldn't naturally appear on "Strange New Worlds" again in the future, prior to arriving on the AQOM Enterprise.

 Of course, the SNW showrunners could easily introduce any number of gap years into Scotty's career, effectively removing him from the show. Which may, perhaps, be the wise course of action. It would allow new characters to shine instead.