Star Trek: Strange New Worlds makes a lot of its return to a formula that has worked for generations star trek shows, tending more toward an episodic structure than its serialized siblings in the current crop of hiking series. But why did it take contemporary star trek so long to return to this formula? For the co-showrunner Henry Alonso Myersit was about realizing what worked star trek for more than half a century.
io9 recently spoke to Myers, who co-presents and produces the latest star trek series, to talk about what awaits us Business and his new-old crew before the series premieres on Paramount+ tomorrow. Read on for our interview below, including Alonso’s thoughts on episodic stories, why it was important to even tie Strange new worlds‘ new characters in familiar hiking the story and what fans should take away from this return to the structural and aesthetic roots of the franchise.
James Whitbrook, io9: When you came on board the show, why did you think the time was right for STar Trek start exploring this more episodic format again?
Henry Alonso Myers: Well the pilot was written by Alex [Kurtzman] and jenny [Lumet] and Akiva [Goldsman], and it had been done before I came on board – I came on board after it was written, but before we had shot anything. They had an idea for the show, that it would be episodic and a return to Pike and Spock and Una and the other crew members on the Business, but they were trying to fill it. So, I came in after doing serialized and episodic genre stuff and the goal, frankly, was to try to do that… well, the goal was, “Let’s look at what we like about the original series, next generationand Deep Space Nine.” The hallmark shows. I grew up watching TOS in reruns then GNT in high school and college, and Deep Space Nine right after – these are the ones that were sitting in my head, so we looked at these and Traveler and Business. “What worked in these shows? What was it about this show that was exciting and fun? »
I think Traveler and Business are a little in this mode too. The episodic structure, the unique ship, the crew that experiences different adventures of different sizes. And one of the things we borrowed next generation what I really liked was that we have this big cast – “let’s find a way to give everyone their own story.” So we tried to put the iris on different people for different parts of the season, so some people will be in it for a little while and disappear, some episodes will be in the front, and the thing you can do there tells interesting and different character stories. That’s one of the things that I think they’ve done so well on those shows. I’m trying to think of the original pitch document we sent to the network for the first season, but we just said, “here’s our crazy idea: we want to do hiking again. We want to do it the way it was done. An episodic series. One of the things that’s great about this original show, and the ones that come after, is that it has this malleability. You can explore different genres here. Some episodes are funny, some episodes, like “Devil in the Dark”, are scary. But they all come to this place of surprising character where they reveal something, you know? We really wanted to push the boundaries of what we could do on this level, but we thought it would work because there’s a very clear pattern to the show in the past. Those were the things that worked on it and we kind of didn’t want to break it. The goal was: “Let’s try to do that”.
The thing we were saying in the room was, “What would the authors of Gene Roddenberry do if they did this today?” They would probably try to make the crew look like people of the time, they would probably try to tell the stories of the day – not the stories of the past – they would update people’s ideas about gender and sexuality and all of those things to relate to how we think about those things with our audience. They would definitely do some big special effects, because I bet if they could have done that, they would make the fight choreography as amazing as possible. They would want to use the best visual technologies to make it really look like the space, and they would probably try to tell social issue stories that were very different every week. They’ve already done that. So our goal then was to just, you know… Let’s do that for today.
io9: One of the characters that stood out to me the most in what I’ve seen of the series so far is Christina Chong’s La’an Noonien-Singh. I wanted to ask about exploring this character, because we have this fascinating idea where she’s a new character, and then all of a sudden you have this bombshell of a last name attached to her. When you imagined this character, what made him stand out as a new character that you wanted to introduce in this very special time of star trek the story?
Myer: We learn in the pilot that La’an has this very traumatic past. We knew that was kind of pivotal, and something we wanted to explore with her, both emotionally and plot-wise, on the show. One of the things you do on a show, obviously, I’m always trying to figure out where we’re going to go. I think it’s something I learned from working on a lot of TV shows, which is that a lot of people think you have to go in and know the ending. And I think it’s good to have an idea? But it’s good to be open to new things! One of the things you discover is that if we don’t know how things will end, you probably don’t know how things will end. What you can do is give people emotion. Fill in moments that show people the humanity at the heart of things. So, to that extent, you can put together little Easter eggs and ideas that you hope will blossom later, but you don’t necessarily know how it will turn out. And that’s where I think the name La’an started.
It’s a piece of her, of the story that we wanted to tell, ultimately. I think it’s safe to say we’re dealing with it. Sometimes it’s small, sometimes it’s big, but it’s part of who she is as a character. And because we knew that, it affected how we build stories for her, how we build stories for her and the other characters, because it shapes who she is as a person. The goal was not to break the barrel, but to add to the barrel. It wasn’t meant to be some little global thing where we only see people connected to famous people, it was meant to be, “how can we give these people connections from the past that will bring up ideas and will challenge?” And that eventually turns into conflict and the evolution of people. That was sort of the point with her. Really, the end goal of a writer is to come up with emotions for your actors to play. If you don’t give your actors something to play, we haven’t done our job. And that’s part of what it is.
io9: What do you expect hiking fans shoot from Strange new worlds they can’t get out Discovery, picard, Prodigyor Lower decks?
Myer: Each of the hiking watch tries to carve its own edge, you know, and when Discovery came out, I thought it was this really cool and bold idea to reinvent hiking for an era of streaming that was heavily serialized with new effects and new ideas – to not focus on the captain, at first, but on one member of the crew. It was pretty daring, you know? Really cool. And they always try big, interesting ideas. picard has this completely different tone and sensibility. The goal [for Strange New Worlds] was really just to have a show that speaks to his specific voice. We wanted people to come there and feel like “this is the flavor we get here”. For us, it’s these episodic adventures.
And I dare say, we just wanted the show to deal with big issues and be fun and use episodic sci-fi to tell thoughtful stories about the world. In a point-like way, where we don’t necessarily have to do those big, complex, arched baddies [like Discovery and Picard]— it’s extremely, really difficult, super challenging and it’s hard, I really admire their work because it’s hard. For us, we said, let’s attack the other way. We’re not telling a giant story that we have to connect, we’re telling character stories from a comfortable place, but we’re also hoping to make a show that everyone could watch. someone who loves hiking and would look and say, “Oh, there are Easter eggs. All these things for me! But, like, if they bring their friend, the friend can look at it and be like, “Oh, I got it!” There is no barrier to entry. That was one of the things about the original series, you know? And GNT—GNT was syndicated, you never knew what would air when, so you could watch any episode and it would tell you a story. And it would be a hiking narrative. Thoughtful and cool, and you might jump. It was our fashion. That’s what we’re trying to do, so it’s kind of like in a video game. There are games that are about this really singular mission and journey, and then there are games that are open world, and you can go here and explore a thing or go there and explore a thing – like, c This is the version we wanted to do. An open world version of star trek.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds arrives on Paramount+ on May 5.
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