Rebecca Romijn loves to get her geek on. The familiar “Star Trek” actress has starred in more than a dozen sci-fi and horror films and shows, according to IMDb, including several “X-Men” adventures, “Rollerball,” “Simone,” “Godsend,” “The Punisher,” “Eastwick,” “Chuck,” “The Death of Superman,” “The Librarians,” “Adventure Time,” “Reign of the Supermen,” “Satanic Panic,” “Batman: Hush,” “Justice League Dark: Apokolips War,” “Star Trek: Discovery,” and “Star Trek: Short Treks.”
Now, Romijn is adding to that list by revisiting a role from two of those projects. She’s once again playing Number One from “Discovery” and “Short Treks” in “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.” The latest “Star Trek” series, which will begin streaming May 5, 2022, on Paramount+, puts the focus on Captain Pike (Anson Mount), Number One, and Spock (Ethan Peck) as the U.S.S. Enterprise boldly goes on its pre-Kirk missions. Romijn, who is married to “Star Trek: Lower Decks” voice actor Jerry O’Connell, engaged in a group interview on April 18, 2022, with several media outlets, including Heavy. Here’s what she had to say:
Number One has an interesting arc, especially in the first few episodes of this season. What excited you about what she gets to do in “Strange New Worlds”?
Well, she was a blank slate of a character who was introduced in the original rejected pilot of “Star Trek” and we didn’t even know she had a name. She does have a name now, Una Chin-Riley, so that was exciting, getting to have a name. She’s very good at her job and that’s what we see in the development. We learn a secret about her in episode three. We find out that that’s why she’s so good at her job, that she hides behind meticulous work and she is slightly intimidating to the rest of the crew, to keep her distance, so that nobody finds out the secret that she’s hiding. It’s a fun layer to play. The writers floated this idea to me pretty early on, and I just thought it was such an incredible layer to the character. We’re going to keep exploring that in a pretty major way throughout the season.
The Cast of ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’
A close-up of the ‘Strange New Worlds’ poster.
Majel Barrett played several roles in “The Original Series,” and all three of those roles are represented in “Strange New Worlds.” Was there any preliminary discussion about you taking on more than just Number One?
No, it never came up, but that’s a hilarious question. I appreciate the question. That never came up, though.
Are you surprised at all at how much of a reception people gave to Una following your performance in “Discovery”? It seems like she became this character that everyone wanted to know more and more about after just a couple of episodes.
Again, she was never developed. Our writers are incredible and we’ve all been having such a fun time fleshing her out. It’s been this great opportunity and “Star Trek” is such a great platform for storytelling. Because we’re (making) standalone episodes, each episode is a different opportunity to tell a new story with important messaging. Una was a real mystery until now. It’s been a blast. Also, I feel very protective of her. “Star Trek” fans are very protective of this canon and these characters. We’re caretakers. We’re custodians, taking care of these beloved characters.
You’ve been part of “Star Trek” for a while now. What’s the most striking thing that has happened to you or that someone said to you since joining the franchise?
We’re past the middle of our second season. We’ve made 16 episodes, and we love them all. We’re so excited to finally introduce this show. It’s like the longest pregnancy in history. I haven’t done too many of the conventions. I just went to the Mission convention in Chicago, and it’s nice. I was introduced to “Star Trek” by my mom at the age of eight, “The Original Series,” and I think a lot of us were. I know Anson was also introduced to “The Original Series” at the age of eight, by his mom. I think that’s not by accident. Moms want to introduce their kids to “Star Trek” because when you look into your child’s eyes — and I can say this as the only mom on our cast; I have kids — you see curiosity. You see a need for exploration. You want your kids to think universally and think totally outside the box. That’s what “The Original Series” did. It sparked a lot of conversations between my mom and I about whether or not we’re the only ones in this universe, acceptance, people from all different backgrounds coming together and working in harmony, about exploration and curiosity. These are all things that mothers foster in their children. When I said that at the convention in Chicago, all day long everybody I passed said, “My mom introduced me to ‘Star Trek.’” I kept hearing that over and over again, and I love that. I hope we do that for a new generation of “Star Trek” fans.
The ‘Strange New Worlds’ Trailer
You’ve been lucky enough to be involved in a lot of genre projects, such as “X-Men,” “Chuck,” and Lois in the DC cartoons. Now you’re in “Star Trek.” Do you seek out these nerdy roles, or is this just something that’s brought to you?
I would say I definitely have an inner nerd that I embrace. I don’t necessarily seek them out, except I will say that a lot of the more fulfilling female characters are usually within that genre. Especially as the mother of daughters, those are the roles that are more interesting to me to play.
There were 14 minutes of Number One in “The Cage,” the first “Star Trek” pilot. What of that original performance and character do you want to retain, that you feel is quintessential to Number One?
Her fastidious, meticulous nature. She is very good, and no one loves Starfleet more than Una. That is the North Star for Una. No one loves the stars more than Una, and no one loves Starfleet more than Una. She is extremely good at what she does. In what we learn about her in episode three, we find that she’s hiding something and she keeps her distance to protect that.
“Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” will begin streaming on May 5, 2022, on Paramount+.