‘Strange New Worlds’ Premiere Episode Pays Homage to ‘The Motion Picture’ Director

Michael Rennie and Anson Mount

20th Century Fox / Paramount Michael Rennie and Anson Mount

As Heavy has noted in recent days, the excitement for the debut of the newest “Star Trek” series is very high, judging by some of the posts on social media. Fans who have been waiting for “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” can rest at last as the show premiers on May 5, 2022.

Even though May 4, 2022, is known as “Star Trek Day” worldwide, some think there might be a very public coup happening. According to CNN’s Frank Pallotta, Paramount is trying to “steal May the 4th” from Disney. 

“It’s May the 4th, a day for ‘Star Wars’ nerds to geek out on Luke Skywalker, lightsabers, and the Millennium Falcon,” wrote Pallotta. “So why are so many sci-fi fans talking about Spock, phasers, and the U.S.S. Enterprise?”

“Paramount is set to debut the highly anticipated ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ on Thursday for its streaming service, Paramount+,” Pallotta opined. “The series — which stars Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike and Ethan Peck as Spock — is a spin-off of the streamer’s popular ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ series and a prequel to the original ‘Star Trek.’”

Reviews Are In

Disney did release a new trailer for their own Obi-Wan Kenobi series, which will stream on their platform, Disney+; it seems that the world has Spock fever on “Star Wars Day.”

The critics love the show, which fans can read more about here. But the real test will be when fans worldwide get to see for themselves if the show lives up to the hype.

Homage to a Master: Robert Wise

Paramount recently released an updated version of the first Trek film — “Star Trek: The Motion Picture – Director’s Edition.” This new edition of “TMP” was made available in 4K, with updated effects, remastered sound, and many improvements from the original.

Heavy spoke with one of the experts who oversaw the process to bring the version of the film into the 4K realm. Daren Dochterman, who served as the project’s Associate Producer / Visual Effects Supervisor, shared his insights on how the crew made the new version of the film look so good.

“We’ve gone in and every frame of the movie [and was] made to look as best that it can,” said Dochterman in the interview. “Of course, without losing the filmic quality that the original has. We’ve rejuvenated it and restored it to an amazing state — I have to say.”

One interesting note from that story was how Dochterman spoke about the film’s director, Robert Wise. Whenever Dochterman referred to the director, who passed away in 2005, Dochterman called him “Mr. Wise.”

Dochterman is not alone in holding Wise in high regard. Today, he’s remembered as one of the very best directors and one who found success in every genre. He directed the musicals “The Sound of Music” and “West Side Story” and the film “The Body Snatcher,” which starred horror icons Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff.  

“His films became increasingly fascinating to me because of the editing style, a very crisp, clear style of editing that kind of points the audience toward where to look in a scene,” Martin Scorsese told the New York Times in 1998.

In addition to his work on “The Motion Picture,” he also directed the great science fiction movies “The Andromeda Strain” in 1971 and “The Day The Earth Stood Still” in 1951. 

At the very start of the episode, which is entitled “Strange New Worlds,” Pike is in his kitchen making breakfast, as the most famous part of “The Day The Earth Stood Still” plays in the background. 

The Pre-Federation ‘Organization’

This speech is interesting because Klatuu (actor Michael Rennie) stood before an audience of humans, telling them that there needed to be laws that Earth would obey. 

“The Universe grows smaller every day,” said Klatuu in the movie. “And the threat of aggression of any group, anywhere, can no longer be tolerated. There must be security for all, or no one is secure. This does not mean giving up any freedom, except the freedom to act irresponsibly.”

Klatuu warned those gathered that they should not destroy each other with nuclear weapons and described an “organization for the mutual protection of all planets.” This description sounds a lot like what would be first thought of by “The Original Series” writer and producer, Gene L. Coon. It would later evolve into the United Federation of Planets. As all Trek fans know, the Federation is now a staple of Trek storytelling. 

Thanks to Akiva Goldsman, Alex Kurtzman, and Jenny Lumet, who wrote the episode, fans who weren’t around in 1951 to see “The Day The Earth Stood Still” can still understand its significance. They also might want to watch it now — it’s available to stream on multiple platforms — to see why Pike called it “a classic.”

By the end of the episode, Pike beamed down to a planet of aliens who were divided into two warring factions. The captain gave an updated version of the Klatuu speech to these aliens, telling them how humanity nearly destroyed itself. 

“Go to war with each other, or, join our Federation of Planets,” Pike told them. In his own way, Pike became Klatuu, and humanity was the wise, elder race trying to stop a younger race from destroying itself. 

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