Latest ‘Strange New Worlds’ Episode Digs into ‘Star Trek’ Movies for Inspiration

A messy-haired Captain Pike with God.

Paramount A messy-haired Captain Pike with God.

Shows like “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” and Star Wars’ “Obi-Wan Kenobi” deal with characters that were created over 40 years ago. Both shows can go into the “way-back machine” to pull creatures and characters from old stories and use them in these new programs. And both are making the most of this opportunity. 

The fifth episode of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” featured Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen) at the height of his powers, and, perhaps, his most emotional. In the episode, Vader closed in on his rival and former mentor, Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). Vader set a trap for his old master, but Kenobi used Vader’s emotions to escape. 

The Serene Squall

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Similarly, in the seventh episode of “Strange New Worlds,” Spock (Ethan Peck) also loses control of his emotions. Unlike Darth Vader, whose emotional outbursts include killing members of his army and using The Force to stop an escaping space freighter, Spock’s human side is hijacked by a space pirate to take over the Enterprise. 


Jesse James Keitel co-starred as Dr. Aspen, who later turned out to be Captain Angel, the leader of a band of space pirates. Angel maneuvered Spock by manipulating his emotions and fooling him into granting her access to the ship’s controls. 

While longtime fans will enjoy the nods to “The Original Series” throughout the episode — especially references to the Vulcan who T’Pring (Gia Sandhu) will choose over Spock. That character, who was first seen on the classic episode, “Amok Time,” is Stonn. In “The Serene Squall,” Stonn is played by actor Roderick McNeil, while initially, he was played by Lawrence Montaigne.

The kiss between Spock and Nurse Chapel (Jess Bush) is an extension of the affection shown by Chapel, which was also seen in “Amok Time.” That episode aired in 1967, and Chapel was portrayed by Majel Barrett (Roddenberry). 

The Creator Would Not Approve

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As noted in an earlier Heavy article, “Star Trek” creator, Gene Roddenberry did not want the show to feature space pirates. In his “Star Trek” writer/director handbook, Roddenberry wrote that space pirate stories were “bad science fiction.”

And yet Trek has featured many stories about pirates beyond Earth’s oceans. That includes the classic “Next Generation” episode “The Outrageous Okona,” which starred actor Billy Campbell as a notorious swindler and ladies’ man. Campbell would return to Trek and reprise the role for an episode of “Star Trek: Lower Decks.”

Was That a Reman?

Vulcans, Romulans, Debrune and Reman | What's the difference?There may be as many as 4 races in the gene pool of the Vulcans, so far in Star Trek so what makes them different? This Channel is made to entertain and share the joy I have experienced watching and picking apart Science fiction series for decades now… I'm old but anyway if you enjoy…2021-09-26T02:10:40Z

About midway through the episode, Captain Pike (Anson Mount), Dr. M’Benga (Babs Olusanmokun), La’an Noonien-Singh (Christina Chong), and some other crew members were taken prisoner by the pirates. As they were shuffled through the Serene Squall spacecraft, a gnarly-looking alien with pale green skin and pointed ears appeared. While this individual certainly could have been any number of Trek species, he might have been a Reman. 

The Reman has only appeared a few times in “Star Trek” canon. Their first appearance was in the final chapter of “Next Generation” movies, “Nemesis.” They popped up again in “Star Trek: Enterprise.” The race was an offshoot of the Romulans, which itself was a divergent version of the Vulcans. 

Using a Reman as a bad guy for the pirate crew makes sense, though, since no Romulans had been encountered at this point in “Star Trek” canonical history. 

Spock’s Design from ‘Star Trek (2009)’

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Fans may have noticed that T’Pring was piloting a Vulcan ship with a familiar cockpit. That’s because those who have seen “Star Trek (2009)” know that T’Pring was seated in a cockpit which looked nearly identical to Spock’s ship, the Jellyfish. The ship’s exterior was not like the Jellyfish, but the triangular inside was unmistakable. A nice nod to the creators of the Jellyfish, designer Ryan Church, and comic book artist Bryan Hitch.

Spock’s Other Relative

Star Trek 5: The Final Frontier (4/9) Movie CLIP – Spock's Brother (1989) HDStar Trek V: The Final Frontier movie clips: BUY THE MOVIE: Don't miss the HOTTEST NEW TRAILERS: CLIP DESCRIPTION: Kirk (William Shatner) feels betrayed by Spock (Leonard Nimoy) after he tries to escape captivity from his brother Sybock (Laurence Luckinbill). FILM DESCRIPTION: Kirk (William Shatner), McCoy (DeForest Kelley), and Spock (Leonard Nimoy)…2012-02-18T02:06:18Z

The big reveal, which must not be understated, happened at the very last second of “The Serene Squall,” which gave fans just a glimpse of Spock’s sibling. No, not Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Jones) of “Discovery” fame. We’re talking about Sybok, who appeared once — and before “The Serene Squall,” only once — in Trek history. That appearance was in “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.” 

As Spock explained at the end of the episode, Sybok was his half-brother born out of wedlock from his father, Sarek. This mysterious figure was held at a rehab facility where T’Pring was the director. It was Sybok that Spock thinks Captain Angel was really after, and all of the manipulations were designed to hide this fact.

Laurence Luckinbill initially played Sybok, whose take on the character was much like a charismatic Space Jesus. He took control of the Enterprise to reach God. Kirk (William Shatner) and the rest of the crew went along for the ride, and the adventure turned out to be a commercial disappointment. 

Sybok’s appearance in the show indeed ensures that “Star Trek V” is canon, as some fans wondered

Heavy asked if Sybok would return to “Star Trek” in April 2021, and it turns out that we were correct. We also noted that “Star Wars” and “Battlestar Galactica” actor Sam Witwer stated that he wanted to play Sybok. It is publicly not known who played Sybok in “The Serene Squall.”

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