‘Strange New Worlds’ Redshirts Discuss Their Possibly Dark Futures


Paramount Captain Kirk and a group of redshirts.

Wear a red shirt on “Star Trek,” and you die, a victim of the redshirt curse. It’s not exactly a true-ism, but it’s pretty close. Dating back to “Star Trek: The Original Series,” characters that sported red shirts and joined Kirk, Spock, and McCoy on away team missions tended to die in order to establish the dire circumstances faced by the show’s lead characters in that week’s episode. It happened as well on the subsequent “Star Trek” shows, with numerous characters becoming ill-fated redshirts.

Yet, if one looks closely, Scotty (James Doohan) and Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) wore red, as did Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Riker (Jonathan Frakes) in “The Next Generation,” Sisko (Avery Brooks) in “Deep Space Nine,” Janeway (Kate Mulgrew), Chakotay (Robert Beltran), and Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill) in “Voyager,” and they all survived just fine. So, it’s usually been guest stars or what are commonly referred to in Hollywood parlance as “ND” — non-descript — actors and extras who’ve worn red and kicked the bucket across the franchise. Math may suggest the redshirt curse is more myth than fact, but it’s still a fun phenomenon to consider. Heck, “Star Trek: Lower Decks” happily pokes fun at it.

Behold the ‘Lower Decks’ Redshirts… While You Can

Lower Decks Redshirts

ViacomCBSRedshirts convene on ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’

Heavy on Star Trek recently had the chance to speak with the four actors on “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” the newest “Trek” show in the galaxy, who wear red shirts and ask them if they worry at all about the so-called “Star Trek” curse of the redshirt.

Celia Rose Gooding: Nyota Uhura

“Yes, I am (technically a redshirt),” Gooding said while walking the red carpet at the “Strange New Worlds” premiere in New York City on April 30, 2022. “Looking at my future and looking at the history of Uhura, I think I’m okay for at least a couple more years. I’m good for a little while. I can’t speak to the future, but I have a bit of job security for at least a couple more seasons.”

She’s a Redshirt 

Celia Rose Gooding

ViacomCBSCelia Rose Gooding as Uhura in a scene from ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.’

Melissa Navia: Erica Ortegas

“I’m not (worried) at all,” Navia said while on the red carpet at the “Strange New Worlds” premiere in New York City on April 30, 2022. “The great thing about Erica is that she is absolutely fearless. I almost think that if she knew what everybody says about redshirts, she would say, ‘Just bring it. That will not be my fate, and if it is my fate, then it was meant to be.’ I feel like that’s the attitude she takes going into it. If anything, she’s a fearless redshirt and proud to be a redshirt.”

Ortegas is a Redshirt, Too

Melissa Navia as Lt. Erica Ortegas

ViacomCBSMelissa Navia in action as Lt. Ortegas on ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.’

Christina Chong: La’an Noonien-Singh

“I’m not, at all,” Chong said during a recent phone interview with Heavy on Star Trek. “What will be, will be. If La’an dies trying to save her crew, I’m all for it. My gut feeling is that if anyone is going to go, it’s going to be La’an. For some reason, a lot of the characters I play end up dead!

La’an is Also a Redshirt

Christina Chong as La'an

ViacomCBSChristina Chong as La’an Noonien-Singh in a scene from ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.’

Bruce Horak: Hemmer

“How much do I worry about the curse of the red shirts?” he asked rhetorically during a recent phone interview. “When I talked to (executive producer and showrunner) Henry Alonso Myers at the beginning, when I was auditioning for the role, I said to him at that point and I said it to the writers going all the way through the first season, ‘If I’ve ever got to go, please make it cool.’ I’d really just want it to be cool. If and when it’s time, I want it to be a good, meaningful death.”

And, He’s a Redshirt as Well

Bruce Horak as Hemmer

ViacomCBSBruce Horak co-stars as Hemmer on ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’

Jess Bush: Christine Chapel

And then there’s Jess Bush, who plays Christine Chapel, the nurse aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise on “Strange New Worlds.” The character wears a bright white jumpsuit-like outfit, which is an interesting choice for a character whose job might occasionally find her covered in red… blood, perhaps even the blood of redshirts. How much blood does Nurse Chapel get splattered onto her outfit? “Actually, not that much,” Bush said with a laugh while on the red carpet at the “Strange New Worlds” premiere in New York City on April 30, 2022. “I’m pretty good at keeping it clean, surprisingly. When they first fitted me for it, I was like, ‘This is a bad idea. I’m gonna… this is bad. I’m gonna be dirty immediately.’ But yeah, not too bad. I’ve gotten quite good at not leaning on things.”

She Could Get Red on Her White Outfit


Jess Bush as Nurse Chapel

ViacomCBSJess Bush as Nurse Chapel in a scene from ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.’

“Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” is streaming on Paramount+, with new episodes dropping on Thursdays.

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