'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' Will Have a Season 2 "On Steroids"

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Photo credit: Mike Kim
Photo credit: Mike Kim

Sci-fi lovers, get excited: a new season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is on its way. Season One scored a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, becoming a hit with fans and critics alike. Now that it's ended, we're already looking ahead to where Season Two might go—so buckle up for Season One finale spoilers—and lucky for us, the cast and crew are talking.

This prequel to Star Trek: The Original Series follows Captain Christopher Pike during his tenure at the helm of the iconic U.S.S. Enterprise, with Anson Mount taking on the role for the second time (Mount also played Pike in Star Trek: Discovery). The series acts as a prequel to The Original Series in that it takes place seven years before Kirk and Spock first meet. It’s also a sequel to Star Trek: Discovery, with some of the same characters joining new colleagues as they embark on another mission. Now, can we expect similar sci-fi thrills in Season Two? Read on for everything we know about what’s next for Strange New Worlds.

When Will Season Two of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Premiere?

Season Two has completed production and is set to be released in 2023. The jury is still out on just when the new episodes will land next year, but we'll keep this space updated as that news is revealed.

What Could Happen In Season Two?

The Strange New Worlds team is already hyping up Season Two. Co-showrunner Akiva Goldsman promises that it will be "bigger and better" than Season One, while his fellow co-showrunner Henry Alonso Meyers describes it as "Season One on steroids." Mount teases that Season Two will take "bigger swings" and explore even more genres than Season One did. "When you have a new story every week or a new planet every week, you can also change the mode and the tone," he told Collider. "We’ve been really pushing the boundaries with that in the second season, and seeing how many different kinds of genres and things we can get away with, and being able to invite many different kinds of directors with many different kinds of styles. It’s just been a joy." Remember Season One's unforgettable fantasy episode? According to Chong, "that will be topped" in this genre-hopping Season Two.

But what can viewers expect for their favorite characters? We can look to Star Treks past for clues. Given that many of the characters go on to appear elsewhere in Star Trek canon, it seems safe to guess that those characters will return for Season Two, including Pike, Spock (Ethan Peck), Number One (Rebecca Romijn), Cadet Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding), Nurse Chapel (Jess Bush), and Dr. M’Benga (Babs Olusanmokun). The future looks dark for Number One, who in the final cliffhanger of Season One was arrested for concealing her genetic modifications from Starfleet. No doubt Season Two will involve Pike & co.'s quest to free Number One; her trial could also have major implications for the future of genetic engineering in Starfleet.

Speaking exclusively with Esquire, Mount teased how Pike will be different in Season Two, now that he's been visited by an alternate older version of himself and reached some degree of acceptance about his fate. "I would say he’s more resolute after the finale of Season One," Mount said. "He tried out the idea of having his cake and eating it too. It didn't work, and strangely, when he realizes there’s no honorable way out, that’s a relief. The older Pike made it very clear: you still have a choice. But to somebody like Pike, it isn’t a choice. So this is a choice that almost makes itself, and it is a tremendous relief. He doesn't have to worry about it anymore. His job now is to make every day count as much as possible. There's a lot of freedom in that."

As for everyone's favorite Vulcan science officer, if Season One's body swap episode was one of your favorites, buckle up for more. "Spock gets to really start to explore his human side and it leads to a lot of funny hijinks," Peck told TV Insider." So I’m really excited about bringing that comedic element to Spock." He went on to explain all roads lead to the original Spock we know and love: "You’ll see Spock explore his human side more, in a way that will ultimately affect his more immediate relationships in a fun and interesting way… We’ll see that carry on and it’s definitely a part of his evolution to becoming who he is. He needs to know himself more deeply as a human in order to become the Spock that Leonard Nimoy portrays in The Original Series."

Olusanmokun also confirmed his future with the show, saying that Season Two will explore “a darker side” of his character, including “his contentious relationship with the Klingons.” Newcomers like Erica Ortegas and La'an Noonien Singh (Christina Chong) have a less certain fate than those who are canon-guaranteed, but both have confirmed their return. La'an did take a leave of absence from Starfleet near the end of Season One, casting her future with the series into jeopardy, but now, on-set photos reveal that she'll be back for Season Two. Chong was spotted filming Season Two in Toronto with Paul Wesley's James T. Kirk (more on that below); she also confirmed that La'an will reunite with Captain Pike, at some point. Fans of everyone's favorite security chief can breathe a sigh of relief.

Navia confirmed the return of Ortegas, speaking to CinemaBlend about what lies ahead for her character. "In Season Two, we’re going to see more about her background, and we’re going to see more about just how important flying the ship is," she said. "I know fans want to see more, and I’m just like, ‘Just have a little bit of patience. It’s coming!’" She also touched on what's next for the collegial bond between Pike and Ortegas, whose humorous rapport has touched fans. "I think we’re going to see more backstory with Ortegas and Pike," Navia said. "What we see [now] though, is essentially a Captain that trusts his helmsman, and vice versa... One thing that fans have pointed out was that Pike frequently refers to her as Erica. I don’t think Anson or I ever thought anything too much about it, but I love that he does because you see that there is this friendship there that is not just official, but it doesn’t undermine the fact that they are professionals and that they trust each other in life or death situations. So yeah, you’re gonna see more of that in Season 2."

We're also going to see more of the Enterprise. Season Two will take us inside new parts of the ship, including the port galley, a science lab, the nacelle room, and the shuttle bay. The port galley was already revealed on The Ready Room, Wil Wheaton's Star Trek after-show.

Photo credit: The Ready Room
Photo credit: The Ready Room

What About the Villains?

About those pesky Klingons: Season Two is shaping up to be downright golden for Star Trek baddies. Costume designer Bernadette Croft teased “a cool redesign for one alien species,” leading Inverse to speculate that it may be Klingons getting the glow-up, given Pike and M’Benga’s history with the famously contentious warmongers. Meanwhile, executive producer Henry Alonso Myers all but confirmed the return of Season One standout Captain Angel (Jesse James Keitel), an intergalactic pirate who could become a recurring villain. “That was the idea; create a charismatic villain who steals the show and whom we want to see again and again,” he told Inverse. “We would love to see more of Angel, absolutely.”

Along with Angel comes another villain: Sybok, Angel’s lover and Spock’s estranged half-brother, whose unexpected comeback in Strange New Worlds made major waves with Star Trek fans. Viewers saw only the back of Sybok’s head, but Myers confirms we haven’t seen the last of him. “When and if we see Sybok again, we will see his face, absolutely,” he promised. Though some fans may have groaned at Sybok’s shocking return, given that the character originates from the long-derided Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, no doubt Myers and his fellow producers brought Sybok back for more than just a cameo. And hey, if Sybok is back, why not go for broke and bring in other legendary Trek villains? It wouldn't be too out of left field for iconic baddie Khan to appear, given that he's a relative of La'an. But Goldsman isn't letting anything slip; when asked about the possibility of a Khan cameo, he said, "The Paramount rep on the line has an electric staple in my tongue, and I give a wrong word—well, that’s bad for me."

And why stop at classic Trek when the show can think bigger? Ever since exiting Star Trek: Discovery in dramatic fashion in 2018, fans have been clamoring for the return of Jason Isaacs' Prime Lorca—and now, Isaacs isn't ruling out an appearance on Strange New Worlds. Speaking with TheList, Isaacs revealed that he's been talking with Goldsman about Prime Lorca. "I don’t want to come back just because he’s a fan favorite and do some version that isn’t anywhere near as good," he said. "Where and if there’s space for a Prime Lorca arc, I’m all up for it. I don’t want to come back just to squeeze into that sausage skintight suit."

Ultimately, if there’s one thing we can expect from Season Two, it’s more of what Season One gave viewers: classic Star Trek goodness, wrapped up in a modern package. Take it from Navia:

I think I would even go so far as to say it’s even better than 1, and Season 1 we are really happy with. Season 2, we just keep getting these scripts that are just knocking it out of the park. It incorporates Trek, and it incorporates history, it incorporates actual science and technology. And then it interweaves it in a way that makes you want to be on the Enterprise. It makes you really fall in love with this world and be a part of it. Season 2 we’re gonna go to places that you just didn’t expect, couldn’t expect, but you’re gonna be really happy that we did. People are already talking about Season 3 and like my head is just trying to wrap its head around Season 2, we’re like barreling toward the end. We have some of the biggest scenes we’ve filmed yet, especially for me, to come still. So, very exciting.

What's Next for Legacy Characters?

Paul Wesley has been cast as James T. Kirk, making him the third actor to play the role (following in the footsteps of William Shatner and Chris Pine). Wesley calls his Kirk "a whole new look," telling Gizmodo, “It’s an interpretation that’s different. Doing an imitation of either Kirks would be an insult... What is most important is to pay respect to the integrity of who Kirk is—his wants, his needs, his deep desires, his morality, his spontaneity, his instinct.”

This isn't the last we've seen of Kirk, but co-showrunner Henry Alonso Myers cautions that the Kirk of the Season One finale (which takes place seven years into an alternate universe future) isn't the Kirk yet to come. “Yes, we’ll see more Kirk in Season Two, but he’s not this 2266 Kirk,” Myers told Inverse. “We will be meeting some new legacy characters next season. I feel like I gotta keep it a little bit of a secret right now.” Sharp-eared fans who heard a familiar Scottish brogue in a voiceover cameo during the Season One finale may hope that those legacy characters include Chief Engineer Scotty—and Myers isn't ruling it out, but cautions that it may be awhile before Scotty beams up. "“We will meet a new chief engineer— it's not going to be Scotty," he told Syfy. "There will be a new character who I'm excited for you to meet, but I'm not going to tell you who it is. It's going to be a very different person, a completely different type of engineer.”

Though Pike and Kirk made their first collision in the Season One finale, no doubt it's just the first we'll see of their encounters as colleagues and friends. "We think the defining quality of Kirk is machismo or bravado," Mount told Esquire. "The defining characteristic for Picard, perhaps, is intellect. I would like that defining quality for Pike to be the heart. That’s the best I can put it. Hopefully, Pike can give Kirk just enough of that heart for Kirk to avoid making the kinds of mistakes that he makes in this episode."

Wesley, for his part, knows that Kirk has some growing to do—and wants to reassure fans who fear that Kirk will take over the show. "As we get to know Kirk in Season Two, it's a younger Kirk, it's pre-Enterprise Captain Kirk... at the end of the day, it's a different Kirk," Wesley told Collider. "It's a different Kirk than we've seen. I think that was really the only way to do it, frankly. There's no other way. Season Two, we get to explore a little bit more of Kirk. The Season One finale is plot-driven; it's Pike's episode. I mean, it's Pike's show, let's be honest... but in Season Two, we get to have a little bit more exploration."

And what of Kirk's legendary friendship with another Starfleet officer, Spock? Fans of The Original Series know that this bromance will be the defining relationship of each officer's life. What's to come in Season Two seems promising, because the sparks are already flying. "It’s obviously such an iconic relationship and just playing the anticipation of that without spoiling it, I think you play that out as long as possible because they have to forge that over time," Wesley told EW. Peck teased, "We dabble in it in the Season One finale. But we’ll get a little deeper with it in Season Two. And there are some really great moments I was very excited to be a part of."

What Did Strange New Worlds Announce at Comic-Con?

Trekkies, rejoice: Star Trek held a coveted spot at San Diego Comic-Con this year. Worried that the panel wasn't going to deliver on the Strange New Worlds Season Two goods? Don't. We know better by now. At the panel, we learned that Season Two of Strange New Worlds will have a crossover episode with Star Trek: Lower Decks, the beloved animated series. The Next Generation alum J0nathan Frakes will direct the episode, which will see Lower Decks' animated protagonists appear in live-action roles. Lower Decks stars Tawny Newsome and Jack Quaid (who play Ensign Beckett Mariner and Ensign Brad Boimler) crashed the Strange New Worlds panel to make the announcement. ""We're going to stress them out," Newsome exclaimed of the Enterprise crew. "We'll see you guys in outer space." The crossover won't do away with animation entirely, but just how it's going to split between animation and live action is still a mystery. "It’s predominantly live-action for everyone involved, but there are animated elements at different points," Mount told EW. "I thought it was going to be Roger Rabbit with animated characters following us around, but once they explained it to me saying, 'No, no no,' I was like, 'Oh, that’s actually kind of brilliant.'" Whatever happens, it's bound to be a bundle of laughs; Christina Chong, who plays La'an Noonien-Singh, told TV Insider, "Being a part of that episode was like watching stand-up comedy for free every day."

Fans of Lower Decks may be wondering: just how is this going to work, given that Lower Decks takes place nearly 120 years beyond the action of Strange New Worlds? With Mariner and Boimler set to beam aboard Captain Pike's Enterprise, we're guessing that some time travel tomfoolery may be in order. Or could it be a classic Trek holodeck episode, with the ensigns using virtual reality technology to simulate the Enterprise? Whatever happens, we can't wait to see what goes down when these two fanboys meet their heroes, Kirk and Spock.

Speaking of Kirk and Spock—the panel revealed key clues about what's next for them in Season Two. Paul Wesley, who plays Kirk, was quick to distinguish that the Kirk we saw in the Season One finale isn't the Kirk we should expect in Season Two. "I’m excited for people to see this younger version of Kirk," he said. "There’s more levity, and it’s exciting to see that. He's growing into the character we know, not an alternate reality captain like we saw in Season One." Meanwhile, Ethan Peck, who plays Spock, hinted that his character's turbulent relationship to his heritage is still in flux, as is his turbulent love life. "We’ll see Spock wrestle with his human side a little more," Peck explained. "He will keep exploring his emotions and that will lead to some impact in his relationships."

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