Science fiction isn’t just one genre, at least not in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Like The Original Series or The Next Generation, episodes of Strange New Worlds can embody many genres, from action-adventure to mystery, to horror, and yes, comedy. Anson Mount, who plays Christopher Pike — the captain of the Enterprise — says this infinite diversity of storytelling is by design.
“There's a lot more freedom,” Mount tells Inverse.
Ahead of the May 5 launch of Strange New Worlds on Paramount+, Inverse caught up with Mount to talk about stepping back on the Enterprise bridge, why fans should expect various kinds of Trek, and why horses are so great.
“It's so alive,” Mount says about Strange New Worlds. “It’s some of the most fun I've ever had working on a show.”
After starring in Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 in 2019, Mount is reprising his role as Captain Pike, the canonical predecessor to James T. Kirk. Prior to Mount taking on the role, Pike was played by Jeffrey Hunter and Sean Kenney in The Original Series and Bruce Greenwood in two of the reboot films.
Other than the fact that Mount’s Pike already has a lot more screentime than any of the other Pikes, Discovery essentially redefined his version of the character through one specific twist. In The Original Series, we know Pike suffered a huge tragedy, which separated his mind from his body. But, post-Discovery, we know now Pike was aware of his impending fate, all thanks to some Klingon time crystals.
“We had to deal with Pike’s existential crisis.”
Strange New Worlds isn’t shying away from this more contemporary Pike backstory. Scenes from Pike’s Discovery flash-forward are all over one of the trailers.
“There are times when the show is quite serious,” Mount says. But the actor explains this gives the show an opportunity to add a new dimension to the character. As glimpsed in the trailers, we’ll get to see Pike in the outdoors, riding a horse and presumably working through his trauma.
“We had to deal with Pike’s existential crisis,” Mount explains. “And the best way to do that was to see him in his own element. We'd never seen that before. We got a sense of it. But we’ve never really seen Pike outside of the confines of the usual Star Trek architecture. And so, we wanted to make him look and feel as different than the last time we saw him.”
This also means that Pike is back in the saddle, riding a horse. Way back in The Original Series pilot, Pike’s love of horses was something glimpsed only through telepathic illusion, but this time, it’s the real deal. As a lover of the outdoors and horses in specific, Mount was thrilled.
“I think horses are some of the best actors that you could hope to work with because everything that they think or feel is exhibited on their skin. ... There's nothing like acting outside in the real world.”
“Each episode really is its own thing.”
Strange New Worlds won’t only be focused on Pike’s internal conflicts and riding horses. Mount is adamant that the goal of the series is to create as many different kinds of episodes as possible. This type of structure recalls nearly every TV version of Star Trek prior to 2017.
“Each episode really is its own thing,” Mount says. “We’ve been encouraging our directors to come in with very strong visions, not just in terms of what lenses they’re choosing or the technical aspects. But really like, what’s something you’ve never seen happen on the Enterprise that you want to see happen. What genre do you want? We have many different genres this season.”
Mount thinks audiences will be “pleasantly surprised” by the variety Strange New Worlds offers, but he also wants fans to know that this series is also true to the core of Star Trek. “There’s beauty to working in the episodic format,” he says. “But we didn’t have to reinvent Star Trek.”
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds hits Parmaount+ on May 5, 2022.