'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds': Anson Mount, Rebecca Romijn and Ethan Peck on Honoring the Past (Exclusive)

The latest Paramount+ series drops Thursday.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is taking a page out of classic Star Trek.

The latest series in Paramount+'s Star Trek universe follows Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) as he leads the USS Enterprise in the years before Captain Kirk (to be played by Paul Wesley in season 2), and also returns Number One (Rebecca Romijn) and Science Officer Spock (Ethan Peck) as they explore new worlds around the galaxy. The 10-episode drama also introduces Jess Bush as Nurse Christine Chapel, Christina Chong as La'an Noonien-Singh, Celia Rose Gooding as Cadet Nyota Uhura, Melissa Navia as Lt. Erica Ortegas and Babs Olusanmokun as Dr. M'Benga.

"We're so excited to finally introduce it. It's like the baby we've been waiting to birth this whole time... [the] longest pregnancy," Romijn, who plays Pike's right-hand woman, told ET's Lauren Zima. And it's been a long time coming. Paramount+ announced the spinoff almost two years to the day, following their successful, well-received arc on the second season of Star Trek: Discovery. Romijn promised that Strange New Worlds will harken back to the signature Trek shows of yore. 

"Anybody who loved the original series, which was how I was introduced to Star Trek at the age of eight by my mom, we're trying to embrace the original tone of the original series, which were standalone episodes, not serialized like the other Star Trek shows. Which gives us an opportunity in each episode to explore a strange new world," she explained. "Star Trek has always been an incredible platform for storytelling with important messaging embedded. And so, while the show is great and the performances are great and the stories are all incredible, there's always going to be a takeaway. I hope, like the original series, it sparks conversation."

"It would spark conversations about acceptance, about people from different backgrounds working together side by side, about curiosity and exploration," Romijn continued. "And by the way, it's no accident that mothers introduce their kids to Star Trek. As the only mom in the cast, you look at your child and all you see is curiosity and a need for exploration. You want to foster your child thinking outside the box and being curious. I hope that it does this for a new generation of Star Trek fans."

Mount agreed with Romijn, adding that the new series should be "a lot of fun" for viewers to experience on a weekly basis.

"Planet of the week, big idea of the week kind of thing," he added. "Every Sunday night at six o'clock, as I turned on channel 13, I was riveted from the beginning, because you never knew where the Enterprise was even going to start in the universe. And we have worked very hard to make sure that our show has that same sense of excitement built into it."

Marni Grossman/Paramount+

For Peck, who returns as Spock, he acknowledged the significance of playing an iconic character that has become transcendent.

"We really are custodians of these characters that have become iconic over time. And I was called to grow in a very profound way," the actor said. "When I was cast in the role, I was thrilled but also really scared. Really scared to squander it. This is a character that's not just important to Star Trek fans, but to TV history in a lot of ways. And that's something that's not lost on me. So I had to develop and go on a journey personally that I'm still on as Ethan. I'm on a journey as an actor to become better and more detailed and more nuanced in my work, so that I can make this character come to life even further. We have the amazing opportunity on this show to see parts of Spock that we've never seen before. There's space to explore his inner life and his inner world, his romantic side, his inner conflicts, his doubts. And these are really gifts for me as an actor to experience, portray and explore."

And Mount noted that Strange New Worlds reintroduces familiar Trek characters to a new generation and also affords an opportunity to explore their stories on a deeper level.

"I hope that that's a driving force behind our show," he said, "and I hope to keep going and keep discovering new legacy characters. We have a lot of them in the bank. This year, obviously, the big ones are Uhura, Nurse Chapel, M'Benga, and we've been having a lot of fun figuring out how to come up with the first act of characters whose second act has been established."

As for what viewers can expect with the central trio -- Pike, Number One and Spock -- the actors tease there is much more to their characters than what's been known in Star Trek lore. For one thing, the unique dynamic and history between Pike and Number One is something Mount and Romijn hope to delve into as the series progresses.

"There is a backstory, but we don't know what it is yet," Romijn admitted. "I've asked the writers if they're going to let us know what the backstory was. They say, 'Yes. At some point there will be.' But, we don't know it specifically. Anson and I, when we're working on our scenes, we sort of think that we are probably maybe exes from a long time ago who can just read each other. We know we're really tight. We've got shorthand and we can see straight through each other. So that's what we play off of."

"In television, anything can happen, but I think that relationship is more platonic," Mount said, offering his take. "We figured out the other day, we're pretty sure they were at the Starfleet Academy together around the same year, knew each other since they were students. It's more like that best friend of the opposite sex that you have that can tell you things that members of your own sex can't tell you. But you know, sense of duty comes before marriage in Star Trek."

Plus, with the presence of Nurse Chapel on Strange New Worlds, the possibility of a brewing romance with Spock could potentially be in the cards. (In Star Trek: The Original Series, Nurse Chapel expresses feelings for the Science Officer.)

"We know that's in the future. And maybe we get to explore some of it," Peck only teased, adding that he hopes viewers go on "an amazing" ride with the show.

"Not only is Spock, I think, more emotional as he strives to understand his human side and experiment with his human qualities and behaviors, but all of the characters are so richly written," he praised. "Their past experiences make them really complex and alluring and charming and fascinating. At least to me, and in my experience of being on set, the cast we have is just really extraordinary. I feel like I'm a part of something really special. And I hope that that's communicated in our final product."

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds premieres Thursday, May 5 on Paramount+.

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