Strange New Worlds follows the adventures of the U.S.S. Enterprise before Kirk sat in its captain’s chair. And while we’re waiting until season 2 of the series to see Kirk, Anson Mount’s Captain Pike isn’t the only Enterprise commander in the series—and not the only one being shown in an interesting new light.
With the premiere of the first episode of the series this week, news broke that The Boys’ and Arrow’s Adrian Holmes will be playing Admiral Robert April in Strange New Worlds. “He was the Captain of the Enterprise before Pike, so he has the same sort of relationship that Pike does to Kirk in the original series,” co-showrunner and Strange New Worlds executive producer Henry Alonso Myers told io9 about the decision to re-introduce April in the series over Zoom recently. April plays a minor role in Strange New Worlds, but Myers sees it as an important one because of that parallel. “He has that same mythic place as the person who came before.”
Strange New Worlds marks the first time that April will have featured in live-action Star Trek at all, and his first TV appearance in the franchise since he made his debut in the 1974 Star Trek: The Animated Series episode “The Counter-Clock Incident.” There, the character was voiced by Trek legend James Doohan, and was a presented as a white man, unlike the man of color we meet in Strange New Worlds. Times have changed—and some circles have taken to using a concern of continuity and concern to echo racist dogwhistles at Holmes’ casting.
“You know, as for the ‘controversy,’ I don’t think it’s controversial,” Myers said at some of the complains around Holmes’ casting. “I put this under the line of, you know, I think if [Gene] Roddenberry were doing the show today, these are choices that he would make. It’s tricky when you are working with a legacy property like Star Trek, because it’s... I think of it like a collective dream. I grew up watching the original series, Next Gen, Deep Space Nine, and also the movies—I have a particular the idea of Star Trek that kind of came from that. That’s in my memory. [The series has] been around for over half a century: everyone has their own personalized memory of these things, so I think that they bring that to it. I value and respect that.”
“But I also think that... we didn’t want a world that looked like the television of the 1960s. We wanted it to look like the television of now, the world of now. I don’t even think it’s a controversial decision [to have cast Holmes]. We’re doing our version of the character, it doesn’t take away from that version for other people. I hope, in fact, it adds to it. And that’s kind of the fun of this,” Myers concluded.
Stay tuned for more later this week on io9 from Henry Alonso Myers—Star Trek: Strange New Worlds premieres on Paramount+ this Thursday, May 5.
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