Anson Mount gives a steely gaze as Captain Christopher Pike in Star Trek

Before James T. Kirk ever set foot on the bridge of the USS Enterprise, it was captained by Christopher Pike, and now "Star Trek" fans will finally get to explore the galaxy alongside this oft-forgotten Starfleet hero in "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds." Although Pike was first introduced in the unaired pilot of "Star Trek: The Original Series" back in 1965, played by Jeffrey Hunter, he was soon replaced by William Shatner, who took the role of Kirk when NBC rejected Hunter’s episode as "too cerebral" according to Shatner’s memoir, "Up Till Now."

Nearly six decades and many "Trek" captains later, Paramount+ is busy building its stable of "Star Trek" shows as the fledgling streaming service looks to eke out a foothold in a landscape already dominated by Netflix, Hulu, and other household names. The "Star Trek" brand is perhaps the most iconic of all the IP available to Paramount, and "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" joins the ranks alongside "Star Trek: Discovery," "Picard," and more.

"Strange New Worlds" will follow the exploits of Captain Pike in a more contained episodic format, going against the grain of serialized modern television in a return to the formula that made the original "Star Trek" so accessible to viewers over so many decades. He will be joined by characters both new and familiar, and the network has been teasing fans with a steady drip of details. So here’s everything we know so far about the release date, cast, and more as the Enterprise prepares once more to boldly go where no one has gone before.

What is the release date for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds?

Capt. Pike gives a steely gaze

"Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" has been in development for a few years. After the character and his iconic starship appeared in Season 2 of "Star Trek: Discovery," fans demanded a full series. Talk of a brand-new show focusing on Captain Pike has been bandied about by Alex Kurtzman, the current head of all things "Star Trek" at CBS, since 2020, when he revealed that he and "Picard" showrunner Akiva Goldsman were "tossing ideas back and forth" (via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). In May 2020, CBS officially announced that a Pike spinoff was in the works, with Kurtzman overseeing the project and Goldsman on board as a writer (via the Hollywood Reporter). But it wasn’t until the release of a promotional poster for "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" that we finally got an official release date.

"Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" will premiere May 5, 2022, exclusively on Paramount+, CBS Viacom’s digital streaming service, which has become the home to the current era "Star Trek" shows.

Who will appear in the cast of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds?

Spock and Number One climbing ladder

When Captain Pike arrived in "Star Trek: Discovery," he was played by Anson Mount, and the same will be true of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds." Alongside Mount will be a gallery of familiar characters played by a range of talent, as well as some newcomers who may be hiding some fascinating secrets.

Ethan Peck returns once more as Spock, who is still a science officer yet to receive a promotion to Number One. The current first officer of Pike’s enterprise is Una Chin-Riley, played once more by Rebecca Romijn. Another character beloved to fans of "The Original Series" is Nyota Uhura, played by Celia Rose Gooding. Like Spock, she’s not yet a commanding officer, and the casting reveal for "Strange New Worlds" identifies her as a cadet. The Enterprise’s Nurse Chapel will be another welcome return from the "Star Trek" of the ’60s, portrayed this time by Jess Bush. Though he only appeared in two episodes of the original show, medical officer Dr. M’Benga is back on board the Enterprise and will be played by Babs Olusanmokun.

Brand new characters abound as well. Starfleet officer Hemmer is an Aenar, a species of blind alien. The character will be played by Bruce Horak, a visually impaired actor (via Trekmovie). Lieutenant Erica Ortegas joins as another newcomer and will be played by Melissa Navia. But perhaps the most fascinating addition to the show for diehard Trekkies is Christina Chong’s character, La’an Noonien-Singh. That surname will be familiar to fans who will no doubt recall Captain Kirk’s most bitter nemesis, Khan Noonien-Singh. Writer Akiva Goldsman confirmed she’s related to him, but is she hiding a dark secret? It’s sure to be one of the most intriguing mysteries "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" will explore.

Is there a trailer for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds?

The first teaser trailer for "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" gives us a glimpse at the far-future universe of the Paramount+ Original. We see a gliding shot of forested, snowy mountains with a cabin nestled amid the trees, followed by an "Original Series"-style communicator lying on a wood bureau next to a rotary telephone, signaling the connection to the time period that series was first released in 1966. A gray-haired, bearded Chris Pike sits inside, shot from a low angle, and we hear a voiceover saying, "Chris, I need you back, Captain."

Next is an absolutely awesome-looking shot of Pike riding a horse across the snowy mountain terrain before a shuttle whips past him to land on the far side of the canyon. Then we see a montage of what can only be described as, well, strange new worlds. Some look like futuristic cities, others like barren, unexplored landscapes. The trailer ends with a shot of the original Enterprise moving at warp speed through the cosmos and a proud-looking Pike in his command uniform gazing up into the stars from its window.

If this brief glimpse into "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" tells us anything, it’s that this show will be a return to the formula of "The Original Series," where each episode is a new adventure with new discoveries and challenges for Pike and his crew as they seek out new life and new civilizations. How far they will boldly go remains to be seen.

A second trailer for Strange New Worlds

Ortegas looks at the viewscreen

Just a few weeks after a 90-second teaser trailer was released, Paramount+ put out a full two-minute trailer that gave audiences a much deeper look at the show. It opens with Captain Pike beaming into a room full of squabbling alien delegates before cutting to a series of majestic exterior shots of the starship Enterprise in space, and its crew within, as the captain describes their mission: "To chart the stars. To push the boundaries of what is known and what is possible."

We then hear La’An stating that she believes this crew "can do anything." Interspersed are images of a team on a comet where Uhura is in awe of her surroundings, dramatic shots aboard the ship, and perhaps most excitingly, a sequence with Spock battling another person in a fight to the death on Vulcan. More shots of Pike meeting new aliens and adventure on and off the ship flash across the screen as the captain says his team is the best of Starfleet. We see everything from a phaser firefight on the Enterprise bridge to characters having heart-to-heart conversations aboard the ship, in classic "Trek" fashion.

We see a little romance too, with Pike cozying up to a woman in bed, and Spock laying his lips on a fellow Vulcan woman. It all gives us the sense that the show will be a rip-roaring adventure as well as a series with plenty of emotional drama.

Stories we can expect

Spock in front of a screen

While few plot specifics have been released and the trailers are appropriately vague, producers have mentioned a few important aspects of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" that give us an idea of what we can expect from the series. The biggest clue we’ve been given so far is that the series will see a return to traditional "story of the week" episodes.

"I really wanted to make a show that would have appealed to the 12-year old me that went to that Star Trek convention in 1974," said executive producer and first episode director Akiva Goldsman. "We are returning fundamentally to episodic storytelling. What is unique about ["Strange New Worlds"] … is that it is fully episodic." That means there won’t be single season-long story like "Star Trek: Discovery" or "Star Trek: Picard," but stories that begin and end in a single episode.

But that doesn’t mean that each episode will see a hard reset, or won’t have long-lasting effects. "Character arcs are still serialized," said Golgsman. "Our characters will carry with them what they suffer from, or what they learned, from episode to episode. But the stories are episodic." Meanwhile, star Rebecca Romijn teased stories we might see in the series’ first season, saying "It’s a little bit lighter. We are visiting planets. We are visiting colonies, and we are so proud of our work so far."

For "Trek" fans who have wanted to see something more like "The Original Series" or "The Next Generation," this should come as music to their ears.

The ensemble we can expect

La'An looks at Chapel

"Star Trek: The Original Series" was known for its triumvirate of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, and while there were plenty of other characters established in the series, most stories focused on that trio. Later, ’90s spinoffs like "The Next Generation," "Voyager," and particularly "Deep Space Nine" embraced an ensemble cast, with stories often centered around secondary characters or even recurring guest stars. According to producer Akiva Goldsman, "Strange New Worlds" will be more than just episodic, but also a return to stories that let us get to know everyone in the show’s large cast.

"This ‘Star Trek’ really is an ensemble piece," Goldsman said. "But what we do, which is a little different than the other ensemble pieces that are currently in play, is we don’t actually try to tell everybody’s story every week. We sort of move our focus around a bit." Suggesting that we may be treated to stories about Uhura, Ortegas, or Hemmer, Goldsman said the spotlight will be taken off of the trio of Pike, Number One, and Spock from time to time. "You might easily look at an episode and say, ‘Oh, that was really Pike episode’ or ‘That was really a M’Benga episode.’"

If what we’re hearing is true, we may see some new fan favorites emerge from "Strange New Worlds" beyond the top-billed senior officers.

Strange New Worlds… and old ones too

Spock kisses T'Pring

With the series returning to classic episodic stories of old, it also means that "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" will have the opportunity to live up to its name. "We’re going back to the big idea of the week, the new planet of the week," said actor Anson Mount, who plays Captain Pike. "I think that in itself is going to be exciting for old school fans, as well as new ones." We’ll also meet plenty of new characters and new alien races, as evidenced by early trailers. But that doesn’t mean we won’t see the return of classic heroes, villains, and characters that Trek fans know and love.

In addition to series regulars pulled from past "Trek" adventures, footage screened so far has shown a return to Spock’s planet Vulcan. It’s also shown what appears to be the return of T’Pring, Spock’s former love. First introduced in the classic "TOS" episode "Amok Time" (the story where Kirk and Spock fought, ostensibly to the death) they have been bonded since childhood, and it looks like "Strange New Worlds" may explore their relationship a little more. So while it’s clear that the series is looking to forge its own path with new adventures, make no mistake: it hasn’t forgotten about the franchise’s wealth of backstory and history either, and won’t be afraid to revisit at least some of it.

Keep an eye out for Easter eggs

Una smiles

Ever since the first original series of "Star Trek," the franchise has been known for its self-referential nature, calling back to events and characters from earlier episodes and movies. With nearly 60 years of stories, shows like "Star Trek: Picard" and "Lower Decks" are packed with Easter eggs, nods to old adventures, and inside jokes for longtime fans to catch. With "Strange New Worlds" set aboard the original USS Enterprise captained by Christopher Pike and boasting a cast that includes several other classic characters, can we expect more Easter eggs and references? You better believe it.

Rebecca Romijn, who plays Una Chin-Riley — Captain Pike’s first officer often referred to as simply "Number One" — says fans can expect plenty of callbacks. Romijn, a diehard Trek fan herself, was interviewed by us right here at Looper and revealed some juicy details about what to expect from the new series that has spun off from adventures on "Star Trek: Discovery." In addition to describing a little bit about what may happen in the show, she said there will be "so many" Easter eggs for fans to look out for. From the look and feel of the series we’ve seen so far, it’s clear the people behind it have as much love for "Trek" as we do, and will take care to load the background with elements that longtime fans can have fun with.

Already renewed for Season 2

Hemmer tilts his head

"Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" may take place on the original classic starship Enterprise nearly a decade before the era of Captain Kirk, but the production of the series is far from the low-budget "Original Series," and will of course utilize the most up-to-date visual effects and state-of-the-art alien makeup. It was confirmed by producers in 2019 that the series would use the same AR wall technology popularized by "The Mandalorian" that is also being used by sister series "Star Trek: Discovery" to portray not just alien environments, but complex interiors as well.

During a "Star Trek" convention appearance, "Strange New Worlds" producer Henry Alonso Myers confirmed that the Enterprise’s new engineering set used the AR wall to create a bigger and more expansive version of the original set seen in 1966. In addition, the series updated the sets and the costumes from its first appearance on "Discovery" Season 2, with tweaks and improvements made now that Pike, Spock, and the Enterprise are taking a starring role.

Actor Anson Mount has commented on the rigorous Covid-19 protocols followed on the set, and despite a few hiccups, the production seems to have gone relatively smoothly, with none of the behind-the-scenes drama that plagued early seasons of "Discovery." It was confirmed in early 2022 that the first season had completed filming … with a second season already underway. Some of the cast was surprised by the early renewal, with Mount commenting that he had presumed the series might only get a single season.

Character vignettes

Chapel squints

After a 90-second teaser Paramount went all in on their promotion for the new series in the lead-up to the release of an all-new full length trailer. Beginning on March 29, the official Twitter account @StarTrekOnPPlus began releasing daily mini-trailers — vignettes focusing on individual characters. Beginning with Cadet Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding), they released brief 30-second clips for the entire main cast: La’An Noonien Singh (Christina Chong), Lt. Ortegas (Melissa Navia), Chief Engineer Hemmer (Bruce Horak), Dr. M’Benga (Babs Olusanmokun), Nurse Chapel (Jess Bush), Lt. Spock (Ethan Peck), Number One (Rebecca Romijn), and Captain Pike (Anson Mount).

The vignettes weren’t the first time we’d learned of the cast, but they gave fans a good look at each of them, reaffirming some of what we already knew. We’ll see the return of classic characters Nurse Chapel and Dr. M’Benga alongside Pike, Number One, and Spock, and La’An’s surname points to a connection with the greatest villain in "Star Trek" history, Kahn Noonien Singh. We get a good look at alien engineer Hemmer for the first time, confirming that he is not just an Andorian, but the sub-species Aenar, first seen on "Star Trek: Enterprise."

The vignettes were a welcome surprise, and gave us a good feel for the tone of the series and its characters. From what we’ve seen so far, there should be no doubt that "Strange New Worlds" will embrace drama, adventure, exploration, and a little bit of fun. They also show how surprisingly faithful the series is going to be to the original "Star Trek."