Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Celia Rose Gooding And Melissa Navia Talk Star Trek’s Newest Crew [Exclusive Interview]

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“Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” has been extremely exciting for fans of “Star Trek,” bringing back beloved characters from the original series and invoking the style, spirit, and story-of-the-week format that made fans fall in love with the franchise back in 1966. (Read our rave review here!) Soon, the adventures of Captain Pike (Anson Mount) and the rest of the courageous crew of the Enterprise will be available to own on home video, with the first season coming to Blu-ray, DVD, and limited-edition Blu-ray Steelbook on March 21, 2023. I’ve been having fun rewatching the episodes on Paramount+, but the physical release will include over 90 minutes of special features, including an exclusive gag reel, so make sure to save your latinum so you can bring one home yourself. 

I had the incredible opportunity to sit down via video comms with Celia Rose Gooding and Melissa Navia, who play Ensign Uhura and Lieutenant Ortegas, respectively, and chat about all things “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.” It’s not easy being part of a brand new “Star Trek” series, even when it is the best-rated first season ever for the franchise, but Gooding and Navia both saw it as a major blessing. After all, how often do you get the chance to stand on the bridge of the freaking Enterprise?

Check out my interview with these fabulous new Starfleet officers below, and make sure to grab yourself a copy of season 1 of “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” this month!

Note: This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

‘Star Trek Is Everywhere’

What was your relationship to “Star Trek” before you joined “Strange New Worlds,” and how has it changed since? 

Gooding: I come from a massive family of Trekkies. My mom grew up watching the original series on TV, not to age her. I don’t know if she’ll ever see this, but sorry, Mom. She was a massive “Trek” fan. And I remember when my sister and I were younger, we were both born in the 2000s, and so we got to watch the Kelvin timeline movies, and that was sort of my first introduction to Uhura as a character, Zoe Saldaña’s Uhura. That was my first introduction to the franchise. And now that we work within the franchise, I think my appreciation for it has only grown. It’s a fantastic marriage of the Trekkie I was, and now the Trekkie that I am.

Navia: Yeah, I’ll say for me, I watched “The Next Generation” when I was younger, and it would be on television, and I’d be doing my homework, and that opening theme song, the credits just never, still to this day, doesn’t get old. I teared up when I saw what was coming up for “Picard” season 3. But yeah, I would say I wasn’t a huge Trekkie. I wasn’t a Trekkie, but that’s the wonderful thing about “Star Trek” is, when I booked this role and people found out I was on “Star Trek,” I learned from people that they knew all sorts of things about “Trek” lore that I’m like, “How do you know that? Do you even know?” “Oh yeah, I know about Captain Pike. And he was the captain before Kirk.” And I’m like, “Who are you?” But you learn all these things about people.

But “The Next Generation” was definitely mine. And then my late partner, he also, he had a whole “Star Trek” background. I remember as I was getting ready to sign contracts for “Strange New Worlds,” he was just on this “Deep Space Nine” binge. So I remember hearing that theme music playing as I’m getting ready to sign the contract, and nothing’s official, I haven’t yet booked anything. And I’m like, this is either going to be the worst moment ever or the best moment ever. So “Star Trek” has just been a part of all of our lives, which is what makes it so really special. One of the many things that makes it special to be a part of this world now. Everyone has a connection to “Star Trek.” You can’t get away from it. Can’t get away from us.

Gooding: That’s what I’ve noticed after shooting season 1 is how many shows, amongst many different genres, just reference “Star Trek.” I remember I was watching an old episode of [RuPaul’s] “Drag Race” and they had a “Beam me up, Scotty” reference, and I was like, “Oh my God, ‘Star Trek’ is everywhere.” And it’s awesome because I feel like I’m doing homework on accident. But yeah, it’s exciting to be a part of a massive franchise.

‘You’re The First Time I’m Seeing Myself On The Bridge’

It’s interesting hearing you talk about how “Star Trek” is everywhere, because one of the things that’s so great about “Star Trek” is that we get to bring so much of our world into it, too, and there’s so much more diversity and representation and all of these things you can’t have in other genre stuff sometimes because people cry about it. I was wondering what it’s like to be part of this next generation of “Star Trek” and also the most diverse cast so far.

Navia: Well, I’ll say, I remember early on producers saying something along the lines of that the bridge should look like what the world looks like. And that resonated so much with me, and that has stayed with me and will always stay with me. Then going to conventions and being the first time we were really able to interact with fans, especially because while we were shooting season 1, it was still in the midst of deep pandemic times. Being at conventions and interacting in person with fans and hearing from them, from Trekkies who have been Trekkies since the beginning, saying, “You’re the first time I’m seeing myself on the bridge.” And I mean, they’re crying, I’m crying. Everyone’s crying.

Gooding: Everyone is crying.

Navia: That’s something that you can’t — that’s something extraordinary, that’s something special, that’s something that we need. But that’s also something I could say that has happened organically. They basically created this show based on a story that was already there and just gave life to it now and is doing it, I think, absolute justice and credit. But yeah, to anybody who’s upset about anything, forget them, life’s too short. But to everybody else who likes these, really what we’re doing is just showing you what the world looks like and what the world is, and then giving life and words to it. And I can say from speaking with fans in person that it just has touched so many people and will continue to do that, and that makes what we do worthwhile.

Gooding: Agreed. Agreed. I would say it’s very exciting to be a part of such a diverse cast and to have an opportunity to show audiences what our ideal “Star Trek” crew looks like. For the folks who are interested in more traditional stuff, they can go watch all of the other “Star Trek” shows, but this is ours. We’re going to try some new stuff here. And if you are open-minded enough and ready to receive what we have to offer, I think a lot of audiences would be better for it.

‘Prepare Thyself For A Lot Of Giggles’

Speaking of trying new things, is there anything you can tell me about the upcoming crossover episode with “Star Trek: Lower Decks”?

Gooding: Prepare thyself for a lot of giggles. We were talking about this before, but I think just having Jack [Quaid] and Tawny [Newsome] and [Jonathan] Frakes at the helm of that episode, it just gave us a lot of comedic freedom that I don’t think we really got to have in those first seasons. So yeah, that episode just feels like a grand exhale after what goes on in the beginning, which I will not speak about, but prepare thyself for a lot of giggles.

Navia: And it’s really representative of, I think, the joy that people always talk about when it comes to what they love about “Star Trek” and the fact, too, in this moment, this is how time is nothing, but I completely forgot that it was Frakes that directed that episode. So we had “The Next Generation,” we had “Lower Decks,” we had “Strange New Worlds,” but it really is just like that joy that we were all playing within this fantastic futuristic, but we’re all playing in this world. And it was just joy and laughs, and also just a beautiful story, which is what I hope we come to be known for.

Saddle Up, Starfleet

Season 1 of “Strange New Worlds” was so great because we got a little bit of everything with the different episodes. There’s an allegory episode, there’s a horror episode, there’s a crazy fantasy episode. Are there any “Star Trek” episode types that you really, really want to see either in season 2 or even further? Is there something you really want to play around in?

Navia: A Western.

Gooding: Yes. Yes.  A Western, and also, I know we already had sort of a shore leave episode in season 1, but I’m going to be selfish and say I want to know what Uhura does on days where she leaves the Enterprise and just goes out and it’s herself and has a great time. That’s something I’m looking forward to.

More Ortegas!

What are you the most excited about people seeing from “Strange New Worlds” season 2?

Navia: I’m excited that they’re going to get to see more of Ortegas, which is, we were able to, like I was saying earlier, it’s very difficult to be able to showcase all the characters in 10 wonderful episodes. And I think they did a fantastic job of that in season 1. But Ortegas, definitely, we got hints of things, and she was a big part of every episode and every storyline, but I think what we got from fans, and that makes me so happy, is they’re like they wanted to see more. So we’re going to, definitely, we’ll see more of that in season 2. You will see more of Ortegas, and I can’t wait for you guys see that.

Gooding: I too am excited for people to see more Ortegas, but I also am really excited for audiences to see more ensemble work. I think in season 1 we see a lot of small groups of the crew doing stuff together, but I’m excited for audiences to see really all of us working together to achieve the same goal at the same time. I’m just excited to continue to showcase how our crew interacts with one another as such a well-oiled machine.

“Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” season 1 will be available to own on home video on March 21, 2023. In support of the physical release, CBS and Paramount Home Entertainment have announced plans for a public “Strange New Worlds” trivia night, which will take place on March 24 at 7pm PST at Scum and Villany Cantina in Hollywood.

Read this next: Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were In Star Trek

The post Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Celia Rose Gooding and Melissa Navia Talk Star Trek’s Newest Crew [Exclusive Interview] appeared first on /Film.

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