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Biggest Unanswered Questions In Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1

Since the first appearance of Anson Mount as Captain Pike, Ethan Peck as Mr. Spock, and Rebecca Romijn as Number One on "Star Trek: Discovery," "Trek" fans everywhere have been anxiously awaiting a new spin-off series set on the original starship Enterprise in the era before Captain Kirk took its helm. That show, "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds," finally hit our screens in 2022, and to say it didn't disappoint would be an understatement. Met with almost universal critical acclaim, the series gave us everything we ever wanted. It won over even the most cynical of Trekkies with its wide-eyed optimism, its episodic adventures, and an awe-inspiring look at the final frontier freshly redesigned for a 21st century audience.

Expanding on characters who were already well known to those versed in "Star Trek" lore, the first season answered a number of unresolved questions that fans have been asking for decades. But with every new episode and each new twist and turn came even more questions for us to ponder. Every long-standing issue that was resolved seemed to give way to two more. But worry not, because with its second season already filmed (according to a report from TrekMovie.com), we may not have to wait too long to see these questions get answered.

But what are these questions, and why are they so important? That's what we're here to discuss. Widen your scanning field, launch a class 2 probe, and set a course for the unanswered questions left behind from Season 1 of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds."

What's going to happen to Number One?

Heading into the premiere of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds," one of the most intriguing cast members was Rebecca Romijn as Number One, Captain Pike's tough-as-nails first officer. Not just because we'd glimpsed her briefly in "Star Trek: Discovery," but because the character holds a near-legendary status in "Star Trek" history. Previously seen just once (in the "Star Trek: The Original Series" episode "The Menagerie," which used clips from the unaired original pilot episode), fans have always been fascinated by the character without ever knowing anything about her.

While "Strange New Worlds" does answer quite a bit about the character — finally providing her real name, Una Chin-Riley, and giving us her backstory as a genetically modified Illyrian — her arc also provides us with the season's major cliffhanger. In the episode "Ghosts of Illyria" it's said that because of the Federation's ban on genetic tampering, those like Number One are barred from serving in Starfleet. As such, her Illyrian heritage has been kept a closely guarded secret. When Captain Pike learns her true nature, he vows to never reveal it, because she is the finest first officer in the fleet. Yet, somehow, the information gets out. 

In the season finale, after Pike returns from a trip through time, his colleague and lover Captain Batel beams aboard the Enterprise with a security detail and arrests Number One for the crime of being an Illyrian. We're curious about what will happen now, and who leaked the information to Starfleet. The fact that franchise canon has never mentioned her could suggest that she spends the rest of her days in prison. Either way, it would seem that Number One's fate will be a major story heading into Season 2.

Will La'An be back?

Hard-nosed Enterprise security chief La'An Noonien-Singh was a curious addition to the series on its announcement. Her last name foretold a frightening lineage, with confirmation in "Ghosts of Illyria" that one of her ancestors is Ricardo Montalbán's villainous Khan. But it was La'An's tragic backstory that added pathos to the series. As revealed in Season 1, La'An was rescued as a child by Number One from a Gorn breeding planet after the death of her entire family, a devastating loss that continued to haunt her.

La'An was able to find some amount of healing in the episode "Memento Mori." After a confrontation with the bloodthirsty alien race, she used her resurfaced memories to help defeat a swarm of attacking Gorn ships. And in "All Those Who Wander" she got a small measure of revenge, killing three Gorn hatchlings while rescuing a young girl in the process. Perhaps reminded of her own ordeal, La'An eventually took a leave of absence to help the child locate her lost family, and the big question is whether she'll return.

What we do know is that actor Christina Chong will be back for Season 2. But will we follow her quest to reunite the girl with her family, or perhaps her return to a different Starfleet ship? Chong has revealed that she has filmed scenes with James T. Kirk actor Paul Wesley ("I can't speak on story, but I can say that Paul Wesley is very funny, and I love working with him," she told Cinema Blend), which could suggest she eventually finds a home on the U.S.S. Farragut.

Who will be the new Chief Engineer?

The cast of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" Season 1 was a strong mix of old favorites — like Captain Pike, Mr. Spock, Uhura, Nurse Chapel, and Dr. M'Benga — and exciting new characters that included security chief La'An, ops officer Ortegas, and chief engineer Lt. Hemmer. The series' most distinct alien officer and biggest breakout character, Hemmer was an Aenar — an offshoot of the Andorians — who possessed a form of precognition and telepathy. At the outset, few would have predicted that by the end of the first season the Enterprise's crew would be preparing for a major overhaul in Season 2, with La'An taking a leave of absence, Number One under arrest, and the shocking death of engineer Hemmer.

Sacrificing himself to save the rest of his shipmates in "All Those Who Wander," Hemmer's death leaves the ship without a chief engineer. Is it possible that Montgomery Scott, popularly known as Scotty, could make his debut next season? Or are we due for another new character to work miracles in the engine room? Considering actor Bruce Horak, who played Hemmer, has said he is not done with the series in several interviews, it's possible Hemmer is set for a return himself. Whether this means his telepathy allowed his consciousness to survive like Spock in "Star Trek III," or he is somehow resurrected, perhaps the next chief engineer will be Hemmer once more.

What will Kirk's role be in Season 2?

Though fans were excited to see the likes of Pike, Spock, and Number One in "Strange New Worlds," the anticipation reached another level when Paramount announced on Twitter that James T. Kirk would be in Season 2. According to canon, Pike and Kirk met only briefly. The "Strange New Worlds" Season 1 finale snuck actor Paul Wesley into the role for a "what if" story that took place in the future, but Kirk's role for Season 2 remains a mystery.

What we do know is that, during the time period in which "Strange New Worlds" is set, Kirk is a young lieutenant serving aboard the U.S.S. Farragut. We also know that in the alternate future shown in "A Quality of Mercy," La'An Noonien-Singh is serving aboard the Farragut in a command role. One distinct possibility, then, is that Season 2 may involve dual stories set aboard both the Enterprise and the Farragut, and Kirk having a regular recurring role. Based on the original "Star Trek" we know that Kirk and Spock knew each other for years prior, so it's also likely that Spock could get some serious screen time with his future Enterprise captain.

However it shakes out, Wesley impressed as Kirk in his appearance in "A Quality of Mercy," so unless Paramount's announcement was a ruse to hide the finale's plot, we should get plenty more of him next season.

What's next for Uhura?

With "Strange New Worlds" being set nearly a decade before "The Original Series," it was definitely unexpected to see actor Celia Rose Gooding playing cadet Nyota Uhura on the bridge of the Enterprise. More than just an Easter egg, Uhura was a main cast member, but what wasn't a surprise was that the character — thanks to Gooding's head-turning portrayal of the young Starfleet hopeful — was a standout in the first season. Uhura evolved from a fresh-faced and nervous cadet to a strong, capable officer-in-training, growing close to chief engineer Hemmer while rotating through every division on the ship. But Uhura's dilemma persisted — does she really want to serve in Starfleet?

At the outset she makes it clear that she may not want to remain on the Enterprise, unsure if this is the right path for her. But thanks to her friendship with engineer Hemmer — and, ultimately, his sacrifice — it seems that Uhura may have finally decided to remain on the bridge. But the question remains: Will Uhura stay on the Enterprise, and if she does, will she be awarded a full rank of ensign, an "acting ensign" provisional title, or could she at some point return to Starfleet Academy? We do know she'll be back on the Enterprise by the time Kirk takes command, but what happens in the meantime is anyone's guess.

Is Sybok the next big bad?

Sonequa Martin-Green's Michael Burnham wasn't the first lost Spock sibling to be retconned into the franchise. Way back in 1989, the fifth "Star Trek" feature film introduced us to Sybok, the illegitimate son of Spock's father Sarek. He's a Vulcan who rejected logic and became a fanatic devoted to finding God at the center of the galaxy. While the film was met with plenty of jeers (it's widely thought of as the worst film in the franchise), it was curious that no subsequent "Star Trek" series dared to mention Sybok again. Even with Spock appearing in subsequent films, episodes of "The Next Generation," and a younger version in an alternate reality film series, Sybok was the character "Star Trek" seemed to be intentionally ignoring.

All that changed in "Strange New Worlds," as the episode "The Serene Squall" ended with the revelation that Sybok was being held in the Vulcan rehabilitation facility where Spock's betrothed T'Pring serves. Spock notes that he has been told to avoid contact with his half-brother at all costs, and the ominous reveal seemed to imply that the villainous Vulcan may yet return. It has even been rumored among fans that Sybok could become the overarching behind-the-scenes villain of Season 2. The fact that the episode never shows his face seems like a strange creative choice if he wasn't set to return in some fashion. This way, any actor could step into the role, and with Sam Witwer campaigning for the part on Twitter, another appearance could be on the horizon.

What happens to M'Benga?

Pulled from a pair of appearances on the original "Star Trek" series, "Strange New Worlds" made minor character Dr. M'Benga a series regular, and the Enterprise's chief medical officer to boot. Expanding on the little-explored role, we learned his first name (Joseph) and that he had a daughter named Rukiya who suffered from a terminal disease. A personal friend of Captain Pike, M'Benga's relationship with his sick daughter provided some of the most touching and heartfelt moments in Season 1, rounding out the character to become a major player in the franchise. But what was noteworthy to Trekkies is the fact that in his two appearances in the 1960s (where he was played by actor Brooker Bradshaw), Dr. M'Benga actually served under Dr. McCoy, who was in charge of the sickbay when Kirk commanded the Enterprise.

This has led to one inescapable question: What happens to M'Benga to bump him from the commanding doctor aboard the flagship of the Federation to a supporting surgeon? We know that M'Benga risked the lives of the Enterprise crew in "Ghosts of Illyria" by not revealing that his daughter was being held in the transporter. Could this have been a violation of regulations that could get M'Benga demoted? Or is there another incident lined up for a future episode that could see M'Benga either forcibly removed from his role, or voluntarily stepping down? With Season 2 already filmed, we may not have to wait long to find out, though there's nothing to say that the change in rank takes place anytime soon.

Will we finally see a major Star Trek crossover?

In the 1990s, "Star Trek" was among the first franchises that had multiple projects side by side, with both movies and TV shows running together. Still, while a few characters moved back and forth (a two-part "TNG" episode was set on station Deep Space Nine), few proper crossovers actually materialized. Today, "Star Trek" is seeing a new golden age. With Marvel, DC, and others pushing interconnected franchises, could "Strange New Worlds" finally see a major "Star Trek" crossover?

Franchise overlord Alex Kurtzman said that future "Star Trek" crossovers were inevitable on Deadline's Hero Nation podcast in 2021. "It's coming somewhere and somehow," he said. "Strange New Worlds" seems perfectly set up for such an event, with fan-favorite classic characters in its cast, and set on the franchise's most beloved starship. What could be more exciting than Jean-Luc Picard traveling back to the days of Captain Pike, or Ethan Peck's Mr. Spock traveling to a parallel universe to meet Zachary Quinto's version of the same character?

No matter what form a crossover might take, there's no doubt it would be a major event that would pull in massive viewership figures. And with Paramount and CBS now officially merged after years of separation, there's no longer any legal reason it can't be done. Will that happen during "Strange New Worlds" Season 2? We hope so.

Will we see more TOS characters?

Given that the days of "Star Trek: The Original Series" will be just six years away when Season 2 of "Strange New Worlds" begins, it makes sense that the series may begin to include even more characters we've seen before. It already features Spock, Uhura, Nurse Chapel, and M'Benga, who were all featured in "Star Trek: The Original Series," but there's still plenty of room for the introduction of old favorites. James T. Kirk is set to play a regular role in the second season, and the truth is that we really don't know exactly when the famed Enterprise captain is due to take over from Christopher Pike, as the timeline of his ascension to the command position has never been precisely detailed. 

Likewise, the likes of Hikaru Sulu, Pavel Chekov, and even Yeoman Rand could have predated Kirk's time in the captain's chair, just as Spock and Uhura clearly did. We've already wondered if Scotty could be next in line to take over engineering after the death of Lt. Hemmer, but is it possible that a slightly younger Dr. McCoy could join the sickbay staff on his way to taking over for M'Benga at some point in the future? 

It's not just main cast members either. The "Star Trek" franchise is full of recurring roles, side characters, and prominent one-offs that fans would love to see again. From Gary Mitchell and Elizabeth Dehner to Carol Marcus and Matt Decker, any one of them might make sense for an appearance on "Strange New Worlds."

Where are the Klingons?

The most common adversary seen on the original "Star Trek" and beyond, the ruthless, war-loving Klingons have long plagued the Federation in the time period of "Strange New Worlds." But throughout the first season of "SNW," it was the Gorn who seemed to be the most prominent enemy of Starfleet, with barely any mention of the Klingons. Re-introduced in "Star Trek: Discovery" with a controversial new look, it's possible that producers simply wanted to give the Klingons a breather, or needed some time to figure out what to do with them after the divisive reaction among fans to the changes. 

By the time Season 2 of "Strange New Worlds" rolls around it will have been four years since we've seen a Klingon in live action, and it may be time to bring them out for a new adventure. On the "Star Trek" after-show "The Ready Room" it's been seriously implied that they could indeed be coming back for the second season of "Strange New Worlds." Babs Olusanmokun (Dr. M'Benga) mentioned that his character has a bitter relationship with the honor-bound alien race that will be explored next year, so perhaps we may see them right out of the gate. But the question remains which Klingons we will see: The ridged-forehead Klingons of "Discovery" or the bronze-toned, smooth-headed Klingons of "The Original Series." 

If we had to wager money, we might even put a bet on seeing a new version of Kang, Kor, or Koloth, three Klingon warriors who menaced Kirk in "The Original Series."

Will we see T'Pring and Stonn together?

"Strange New Worlds" was packed with unexpected appearances, and another was Spock's partner T'Pring, who wound up playing a fairly sizable recurring role. Exploring their relationship, we learned that it was T'Pring's resentment of Spock's career in Starfleet that was at least partially to blame for the downfall in their betrothal, as shown in the original "Star Trek" episode "Amok Time." In that episode we learned that while Spock was away serving on the Enterprise, T'Pring had been involved with someone else, a Vulcan named Stonn, who she wished to marry. In an under-the-radar reveal, we learned that Stonn was a colleague of T'Pring's at the Ankeshtan K'til Retreat, a Vulcan criminal rehab colony on the third moon of Omicron Lyrae.

Though little attention is paid to the character Stonn, who gets but a single line of dialogue, it's a major reveal for longtime fans. Stonn's walk-on appearance in "The Serene Squall" could lead to a bigger role for the character in Season 2. Is it possible we could see the beginnings of a relationship between he and T'Pring, ultimately leading to a deeper bond that will have her reconsidering her commitment to Spock? With Sybok seemingly being set up as a major villain somewhere down the line, a trip back to Ankeshtan K'til and the return of Stonn seems like it is in the cards. 

What other classic episode types might we see next?

If you're a longtime fan of the franchise, you may have noticed a pattern emerging in the first season of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds." Some fans dubbed it "Star Trek Bingo," as the series seemed to be identifying the classic types of episodes from years past and then doing a new version. There was an iconic "Prime Directive" episode where the crew must decide whether to reveal themselves to a pre-warp society; there was a "disease on the ship" episode; an "imaginations come to life" episode; and a "monster on the ship" episode. The season finale even did a time travel story in classic "Star Trek" fashion.

But, for all the boxes they were able to tick, there are still plenty of tried-and-tested stories that "Strange New Worlds" hasn't done yet. Perhaps in Season 2 we'll see a "crew member on trial" episode — in fact, with Number One in custody of Starfleet Security at the close of the cliffhanger finale, that one seems likely. 

Maybe the series will do the age-old "omnipotent being" episode, with the Enterprise encountering an all-powerful alien life form that toys with the crew, ala Q, Trelane, or the Organians. While these tropes and time-tested stories may be cliched and even a little formulaic, "Strange New Worlds" has found refreshing new ways of putting a modern spin on them, and we're looking forward to seeing what classic tropes they could trot out next.

Is Benny Russell real?

Episode 8 of "Strange New Worlds" Season 1 gave us perhaps our most puzzling and unexpected Easter egg. In "The Elysian Kingdom" we finally get a good look at the storybook that Dr. M'Benga has been reading to his daughter, and the author is none other than Benny Russell. Originally thought to be little more than a vision of the Bajoran Prophets lived out by Captain Ben Sisko in the acclaimed "Deep Space Nine" episode "Far Beyond the Stars," Russell was a fantasy author in the 1950s, whose life Sisko led during his vision. There had always been a lingering suggestion that perhaps there was more to it than being a dream, but most fans had brushed it aside as a mere fanciful thought.

Now, with "Strange New Worlds" declaring that Benny Russell was indeed a real author in-universe, we have many more questions. Was this just a throwaway gag to amuse producers and set-dressers? Or does it suggest that Sisko lived Russell's life for a brief period, in order to teach him a valuable lesson? "What if it wasn't a dream?" asked Sisko in that episode. "What if this life we're leading... all of this... what if all this is the illusion?" Now we are starting to seriously wonder the same thing.

Will we ever get an Ortegas episode?

A return to the ensemble format, "Strange New Worlds" satisfied our wish to see the franchise give the spotlight to its wider cast. Not only did the first season deeply explore Captain Pike, Number One, and Mr. Spock, but there were episodes centering on the likes of security chief La'An and Dr. M'Benga, while major B-stories were given to the likes of Nurse Chapel and Hemmer. In fact, we arguably learned more about Uhura in a single episode ("Children of the Comet") than we did in all of "Star Trek: The Original Series." Sadly, one major cast member was absent from the party: Lt. Erica Ortegas.

Captain Pike's operations officer, Ortegas is a navigator and weapons officer rolled into one, and she was always active in any scene where the ship saw action. Actor Melissa Navia got some fun scenes when off-duty and a few cracking one-liners, but, unfortunately, she didn't get an episode focusing on her alone. Could Season 2 see the series finally give the spotlight to Ortegas? Fans who love her go-get-em attitude are certainly hoping that's the case, and so are we.