Today didn’t just bring us a trailer for the second season of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’, we’ve also got some casting news! Actress Rebecca Romijn has joined the cast of ‘Discovery’ for the show’s second season. She will be playing Number One, the first officer of the Enterprise under Captain Pike. The role was originally played by Majel Barrett Roddenberry in the very first ‘Star Trek’ pilot. The news was announced by Anson Mount at the ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ panel at San Diego Comic-Con and subsequently confirmed on Twitter by Romijn.
Of course, being me I can’t let this pass without commenting on the irony of casting a natural blonde (who will likely dye her hair for the part) in a role originated by a natural brunette who later bleached her hair and returned to ‘Star Trek’ as a different character.
Okay, now that that’s out of my system, what do we actually know about Number One? Well, not much actually. Like many of the Pike-era Enterprise crew, she’s spent the last fifty years as something of an enigma, with most explorations of her character taking place outside of the franchise’s official continuity (including one memorable effort in Peter David’s ‘Star Trek: New Frontier’ novels).
According to Majel Barrett Roddenberry, Number One was the first ‘Star Trek’ character that Gene Roddenberry developed after nailing down Captain April (as he was known at the time). Based on what we see in ‘The Cage’, she is a logical, highly intelligent, officer, her apparent lack of emotion described by the Talosians as “largely a pretense”. In an early pitch document (dated March 1964), Roddenberry described the character thusly:
“Never referred to as anything but “Number One”, this officer is female. Almost mysteriously female, in fact — slim and dark in a Nile Valley way, age uncertain, one of those women who will always look the same between years twenty to fifty. An extraordinarily efficient officer, “Number One” enjoys playing it expressionless, cool — is probably Robert April’s superior in detailed knowledge of the multiple equipment systems, departments, and crew members aboard the vessel. When Captain April leaves the craft, “Number One” moves up to Acting Commander.”
Can you tell that he was writing the part for his future wife?
When ‘Star Trek’ was reconfigured following the network’s commissioning of a second pilot episode, the character was jettisoned and many of her traits were transferred to Spock.
What do you think of Rebecca Romijn’s casting as Number One? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more on the second season of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ and other upcoming ‘Star Trek’ projects as it becomes available.
‘Star Trek: Discovery’ will feature returning stars Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Mary Wiseman, and Anthony Rapp alongside newcomers Anson Mount and Tig Notaro. Though no premiere date for the second season has been announced yet, we know that it will begin airing on CBS All Access in January 2019.