I’ve used this line before, but it only seems to ring even more true now that the season is underway: “This year on ‘Star Trek: Discovery’, everything old is new again.” In the season premiere alone brought an encounter with the Enterprise and the addition of Captain Pike to the regular cast. Meanwhile, Spock has been hovering around the periphery of the season, and we know he’ll be appearing in the flesh sooner or later.
Amid all that, however, there’s been one classic ‘Trek’ character whose return thus far has been largely unsung. That would be Number One. Originally (and, until now, only) played by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry in ‘The Cage‘, Number One is as her name implies, Captain Pike’s first officer, described in the early pitch documents as “an extraordinarily efficient officer, [she] enjoys playing it expressionless, cool – is probably [Pike’s] superior in detailed knowledge of the equipment, departments, and personnel aboard the vessel.”
Following their rejection of ‘The Cage’, NBC executives took the unusual step of allowing Roddenberry to film a second pilot episode, ‘Where No Man Has Gone Before‘. The deal was not without its stipulations, though. And the network suits famously didn’t care for Number One (the reasons given range from simple sixties sexism to being underwhelmed by Barrett-Roddenberry’s performance depending on who you ask). As a result, the character was jettisoned from the second pilot episode and some of her character traits being given to Spock instead.
Because of this, the character never had the chance to progress much beyond that brief description, rendering her one of the more enigmatic and intriguing personalities that ‘Star Trek’ has to offer. But now, after a mere fifty-four years, we’ll finally get to fill in some of those blanks, beginning with this week’s installment of ‘Discovery’.
Now played by Rebecca Romijn, Number One will be making her ‘Discovery’ debut in ‘An Obol for Charon‘. Given that we learned so little about her the first time around, Romijn’s ideas regarding her character are of particular interest. Thankfully, she has plenty. Speaking with Syfy Wire, Romijn described Number One and her experience on ‘Discovery’ thusly:
“…I want her to be like, a broad, like a fast-talkin’ dame. It’s slightly period, the Enterprise obviously was in the sixties, and so the look of my character is of that era, slightly, which I love. It’s fun to keep discovering things about a character that we didn’t get to know enough about the first time around.”
When asked by StarTrek.com about the sort of blanks that will be filled in this season, Romijn was circumspect, emphasizing the vastness of her skill set and the extent to which Pike relies on her. But lest you worry that her appearance on ‘Discovery’ might remove all semblance of mystery, Romijn has some words of reassurance:
“I don’t even think we, in this season, get to know how much she knows.”
Be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more ‘Star Trek’ news – including the latest on the second season of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ and other upcoming shows and movies – as it becomes available!.