"Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" capped off an ambitious second season on Paramount+ last month.
Season 2 featured a cornucopia of bold episodes that included a time traveling mission, a live-action crossover with "Star Trek: Lower Decks," the first-ever musical revue in 'Trek' history, and close encounters with those nasty reptilian villains, the Gorn.
Production of "Strange New Worlds" Season 3 is now at a standstill with the ongoing SAG-AFTRA and WGA Hollywood strikes, but those unfortunate situations will hopefully resolve themselves in the near future and official "Star Trek" studio work in Toronto can resume at warp speed.
Until then, we've got an exclusive interview sneak peek with Celia Rose Gooding from "Star Trek Explorer #8" (obtained prior to the strikes) to reflect back on the hit show's initial two seasons, portraying the iconic Lt. Nyota Uhura, singing in "Children of the Comet," handling sudden fame, and what Nichelle Nichols might think of how the young communications officer is depicted.
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Here's an extract from that interview…
"Star Trek Explorer:" You were not aware that you were up for the role of Uhura when you initially auditioned. How differently do you think you might have approached it if you did know?
Gooding: "Honestly, I don't know if I would have booked it if I knew, because I would have probably over-committed to an Uhura we already know. I would have done the smart actor thing and studied the character, but I would have had a difficult time knowing her future and leaving her outside of the audition space – because Uhura, as a character, doesn't know what her future looks like. It was genius, to sort of hoodwink me a little bit. It was for the benefit of everyone involved that I didn't know. I would have probably gotten a little too into it and hindered myself from being able to share with the showrunners what I could bring to this role.
"Star Trek Explorer:" Fans, critics, and pretty much everyone loved "Strange New Worlds" straight out of the gate. What worked best for you personally, in season one?
Gooding: "What worked best for me in season one was our nine-person crew establishing a relationship off screen. That worked well, because when we were shooting season one, it was difficult to see one another outside of shooting. The province of Ontario was on lockdown, so we didn't have a lot of time off. So, those moments in between takes and scenes, in the mornings when we were all getting ready together, they were so special.
"For example, to look over and see Spock (Ethan Peck) getting his ears on, then a haircut, plus being able to have a conversation like, 'How are you? What's going on? What did you have for dinner yesterday?' Just to be able to connect with one another … that establishing of a connection was what allowed us to get along as a crew and come off as people who've known each other for a very long time. When we first met each other, it was via Zoom."
"Star Trek Explorer:" You came from Broadway and suddenly you're on this massive show with a tough TV shooting schedule, tons of special effects, a 57-year history, and a devoted fan base. How did you go about finding your center in all of that, so that you didn't let yourself get too overwhelmed?
Gooding: "Honestly, I am someone of a very technological generation as a Gen Z. A lot of my life just so happens to coincide with what goes on on the internet. Something that I had to do to find my center and remind myself that I am just a human being was to take a step back from all of that; stay off Twitter and Instagram, because while people are so nice, welcoming, and accepting of what we're doing with these iconic characters, it's also important for me to separate myself from that.
"It's hard for me to do both at the same time. It's hard for me to receive all this incredible information and praise for the work that we're doing and also play a character that is not aware of any of that. Just to make it easier for myself – when we're in the thick of it – I just take a step back from the apps. I delete Safari, Instagram, and Twitter, and devote myself to the character, because she doesn't exist on the Internet the same way I do. While I like to think I'm pretty good at my job, I'm very bad at multitasking, so it's important to commit to the character in a way that makes it easiest and clearest for me to show up as this character."
For the entire interview, check out "Star Trek Explorer #8" (on sale Sept. 12), which is also fortified with chats with actors Ed Speleers and Jonathan Frakes, and a behind-the-scenes tour with composer Nami Melamud and production designer David Blass.