Star Trek: Strange New Worlds provides new background and insight to some of the most popular legacy characters from the franchise. Last week, the episode 'Charades' brought additional context to Spock's romance with his betrothed T'Pring as well as Spock's complicated friendship with Nurse Chapel. This week, Nyota Uhura takes center stage, which results in her very first encounter with her future Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) captain, James T. Kirk.
While the crew of the Enterprise helps establish a new fueling station for Starfleet, Uhura begins to act erratically, hearing strange noises and receiving disturbing visions. Though the medical staff believes her condition is due to stress and exhaustion, the young Ensign believes it to be more. She finds an unlikely ally to help her discover the source of her hallucinations in Lieutenant Kirk, who happens to be visiting his brother George on the Enterprise.
Because both Uhura and Kirk are main characters in TOS, their first meeting in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and the Star Trek universe makes for a lot of fun. The final scene of the episode sees another TOS heavyweight, Spock, join them for drinks uniting the future senior crew of the Enterprise.
How long does Star Trek: Strange New Worlds take place before Star Trek: The Original Series?
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds takes place in the year 2259. The first episode of TOS, 'Where No Man Has Gone Before,' takes place in 2265. Therefore, there is a six-year difference currently between the two series.
Where are Nyota Uhura, Spock, and James T. Kirk in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds?
Uhura begins Star Trek: Strange New Worlds as a cadet onboard the Enterprise. She follows in her grandmother's footsteps and pursues a career in Starfleet. She must have excelled at the Academy because the ship takes only a few cadets on staff. Uhura is a linguist speaking over 37 languages, so it was fitting that her first rotation duty was in communications. Before the start of season 2, she graduated from the Academy and became an Ensign.
Spock is one of the first Vulcan cadets of Starfleet and started on the Enterprise in the year 2253 as an Ensign. Following his first five-year mission, he takes a leave of absence from Starfleet to attend to personal matters (These events occur in season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery). Later he rejoins the Enterprise as a science officer.
Like Uhura, Starfleet is in Kirk's blood. His father was an officer inspiring James and his brother George to follow suit. His first deep space assignment is as a lieutenant on the USS Farragut under Captain Garrovick. We learn in 'Lost in Translation' that Kirk will become the youngest first officer of Starfleet, beating the record set by his dad. He even catches the interest of Pike, who believes Kirk could be his potential successor as captain of the Enterprise.
The first meeting of Star Trek icons
'Lost in Translation' is the first real appearance of the Kirk we know in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. He did appear in the episodes 'A Quality of Mercy' and 'Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow,' but both occur primarily in alternate histories. The main timeline's Kirk makes a brief cameo at the end of 'Tomorrow' when Chief of Security La'an Noonien-Singh calls him to receive biographical data for his brother's security file.
Kirk and Uhura's relationship has a rocky start when Uhura interprets a genuine question of concern at a bar as flirting. Shortly after, one of Uhura's hallucinations causes her to attack Kirk. Instead of reporting her for assaulting a superior officer, he decides to help her since he believes he's an excellent judge of character. Over the course of their investigation, they become closer as if there will be more to their friendship in the future. Kirk provides a calming and grounded influence as Uhura questions her own reality.
At the end of the day, the pair unwind and go back to the bar. They are joined by Spock, who instantly connects with Kirk over their frustrations with George. We close the episode with a little fan service moment as the trio bond and laugh over drinks. Little do they know of the thrilling adventures they will share six years into the future and beyond.
Where are the rest of the TOS crew?
Leonard "Bones" McCoy is the chief medical officer from TOS. We know very little about his career during the time period around Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. In 2251, he spearheaded an inoculation campaign on the planet Dramia II as seen in the episode 'Albatross' of Star Trek: The Animated Series. The Star Trek: Discovery episode 'Lifelines' namechecks Bones when referencing a neural surgical procedure he developed in 2253. Before joining the Enterprise, he was a science division officer on the planet Capella IV.
Fans salivated for a future appearance of Montgomery "Scotty" Scott following the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 1 finale. 'A Quality of Mercy' takes place in an alternate future, and in one scene where Spock is making repairs, a distinctive Scottish accent can be heard conversing with him over comms. Factor in the Enterprise tragically lost its chief engineer Hemmer, season 2 seemed a good time to introduce the character. Alas, Hemmer's replacement ended up being Commander Pelia, a Lanthanite that has lived over a thousand years. Scotty joined Starfleet in 2241, but the rest of his life leading up to TOS is unknown.
Hikaru Sulu and Pavel Chekov are the helmsman and navigator of TOS. During the late 2250s and early 2260s, both were still in school and the Academy.
As we can see, there is plenty of room for newer Star Trek shows to explore with the other TOS legacy characters, particularly in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Canonically, there are few limitations, so there is room to expand on these fan favorites while providing more insight on the events that we know eventually happen.
For more on Star Trek and how to understand it all, we have a comprehensive Star Trek watch guide.