'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds': Rebecca Romijn says Una similar to 'X-Men's' Mystique

Rebecca Romijn's "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" returns for Season 2 on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Paramount+
1 of 5 | Rebecca Romijn's "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" returns for Season 2 on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Paramount+

NEW YORK, June 15 (UPI) -- Rebecca Romijn says her Star Trek: Strange New Worlds spaceship officer Una Chin-Riley, who has been arrested for undergoing illegal body modifications to appear human, shares some traits with Mystique, the iconic shape-shifting mutant she played in the X-Men film franchise.

"There are some similarities between those characters," Romijn told reporters in a recent Zoom interview.


"I've been drawn to these characters that have things that they have been hiding, things that they may feel shameful about and make a decision to stop hiding and to start living authentically."

Set in the 23rd century, a decade before the events of Star Trek: The Original Series, Strange New Worlds is a Star Trek: Discovery spinoff that follows the intergalactic adventures of Capt. Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) and his crew on the USS Enterprise. Una is his right hand woman, known affectionately as No. 1.


Playing supporting roles in the series are Ethan Peck, Celia Rose Gooding and Jess Bush as younger versions of franchise legacy characters Spock, Nyota Uhura and Christine Chapel respectively.

The show's 10-episode second season premieres on Paramount+ Thursday.

Romijn, who is the daughter of an immigrant from the Netherlands and an English as a Second Language teacher, connected to Una because she is of the Illyrian race and does not naturally fit in with her human and Vulcan shipmates.

"My father is an immigrant, my husband (Jerry O'Connell) is also first-generation American. His father's an immigrant. I'm a first-generation actress. I didn't have anybody holding my hand to get into this industry," she said.

"I didn't come from money. I came from a pretty humble background. I'm just figuring it out and pulling myself up and pounding the pavement," she added. "A lot of Star Trek stories are immigrant stories and I relate to that."

Season 2 sees Pike leaving Spock in charge of the Enterprise while he goes to support Una in her legal battle after she violates Starfleet policy by changing her appearance.

"There are several big courtroom episodes within the Trek world in which humanity is put on trial and this is one of those," Romijn said.


"It was a real honor to get to play it out. It was a good one to sink my teeth into. It was a really special episode."

The relationship between Pike and No. 1 is one of the most important in the show.

"The dialogue is pretty much what we are given on the page, but the performances gain the real specificity from the friendship Rebecca and I have built on and off the screen," Mount told UPI.

"We are pretty much the same age. We have pretty much the same sense of humor and we have the same sensibility about these two characters. We believe that they've been great friends all the way back to the academy days," he added.

"Those little conversations you can have in fleshing out the relationship, they can have a tremendous effect on the realization of material."

Pike also shows tremendous faith in Spock by allowing his science officer to take the helm of the Enterprise while he is off defending Una.

Spock makes some questionable choices, but manages to bring the ship back in one piece.


"Pike is supremely confident in his crew," Mount said.

"Particularly with Spock, he sees a potential first officer in the making with some rough edges," he added. "He sees him as a responsibility and an opportunity, in a way. He has absolute faith in Spock's abilities."

Pike couldn't have anticipated what would happen when Spock was briefly in command.

"I was hoping for a scene in Episode 2 where it's just Pike and Spock and Pike says, 'You what?' But we didn't quite have room for that," Mount laughed.

That's not to say Pike doesn't get plenty of lighthearted moments where he exudes positive dad vibes, however.

"I remember learning this lesson on Hell on Wheels after the first season," mount said.

"It's really easy to become a little too deliberate with these things and, after a while, driving at 100 mph starts to feel very boring," he said.

"Having your hand on the hot stove, eventually your nerve endings burn out, so you've got to know when to let off the pressure."

Mount said the foundation of his acting training was "in clown in the European sense," but has been surprised to get mostly dramatic or action roles throughout his career.


"So, it's been really, really, really fun to spread my wings comedically and take advantage of the fun that we are having on the show. It's really important to keep an actor's interest throughout an entire season of television and our writers really understand that."

Mount wanted to explore Pike as a younger version of the leader Jeffrey Hunt would eventually play in the original iteration of Star Trek in the 1960s, but he did not want to do an impression of the late actor.

"I figured out that [Pike] probably had good parents. He definitely had good teachers. He struggles with faith. He struggles with his own self-confidence," Mount said.

"And he has learned life is about the journey, not the destination. You don't climb the mountain to get to the top, you do it for the experience of every step."

Strange New Worlds has been renewed for a third season.

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