Still, SNW is as much of a Discovery spinoff as it is a TOS prequel, and on that front, it appears one aspect of DISCO is being permanently retired: Those 2017-2018 Klingons. In one scene in the new teaser trailer, we see Spock slamming some blood wine with a bunch of Klingons, who look decidedly closer to movie-era Klingons, or Klingons from The Next Generation.
Back in the day, Gene Roddenberry floated the idea that the The Motion Picture Klingons should replace our memories of the smooth-headed versions in TOS, and in a way, it sort of feels like Strange New Worlds season 2 is adopting this exact approach. Pre-TOS Spock is getting loaded with Klingons that look the way most Klingons look throughout Trek canon, and that’s fine. Will there be any explanation this season that attempts to reconcile these Klingons, with the “Metagenic Klingons” from Enterprise, or the scary Nosferatu-Klingons from Discovery? If Strange New Worlds goes the way it’s been going, the answer is probably not. The Gorn were massively retconned in season 1, but at the same time, lines from TOS don’t contradict the way the Gorn appeared in SNW.
This brings us to Paul Wesley’s take on James T. Kirk. After appearing in an alternate future in the SNW season 1 finale, this trailer makes it clear that Kirk is going to be in this season a lot, and he’s going to be hanging out with La’an Noonien Singh quite a bit. At one point, we get a weird comedy scene where Kirk and La’an look like they’re hanging out in a contemporary clothing store, and Kirk can’t figure out the revolving door because he’s “from space.” Is this time travel? Is this a kind of Voyage Home homage? But more to the point, just how much will Kirk be hanging out with La’an this season, and what does that mean for timeline shenanigans?
In Season 1, this version of Kirk was in command of the USS Farragut in an alternate timeline, and La’an was his first officer. La’an also left the Enterprise in season 1 on a personal mission, but this trailer suggests that she’ll be back at some point. (Along with Number One, who clearly didn’t stay arrested for too long?) So, will La’an and Kirk’s adventures be isolated from the rest of the crew? TOS clearly states that Kirk only met Captain Pike once, when Pike was promoted to Fleet Captain. So, if Kirk is in this season a lot, it feels like he can’t interact with Pike too much.
Now, it’s possible SNW will try to get us to forget this piece of the canon, but if so, that’s a little weird. Pike and Kirk’s entire connection only really exists in “The Menagerie,” in which it’s made very clear that Pike is Spock’s old buddy, not that Pike and Kirk hung out a lot too. Furthermore, if Kirk is hanging around a lot with La’an, it makes you wonder how that impacts some Khan stuff a few years later.
Strange New Worlds has proved itself very adept at doing all of these continuity tap-dances before, and ultimately, these small details probably won’t matter. Like season 1, Strange New Worlds season 2 has its phasers set to charming, which makes it hard to split hairs. But when we catch our breath, it will be interesting to see how much this season changes our view of the classic TOS characters. It’s a successful prequel, to be sure. But in season 2, it feels possible it could also feel more like a soft reboot of classic canon.