Star Trek: Strange New Worlds opted to not feature the fallout from Una Chin-Riley’s arrest for one very good reason.
Ending the first season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds with a cliffhanger was the right call. It made fans want to come back for season two and see what happens next. So no one was surprised when Una Chin-Riley was arrested due to being an augment. What was surprising was that when fans came back to the show, that plotline was barely covered at all.
Instead, we got Una and Christopher Pike in a scene that barely lasted at all, prompting the story to feature Spock stealing the Enterprise and trying to quell a restart of the Federation and Klingon War. Not the best plot but it was fine.
But why did the show not feature the primary storyline and two of the three primary stars of the show, Anson Mount (Pike) and Rebecca Romijn (Chin-Riley)? Well, it turns out there actually is a good reason.
Mount was on paternity leave.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds had to shuffle things up after Anson Mount’s wife got pregnant
Series director Chris Fisher went on the 7th Rule Podcast, hosted by Deep Space Nine star Cirroc Lofton, and revealed that Mount was away due to his wife delivering their baby. The showrunners knew of this ahead of time and purposefully set up the season the way they did to accommodate Mount and his new arrival to the family.
Here’s what Fisher said about Mount’s situation via the 7th Rule Podcast (and Movieweb.com for the transcript)
"Anson just had a baby. He’s not really going to be available for this episode… [Pike’s absence] was definitely a challenge too, because Anson is such an incredible actor and Pike is such a great character. [The episode focusing on the other Enterprise crew] came from the necessity of Anson just had a baby, and he needed to spend time with his kid. So we knew that, of course, and we had nine months to prepare for that, so our showrunners wrote an episode that kicked the door down in terms of fun and action, and really leans heavily on what makes these other characters so awesome."
While I still think the premier had issues, namely the waste of a really good idea featuring Klingons stealing Federation tech in order to frame them, the revelation that Mount had to miss time to be with his kid is certainly understandable.
Hopefully, the show finds its balance going forward.