Unrated: Dr. M’Benga – Booker Bradshaw/Babs Olusanmokun
Dr. M’Benga appeared twice in the original series. Both appearances are brief, and so we know very little about his original series iteration. In terms of backstory, we have one little detail, that he interned on Vulcan, which made him uniquely able to treat Spock for a gunshot wound.
There was a little more information from the original series that never made it onscreen. M’Benga was to be introduced in an unproduced episode, Schol, written by Darlene Hartman. That script told us that he was born in Uganda, that his first name was Joseph, and that he had a brother named Simon, who served as first officer on the USS Hope, a Federation hospital ship. That was to become relevant in a proposed spinoff called Hopeship.
So far, Strange New Worlds has made the first name canon, but not the rest of that information. Generally only what’s onscreen is canon, so even with that unproduced script and unproduced spinoff, we know very little about the M’benga of the original series. (And the thick Nigerian accent Babs Olusanmokun uses makes his Ugandan heritage doubtful.)
So whether or not SNW’s M’Benga is like The Original Seriess M’Benga is an unanswerable question. There just wasn’t enough information in the original series to make that determination. Strange New Worlds has done a fantastic job of fleshing out the character, with context that gives the original series’ M’benga added dimensions.