Wednesday, September 11, 2013

From The Idea Hole: Star Trek - Strange Frontier (Part Two Of Three: Characters and Proposed Casting)

If you're coming into this out of context, check out PART ONE HERE. That link will take you to the introduction to this, my extended pitch for the next Star Trek series, which is continued here with my idea for the season one starting cast of characters and who I'd realistically pick to play them. A quick note, as you may have noticed in the lead up to this, I always leave names to the last thing, so I will be designating characters by rank, job, role, etc, whichever is most significant to them.

1: The Captain – The lynch pin of any Star Trek series, our Captain would be an old soldier who never ascribed to the typical ideal of the noble explorer, joining Starfleet to protect his home world and earning his stripes in battle against the Dominion and the Borg. Now without an enemy to fight, he decides to retire, only to find himself the leader of a makeshift colony of Starfleet officers and civilians on a dangerous alien world. As the mysteries of the planet begin to be revealed, The Captain would be the first to make connections suggesting more to the world than meets the eye and become strangely obsessed, leading those around him to begin to question his capacity to protect the group, and ultimately to question his sanity. (Proposed Casting: Michael Ironside)

2: The Captain's Daughter – An expert in establishing human colonies on alien worlds, originally scheduled for a six month tour of duty with the Tzenketh colonists that has now become permanent. When the colonists' original leader dies in the crash, she quickly and informally assumes the role, often butting heads with her father who assumes he has the same authority over the civilians as he does over his own crew. She would also begin to assume more responsibility for protecting the settlement when her father begins to stray from that role and seemingly prioritize solving the mystery of the planet over the welfare of the group. (Proposed Casting: Eliza Dushku)

3: The Alien Lieutenant - This would be the breakout character in the same vein as Spock, Data, Odo, or the EMH, that kind of character not seen before in the series with a unique perspective on the human condition. In this case, he would be the first non-humanoid alien officer featured as a main character in the franchise, physically resembling a Lovecraftian monstrous mass of tentacles and teeth. He functions in the world and the show through a series of proxies, humanoid robot drones that he operates psychically, allowing him to be in multiple places simultaneously. His people are noted as being the first previously unknown Gamma Quadrant species to request membership in the Federation following the end of the Dominion War, and their motives are unknown. (Proposed Casting – Doug Jones, Drones and Voice)

4: The Doctor - A fully telepathic Betazoid physician, so used to dealing with people lying to his face that he has developed a bitter and acerbic personality, essentially becoming the Star Trek equivalent of Dr. House. He would be presented as a man with many secrets, at first dismissed as a function of his being telepathic while needing to maintain doctor-patient confidentiality, disciplining himself to be less open than the average Betazoid. Eventually it would be revealed that he is in fact a member of the covert black ops organization Section 31, and that he may have known about the planet's existence before the ships crashed. (Proposed Casting: Jeffrey Combs)

5: The Pilot – The Miles O'Brien-esque every man of the show, pilot for the colonists' ship who begins the series with a flirtatious, burgeoning romantic relationship with the Captain's Daughter. As this relationship grows, he gradually becomes the voice of the colonists' frustration with the presumption that Starfleet protocol should govern the settlement. When the prevailing sentiment among the civilians turns to making the planet a more permanent colony, they try to force him into a position of leadership in opposition to The Captain. (Proposed Casting: Idris Elba)

6: The Ensign – A Bajoran ensign communications officer, a female version of Harry Kim, thrust into a situation she isn't ready for and forced to cope. The idea would be that rather than rise to the challenge, she is representative of those Starfleet officers who don't make it, and usually wash out, but is in a crisis situation where she can't do that. It would be revealed at some point in the first season that much of her lack of self confidence stems from a brief period in which she was assimilated by the Borg while on Borg inoculation detail, a condition that thankfully for her is now easily cured, but not without some lasting psychological trauma. (Proposed Casting: Erica Cerra)

7: The Ambassador – A Changeling who was aboard the ship as a passenger on her way to Tzenketh space, in the form of a young woman she met on Deep Space Nine. The alliance with the Dominion still being tenuous, her motives are often seen as suspicious by the others, especially when she spends most of her time searching the planet for something she refuses to tell anyone about (revealed at some point to be an infant Changeling, one of the 100 sent off to explore the universe). While on the planet, she finds that she is unable to change shape, stuck between her human form and her gelatinous state to sleep, which is thought to be an effect of the planet, but would later be revealed to be a chemical injected into her by The Doctor to keep her in check. (Proposed Casting: Summer Glau)

8: The Jem'Hadar – The Ambassador's personal bodyguard, a Jem'Hadar soldier who remained a willing servant of the Founders after their species was granted independence and cured of their addiction to Ketracel White as a condition of the treaty with the Federation. He reasons that rather than live free with his people on one of their new colonies in the Gamma Quadrant, he still owes his life to the Founders regardless of the circumstances, though he does not see them as Gods as they once did, but now more like parents to which he has an obligation. He spends his time protecting The Ambassador and helping her search the planet for the other Changeling she senses, otherwise evoking the strong silent nobility of a samurai warrior. (Proposed Casting: Tony Todd)

9: The Chef – A supporting character and member of the colonists, a young Cardassian chef representing one of the first generation to come out of the Cardassian Civil War. The idea behind his character would be to show the kind of Cardassian who wasn't involved in the backstabbing intrigue of Dukat and Garek, just an average citizen whose unquestioned love for his fascist government was finally called into question when his society broke down, resulting in his not knowing what to do with this life. He decided to join the colony to find a fresh start, and would have a possible romantic relationship with the Bajoran Ensign as the two gradually learn to transcend the historic differences between their two peoples (Proposed Casting: Burn Gorman)

10: The Klingon – Not a member of either crew, but rather a female Klingon warrior from the distant past who was stranded on the planet (from her perspective) a few months prior to the crash of the two ships. As the planet travels in time as well as in space, she is from a time when the Klingons were still enemies of the Federation, but is forced to work with them for her own survival after her own crew succumbed to some mysterious force on the planet that made them all commit suicide. (Proposed Casting: Rekha Sharma)

11: The Soldier and The Old Woman - Two recurring characters who would introduce part of the over arching mystery of the show. Both members of the colonist group, one a mercenary in the Tzenkethi wars returning to exact some sort of debt or revenge, the other a seemingly kindly old woman who sought to live out the last years of her life off world, being one of the rare humans never to leave Earth in her lifetime. The two would be revealed to have a strangely familiar relationship where they seem to be keeping each other in check, implying that they are not as human as they appear and that the events of the series are part of some great cosmic chess game between them. (Proposed Casting: Peter Weller and Betty White)

Possible Characters I'm not quite sure about yet -

1: The Romulan Ensign – Only concerned that by adding him, I would be introducing too many main characters, the basic idea would be that he is the first Romulan to officially graduate the academy since the re-unification with Vulcan, learning to live and work under Federation values and to keep his Machiavellian impulses in check. (Proposed Casting: Iwan Rheon)

2: The Holographic Engineer – This one might be too on the nose. I thought about introducing the idea that in the wake of the EMH's efforts towards Holographic Civil Rights, sentient holograms are now free to live and re-produce as a species, with the deliberate creation of Holographic life programmed to serve humans being outlawed as slavery. The chief engineer of the ship would have been a Hologram, now advanced with an internal mobile emitter system, reactivated on the planet. Again, might also be too many characters. (Proposed Casting: Claudia Christian)

That's it for Part Two, Stay tuned for Part Three if you like to check out my loose assemblage of ideas concerning how the series would play out season to season. Or give up now, as no one would blame you at this point.

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