Since its premiere on Could 5, Paramount+’s Star Trek: Unusual New Worlds’ inaugural season has efficiently delivered on the promise made by Star Trek: Discovery Season 2’s introduction of a pre-Kirk USS Enterprise.
Of the crew led by Anson Mount’s Captain Christopher Pike, helmsman Lieutenant Erica Ortegas has shortly develop into a fan favourite together with her comedic quips and easy talent as a pilot.
By portraying an entirely unique character — with not one of the canonical baggage of legacy roles like Spock, Chapel, and Uhura — actress Melissa Navia has had her personal journey fleshing out the supremely assured, loyal, and decided Ortegas.
Talking with TV Fanatic just about from Toronto, Canada, the place she and the solid are within the last levels of filming Season 2, Navia speaks candidly about how outstanding it has been to develop into part of the Star Trek household.
On the newest episode, Star Trek: Unusual New Worlds Season 1 Episode 8, entitled “The Elysian Kingdom,” your entire crew undergoes transformations into characters from a fairy story.
Not one to be ignored, Ortegas turns into the valiant Sir Adya, probably the most loyal and noble knight-defender of the great King Ridley.
The manufacturing’s costuming and equipment are sumptuously excessive and spectacular intimately, so the query begs to be requested, did Navia get to maintain Adya’s sword?
“No, I did not. I did not get to maintain any of it. However that they had my knight’s outfit on show in Chicago, after which that they had it on the Paley Heart in New York.
“That made me so comfortable as a result of I wasn’t in Chicago, however I really feel like I used to be as a result of I am so hooked up to that costume. I do not even like calling it a dressing up as a result of it appears like an outfit that I might put on.
Final wknd to see “The Visionary Universe of @StarTrek: Unusual New Worlds” on the @paleycenter in #NYC. The solid stopped there on our option to the premiere final month. Our uniforms & my spiffy knight’s garb will probably be there: https://t.co/Se9Id6sjGt #StarTrek #StrangeNewWorlds pic.twitter.com/sIHZtYwWx2
— Melissa Navia (@melissaCnavia) May 28, 2022
Whereas Ortegas has been current on each episode this season and integral to many missions, the present has but to discover her backstory. What has Navia discovered and found about her character?
“I knew from the get-go that she was the helmsmen, clearly, and a fight veteran. The truth that she’s so implausible at her job was written into the strains.
“What I have been seeing from followers is everybody desires extra of Ortegas, and all people’s like, ‘Effectively, when are we going to listen to extra? When are we going to get extra backstory?’
“I’ve to go together with what I am given within the script, and the writing has been unimaginable throughout the board. However everyone seems to be getting these story arcs, and [fans are] like, ‘What about Ortegas?’
“What I kinda say is it is all there, proper? Like all human being, every part that we’re informs every part we do, so although you are not getting these emotional arcs like for others, I am like, ‘She’s flying the ship. She’s busy. She would not have time to be in these Is-it-a-relationship/Is-it-NOT-a-relationship? [situations].’
“In each episode, I really feel that you just actually see one other layer of Ortegas. I joke that everybody has these longer story arcs, and I find yourself creating lots of my very own backstory, and I inform no person.
“It is in my head, and so that you get all these micro beats [where] I am like, ‘Nobody’s ever gonna know that is what I am pondering,’ however it does in some way inform what I am doing.
“Individuals’s response to how a lot she loves being a helmsman [is great]. The best way that occurred was that I took a lot time to determine what I used to be doing on the helm as Melissa, because the actor, as a result of I felt like if Ortegas is basically this implausible a pilot, I am unable to simply be making up what my fingers are doing as I’m going.
“I must have lots of forethought put into this. I do every part with intention in order that it comes off as if it isn’t with intention, simply occurs to be. That is what we do as actors.
“However you are going to discover out – even after Episode 8; we solely have two extra episodes – there are further layers that you’ll see. And in addition different sides. I am going to simply go away it at that. I do not need to give something away.
“However even speaking about Sir Adya in [Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1 Episode 8], it is this absolute fantasy character of Ortegas, and although it is a character from a e book, it’s an extension of her that was created by Dr. M’Benga’s daughter.
“I really like [that] as a result of she mainly created a narrative out of the story that her father’s been telling her, and that is what one of the best books, one of the best tales do.
“Each episode, we see one other facet of Ortegas, and there will probably be extra backstory to her historical past as a soldier and in addition how she got here to be on the Enterprise a bit bit additional down. Do not need to give away an excessive amount of.
Simply as Sir Adya fiercely protects King Ridley, Ortegas’s unwavering devotion to Captain Pike is obvious. Is Pike the primary captain that Ortegas has served underneath?
“Sure, so far as I do know in regards to the character. I imagine he’s. That might change within the writing. She’s clearly served with different members of Starfleet. She went to the Academy, the place she discovered how one can be who she is.
“By way of Captain Pike, she trusts him a lot, and she or he adores her complete crew. It isn’t [just] that she adores and trusts them, however she respects them as they respect her.
“When individuals discuss how she might be… not flippant however sort of off-the-cuff on the bridge. Generally persons are like, ‘Is it too casual?’ My argument is at all times, ‘No, it isn’t.’
“For those who converse to individuals within the navy, to people who find themselves in life or demise conditions on a regular basis, it is identical to, ‘No, in the event you had been always confronted with potential doom in house, you will have to have the ability to joke or else you’d simply not make it via the day.’
“She’s in a position to joke, and she or he’s in a position to have this glorious camaraderie particularly with Captain Pike, who she appears to be like as much as. She can also get shy round [him] as a result of she does actually look as much as him a lot.
“However she’s in a position to do all that after which be a implausible pilot. She will be able to joke and nonetheless is aware of when to get right down to enterprise, and it is due to the writers that that is labored into it. All I’ve to do is do what I do, however nice writing is the cornerstone of every part.
“We’re very, very lucky on this present – which you guys have seen – that the writing and the tales are simply [big sigh] glorious.”
When TV Fanatic spoke with Trek author Kirsten Beyer about her Star Trek: Picard audio drama, Beyer spoke briefly about her work on Star Trek: Unusual New Worlds in an apart. In regards to the solid, she stated, “The brand new solid for Unusual New Worlds goes to knock all people’s socks off. I can’t look forward to you guys to fulfill them.”
Navia concurs wholeheartedly. “Everybody within the solid is as fantastic as you assume they’re. They’re humorous. They’re clever. They have been with me… I have been coping with all kinds of non-public grief, and so they’ve been completely implausible.
“By way of the writers, due to COVID final yr, we had been in lockdown, and it was troublesome to see all of the writers all through the season as we normally do. I believe I lastly noticed all of them in a single room in September. It was the best factor.
“I felt like I used to be strolling right into a room of rock stars, and so they felt like they had been lastly assembly me. We did not need to be like, ‘Oh my god! I’m so comfortable to fulfill you!’ however I really like all of our writers. We owe what the present is to their minds.”
Ortegas’ trademark transfer is to execute each order she is given completely, regardless of how inconceivable the success. Is there something Ortegas would not do effectively?
“Completely, there’s. Clearly.
“I am making an attempt to consider particular issues. I believe one of many fantastic issues about Ortegas is she’s very assured, so even when she will’t do one thing effectively, she’s assured, not cocky. [Well,] she’s cocky, however a lovable cocky. She’s not obnoxious, proper?
“I might like to be extra like Ortegas in common life as a result of she’s very, very cool. She exudes this confidence [even] when she does deal with one thing that she would not do effectively, or on the subject of relationships the place she would not attempt to be too severe about issues as a result of she’s making an attempt to determine it out.
“So it is a part of who she is — if that is smart — that she is so assured that even when she will’t do stuff effectively, she’s gonna give it a strive.
“I do not know if Ortegas is a good dancer trigger I am not a fantastic dancer. I am not good at it, however I do love dancing. That is the sort of factor the place it is like even when she’s not good at one thing, she’s going to strive it.”
Does Navia have a way of how Ortegas would strategy a troublesome impediment?
“I might say she strategizes. I have been pondering rather a lot about this by way of how she appears to be like as much as Captain Pike. One of many issues she appears to be like as much as him about is that, as a captain, you want to have the ability to strategize and take into consideration so many various issues without delay.
“As a pilot, she is ready to deal with the duty at hand, and she or he does worth each single life that is on that ship. We see that in [Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1 Episode 4], the place we’re being hunted by the Gorn. Lives are misplaced, and also you see the impact of that in everybody on the bridge.
“She does strategize. She has a complete backstory. She’s been via warfare. She’s misplaced mates. She’s misplaced individuals. And she or he makes use of all these experiences to maneuver ahead.
“She’s an actual particular person… in my head. She runs into roadblocks, and also you see her because the lone wolf, which implausible pilots need to be the place they’re sort of ready simply to do what they do and fly the ship and never fear about one million various things.
“As you see what occurs in Season 2, you will get a greater reply to that query.”
How is manufacturing on Season 2 going?
“We’re nearly wrapped. We’re simply going proper towards the tip, to the very end. We’re filming on daily basis.
“We have now a few weeks extra filming, and in some way among the most unimaginable scenes are but to come back. I do know them from the script, however we nonetheless need to movie them.
“It would not matter. Each episode is implausible, and I believe Season 2 could also be even higher than Season 1 if that is potential.”
Even ace pilots want their downtime. What does Navia have deliberate for after manufacturing concludes on Season 2?
“I am gonna take a bit highway journey after which head dwelling. There are tasks that I am fascinated by; my reps are engaged on, however — I talk about it freely as a result of it is essential — I misplaced my companion of seven years [Brian Bannon] in December.
“Loads of what I’ll be engaged on for the subsequent variety of months is memorials for him as a result of that occurred in December, in the midst of the Omicron Variant.
“Additionally, there is a present that I used to be placing collectively referred to as Woman with Brief Hair. It was placed on maintain again within the fall, however now I am unable to do the present with out honoring what’s occurred and in addition honoring Brian in it, who stays and can at all times be an enormous a part of me.
“Loads of my time goes to be writing, spending it with household, and spending it on Brian, which makes me tremendous comfortable. So yeah, there is a present, Woman with Brief Hair, and there is an essay that is on the market that I forgot continues to be… I did not overlook that it is nonetheless on the market, however persons are studying it. It is my opening essay for the present.
“[The show will include] my assortment of essays that I have not but proven to the world. It is about me and my life as — for probably the most half — Melissa with Brief Hair and my interactions with the world.
“My tales and my expertise with grief and with loss and with life and with Star Trek are going to be a giant a part of that trigger I now have a platform that I did not have a yr in the past, and I’ve a fandom that I believe is one of the best fandom on this planet.
“Brian, household, and writing and dealing on my present. And, hopefully, a implausible “different” appearing challenge. If it is actually wonderful and is on the degree of Erica Ortegas, I’ll take it.
How will Woman with Brief Hair be offered when it is prepared?
“I am envisioning it as a dwell factor. I do stand-up comedy too. I have not completed it on stage in a very long time because the pandemic. I envisioned [the show] as –, and it will likely be — a combination of stand-up and storytelling.
“I am a storyteller; as you possibly can inform, I may discuss perpetually. And so it is undoubtedly going to be dwell, and it should be in New York. I am unable to look forward to individuals to see it. It will be about me, however it’ll now additionally at all times be about Brian.
“He is a presence on set. All people is aware of of him, jogs my memory of him, simply all people. He was part of Season 1. I might say Ortegas is who she is, who you guys see; Brian is chargeable for that. He was with me each single day via the filming of Season 1.
“It is the identical via Season 2, simply completely different, however he is there on a regular basis. And talking to the solid and crew, they have been phenomenal. I do not know what persons are alleged to be like when this occurs, however they’ve been distinctive—all people, solid and crew alike.
“I have been very lucky that Life throws loopy issues at you, however I’ve a beautiful household, and I’ve wonderful mates, and I’ve Unusual New Worlds.
“I’ll do my finest to honor [Brian] and to honor all of that going ahead in every part I do.”
— Melissa Navia (@melissaCnavia) January 4, 2018
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Diana Keng is a workers author for TV Fanatic. Observe her on Twitter.