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Is Number One an alien? ‘Strange New Worlds’ writer explains Illyrian canon

Number one there is a secret. In episode 3 of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – “Ghost of Illyria” – Una Chin-Riley (Rebecca Romijn) reveals that she is a member of a genetically engineered group known as the Illyrian. While this news came as a shock to Captain Pike and crew, heavyweight Trek fans have known since 1989. But which Illyrian are we talking about? Inverse checked with Bill Wolkoff, who co-wrote “Illyrian Ghosts” with Akela Cooper, for all the details on Number One, the new Illyrians and other The Illyrians who reappeared in 2004. Front spoilers.

Dr. M’Benga (Babs Olusanmokun) and Number One (Rebecca Romijn) in “The Ghosts of Illyria.”CBS / Paramount +

Is Number One an alien?

Although Una’s Discover her appearance suggests she is human, what we learn in “Ghosts of Illyria” is that she is hiding the fact that she has been genetically modified and is a secret member of Illyrian. But what To be an Illyrian?

“Una is not human,” said Bill Wolkoff Inverse. “She just looks human. Illyrian is an alien species. In Una’s case, she’s an Illyrian turned human… She’s forced to hide part of her identity, part of herself. “

In this episode, we learn that there are a number of different Illyrian colonies scattered throughout the galaxy, which makes exactly The colony to which Una came is still a mystery. Will that mystery be solved? Talk to Wil Wheaton in the official post-Star Trek show, Room readyRebecca Romjin said that the plot will continue to “play out in a rather intense way.”

“Here’s what we know,” Wolkoff said. “After she glowed, Una studied the records of Illyrian genetic variations involved in disease control, especially those relating to the ‘early settlements’ on the Vaultera Nebula. . She then tells Captain Pike that she is from a far away Illyrian colony. Take from there what you will do.”

Majel Barrett is Number One in the first season Star Trek pilot episode, “The Cage.”CBS / Paramount +

Origins of the Illyrians

In 2017 – before Una was confirmed for Discover Part 2 – character is described as Illyrian in the first match Discover Novel, Desperate hour by David Mack. But this isn’t the first time Number One has been classified as part of the elusive Trek species. As Wolkoff confirmed, the inspiration from Trek lore goes even deeper.

Vulcan’s Glory was the novel we were talking about,” said Wolkoff. This 1989 book, detailing Spock’s first mission with Captains Pike and Una, was written by one of the most influential writers on the planet. Original line“Wonderful DC Fontana.”

DC’s late Fontana, a classic Star Trek Writer of episodes like “This Side of Heaven.” She also wrote the 1989 novel Vulcan’s Glorywhere Number One is dubbed Illyrian.Albert L. Ortega / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

The notion that the Illyrians are “a self-modifying alien species”, was not invented at all by Strange new world So does the writing team. Greg Cox Novel 2015 Child of two worlds suggests that the Illyrians practiced selective breeding, which can be understood as genetic engineering. “It pits them against Starfleet, an organization with anti-GMO laws dating back to the Eugenics War,” explains Wolkoff. “We thought it was a rich place to draw from to tell her big story.”

The “other” Illyrians

Although “Ghosts of Illyria” eventually reconciled Una’s backstory with past Star Trek books, a species known as the Illyrian appeared in a 2004 episode of the prequel series. Enterprise. “Damage” is set in the year 2154, which is 105 years before the events Strange new world. The Illyrians in “Damage” are not human like Una, nor are the genetically modified fire ghosts that saved Pike and Spock in “Ghosts of Illyria”.

Casey Biggs as Captain Illyrian in 2004 Enterprise episode “Damage.”CBS / Paramount

So what is the deal? The Illyrians are there Enterprise – those with rough foreheads – so are the Illys from Strange new world? The short answer is yes. Here’s how Wolkoff says it all works:

“I think that fits with what happened in the episode. There’s another scene in which Una studies potential Illyrian modifications, and on the watch screen we get a glimpse of what some of them look like. I have seen one Illyrian with webbed hands and feet, another with pointed eyebrows… I certainly believe that Illyrians can also have rough foreheads! And if Una had researched long enough, she might have found a file about those Illyrians. “

So you have it. An Illyrian might look like Rebecca Romijn. An Illyrian may have webbed hands. Illyrian can transform into a fire ghost or have a rough forehead. As Una told La’an, the Illyrians genetically engineered themselves to adapt to the environments of specific planets. Which means the next time a Trek alien seems perfect for their planet, it’s possible it could be an Illyrian.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds airs new episodes on Paramount+ every Thursday.

https://www.inverse.com/entertainment/strange-new-worlds-una-illyrian Is Number One an alien? ‘Strange New Worlds’ writer explains Illyrian canon

Emma James

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