Strange New Worlds Finally Reveals The Enterprise Captain Before Pike
Over 40 years after he was introduced in Star Trek: The Animated Series, Strange New Worlds debuts Admiral Robert April (Adrian Holmes) in canon.
The legendary Captain of the Enterprise before Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) is finally introduced in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Picking up months after the ending of Star Trek: Discovery season 2, Strange New Worlds launches Captain Pike's USS Enterprise on a new five-year voyage of galactic exploration. But first, a reluctant Pike is called in for a rescue mission to the planet Kiley 279 to save his Number One, Lt. Commander Una Chin-Riley (Rebecca Romijn), and solve a difficult First Contact crisis.
Star Trek: The Animated Series established that before Christopher Pike and Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), the Captain of the USS Enterprise was Robert April. Described and illustrated as a 75-year-old Caucasian male with white hair, April was voiced by James Doohan in TAS. Captain April oversaw the construction of the Constitution-class starship in the 2240s and he was made Captain of the Constitution-class USS Enterprise NCC-1701 in 2245. TAS also said that April's wife Sarah was his Chief Medical Officer and after his tenure on the Enterprise was over, April was promoted to Commodore and served in an Ambassador role. Although Star Trek: TAS' canonical status has been questionable for decades, Star Trek: Discovery season 1 revealed that Robert April was listed among Starfleet's Greatest Captains. Star Trek: Discovery season 2 also established that Christopher Pike was April's First Officer.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' premiere episode finally brings in Robert April (Adrian Holmes), who is now a Starfleet Admiral. After Pike ignored multiple attempts to contact him on his communicator, Admiral April personally flew a shuttlecraft to Montana to recruit Pike for the Kiley 279 Enterprise rescue mission. Afterward, April personally went to bat to Starfleet Command for Pike and used his influence to keep him from being charged for violating General Order One, which has been given the name of the Prime Directive. April's closeness and loyalty to Pike in spite of the difficult position his former Number One placed him in shows the strength of their relationship and camaraderie in just a couple of scenes.
Strange New Worlds reimagining Robert April as African-American further toys with the canonical status of Star Trek: The Animated Series. The character TAS introduced now exists in flesh-and-blood but he doesn't resemble the animated version. (Robert April was the name of the Captain in Gene Roddenberry's early pitch for Star Trek.) However, the live-action Strange New Worlds overrides TAS and Admiral April is now the canonical version of the character. April is also clearly not serving in an Ambassador's capacity in Starfleet. While it's still part of the character's backstory, April spearheading the development of the Constitution-class starship makes him the logical choice to oversee Starfleet's five-year missions of exploration and give Pike the Enterprise's marching orders.
April's long-awaited introduction signals what part of the fun of Strange New Worlds will be: seeing classic Star Trek characters brought back in new (and younger) iterations. Strange New Worlds already includes Star Trek: The Original Series' Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding) as a Cadet, Nurse Christine Chapel (Jess Bush), and Dr. M'Benga (Babs Osulanmokun) as part of the show's main cast. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2 will also bring in James T. Kirk (Paul Wesley) and it brought in Jim's older brother, Lt. Samuel Kirk (Dan Jeannotte). Robert April has been a character Trekkers have been aware of and wanted to see for decades, and Admiral April does not disappoint. Hopefully, Admiral April makes further appearances in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.