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Strange New Worlds Should Make A Controversial JJ Abrams Choice Canon

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  • Posted on 06th Aug, 2022 19:14 PM

J.J. Abrams changed Star Trek when he made Kirk a Beastie Boys fan. Strange New Worlds should also show Celia Rose Gooding's Uhura's love of Beyoncé.

One of J.J. Abrams' controversial Star Trek decisions - his embrace of pop music - should become canon in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Coming off of its acclaimed season 1, Strange New Worlds will return for season 2, which has already wrapped production, in 2023. Strange New Worlds season 2 will follow up on the cliffhanger of Lt. Commander Una Chin-Riley (Rebecca Romijn) getting arrested by Starfleet and it will also introduce the younger Lt. James T. Kirk (Paul Wesley), who is expected to come aboard Captain Christopher Pike's (Anson Mount) Starship Enterprise.


Strange New Worlds owes much of its style and tenor to how J.J. Abrams rebooted Star Trek in 2009. Abrams' hit movie made Star Trek young and cool, and the director gave the franchise a much-needed facelift in terms of cinematic visual effects. But Abrams also took some big swings with Star Trek, and one of them is how he incorporated pop music into the film. The young Jim Kirk (Jimmy Bennett) stealing his stepfather's convertible and blasting the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" was controversial with longtime Star Trek fans who took umbrage with a late 20th-century chart-topper being played in the 23rd century. Yet hearing "Sabotage" in Star Trek was also unforgettable, and director Justin Lin doubled down on the Beastie Boys by reincorporating "Sabotage" into Star Trek Beyond. In fact, "Sabotage" became a crucial component of Star Trek Beyond's climax, and Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) even broke the fourth wall by telling the audience "It's a good choice!" when his favorite song from childhood started playing.

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Related: Strange New Worlds' Spock & Uhura Just Passed Their Toughest Test

Celia Rose Gooding, who plays Cadet Nyota Uhura in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, is a massive fan of Beyoncé in real life. When Screen Rant interviewed the cast of Strange New Worlds at San Diego Comic Con 2022 and asked Gooding if Uhura is also a Beyoncé fan, the actress replied, "She always was." While this isn't canon because Uhura has not referenced Beyoncé on Strange New Worlds, it's not out of the question that Uhura would be a fan of one of the 21st century's most prolific pop stars. Rather, Strange New Worlds should make it canon that Uhura is a fan of Beyoncé just as Gooding is in real life. After all, if Kirk in the Kelvin timeline can love the Beastie Boys, why can't Uhura profess her love for  Beyoncé's music on the Starship Enterprise?

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Star Trek Has A Weird Relationship With Popular Music

Longtime Star Trek fans will have a knee-jerk negative reaction to the idea that Uhura would love Beyoncé on Strange New Worlds and this signifies the unusual relationship between Star Trek and pop music. Because Star Trek is set 300+ years in the future, the idea somehow pervaded the franchise that no one listens to pop music in the 23rd century and beyond. Star Trek: The Next Generation compounded this belief by showing the crew of the USS Enterprise-D only listening to classical music, opera, and jazz. Yet rock music has seeped into Star Trek on occasion; Zefram Cochrane (James Cromwell) listened to Roy Orbison's "Ooby Dooby" and Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride" in Star Trek: First Contact, Lt. Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Ensign Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) sang David Bowie's "Space Oddity" together on Star Trek: Discovery, and Star Trek: Prodigy featured AC/DC's "Thunderstruck."

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Along with the two occasions the Beastie Boys played in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek movies, the franchise didn't break because pop music was heard in Star Trek. Meanwhile, Celia Rose Gooding's stunning musical chops were established in Strange New Worlds episode 2, which is a precursor to how Nichelle Nichols' Uhura often sang exotic songs in Star Trek: The Original Series. But just as classical music endures into the present day, it also makes sense that people would still listen to modern pop music in the future. There's really no reason why Uhura wouldn't canonically be a fan of Beyoncé just as Celia Rose Gooding is. It would simply add an even more relatable dimension to Uhura in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

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