Strange New Worlds actor Adrian Holmes is cognizant of his place in Star Trek history bringing back a character from the franchise’s distant past, the USS Enterprise’s first captain, Robert April (originally introduced in The Original Series‘first spinoff, Star Trek: The Animated Series). The animated incarnation was voiced by James Doohanwho also played Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott in TOS as well as TAS. Holmes plays the live-action version in the Paramount + series premiere episode “Strange New Worlds” and he spoke about his contribution to the “Star Trek” canon.
Not only was April the first captain in the lore, but also the original when creator Gene Roddenberry first conceived TOS for NBC before the next revision featured Jeffrey Hunter’s Christopher Pike for the original pilot “The Cage”. The final version ended up with William Shatner’s James Kirk at the captain’s chair with Hunter unable to commit and a cast overhaul that only retained Leonard Nimoy as Spock. Holmes recalled when he got cast for SNW. “I got a call from my agent and was told about it. I put together a [taped audition], sent it in, and went on with my life. And then they reached back and said they wanted to give me some notes and had me do it again, “he said.” And then they said, ‘You’re great. You got the part. ‘ I was just like, ‘Wow!’ I started doing research on the character because, at first, I wasn’t too familiar with Robert April when I was cast. Then I started going through the backstory, and I understood the gravity of this man, the importance and significance of his involvement in Starfleet. “
A Warm Star Trek Welcome from a Next Generation Star
After diving into April’s history, Holmes was sent a surprise from a Next Generation star. “April was Gene Roddenberry’s original pitch back in 1964 to CBS for the captain role, but he was changed to Capt. Pike later when NBC accepted it,” he recalled. “That was cool to discover. And then, in the 1974 animated series, he was really introduced in ‘The Counter-Clock Incident.’ So, it’s cool how it all came together. I’m learning a lot. I grew up a big sci-fi fan. A friend of mine is friends with LeVar Burton, and LeVar was so kind. He sent me a video welcoming me to the franchise, and I was just so moved by his generosity. He basically said, ‘Welcome. We are family, and we’re just proud to have you.’ He said that when Gene set out to make Star Trek, he knew that as human beings, we could get our shit together. And if we were to become a space-faring civilization, we had to solve the problems that lie in here now. That is the core of Star Trek’s ethos. It’s about us all working together to build a better future. What I love is the diversity and inclusivity of the franchise. It’s very progressive and forward-thinking, which goes to support the building of a better future. Representation matters. “
For more on Holmes talking about his recruitment scene with star Anson Mount (Pike), and what else he can reveal about April’s future, you can check out the interview here. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds streams Thursdays on Paramount +.