Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' featured a surprising death in its first season. Hemmer, the often-grumpy Aenar serving as the Enterprise's chief engineer, sacrificed himself after being infected with Gorn young. The dark turn took some fans by surprise, and many were heartbroken to bid Hemmer farewell. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds co-showrunner Henry Alonso Myers has now discussed the reasons for Hemmer's death, saying that he hoped to surprise fans with Strange New Worlds' first season, and challenge the old Star Trek red shirt trope by giving this red shirt a death that was full of meaning and dramatic weight.
"You don't want to look back at your season and say, 'Phew, we didn't take any risks, thank God!' You want to look back and be like, 'Boy, I hope these risks paid off,' because I know as a viewer I love it when they take risks," Myers tells CinemaBlend. "I love it when [shows] try different things. Hemmer's death is a heartbreak, but, my God, it's one of the best scenes we did all season. It's a beautiful scene…it just makes me cry. The way that Bruce performs it, Celia performs it…and Melissa and Celia's speech at the funeral it's a really moving scene, and it does wonders for the Uhura character."
Myers continues, "A death like that has to matter. You want it to feel real. This is a universe where people die. It's become a joke when a redshirt dies that it doesn't mean anything. Part of our goal was to remind the audience what it does mean when a redshirt dies. That it has some resonance, that there's drama that comes out of it…the core of what we're trying to do on Strange New Worlds is tell character stories through genre."
ComicBook.com spoke to Bruce Horak, who plays Hemmer, around the time that the episode debuted. He shared his initial reaction to reading Hemmer's death scene.
"Well, I think my initial reaction was sadness that it was actually happening," Horak said. "Then I went into denial because I thought, "There's absolutely no way that they're going to shoot this thing." And then, honestly, there was a great deal of relief because, from the moment I put the red shirt on, I knew I was going to go. And I just really wanted it to be cool. "Please, guys, please just make it cool." And Davy Perez just, I think, knocked it out of the park. Not only is it a cool death, but it's got a heroic moment to it, it's got heart to it, and I hope anyway, that it's a memorable one that leaves some people feeling like, "No, it can't be." And hopefully, there're as many people in denial and rage about it as I am."
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is streaming now on Paramount+. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 has already wrapped filming.