Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is upon us! The fifth Star Trek series to air in this era will reintroduce fans to the characters of Captain Christopher Pike, Number One, and Spock, as well as a number of new and old characters alike. Now that the show is close, Paramount+ has announced another captain of the Enterprise will be appearing in the show. Robert April has been revealed to be making his live-action debut in the upcoming series and Adrian Holmes has been cast as the character.
For long-time fans, this name is familiar, but might not be familiar to new ones. Robert April first debuted in the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode The Counter-Clock Incident where it was revealed that he commanded the Enterprise on her first five-year mission, which began in 2245. The events of The Counter-Clock Incident see the Enterprise escorting Commodore Robert April to the planet Babel where Federation ambassadors await. The purpose of the mission is to forcefully retire April, who’s grown to retirement age. When the Enterprise enters a negative universe, everyone on board begins to get younger. Since April is much older than the rest of the crew, he’s able to take command and save the ship and her crew. Since this one appearance, the character of April has only appeared a number of times, most notably in books and comics.
Star Trek: The Animated Series exists in a strange place in the canon of Star Trek. In the 1980s, Gene Roddenberry himself disowned the series and didn’t consider it to be a canonical part of his franchise. It’s not too clear why he did this, though. Some sources have stated that he was just never happy with the finished product. But his request to strike the series from the official canon coincided with him losing control of Star Trek: The Next Generation, so it could have been in retaliation to that. Over the years, however, elements from the series would be considered canon, even if the show itself wasn’t. Things like the Caitian alien species, Kirk’s middle name being Tiberius, the aforementioned Robert April, and a few other things have been incorporated into canon over the years.
This is a very deep-cut character for anyone who isn’t familiar with the in-universe history of the Enterprise. April was a highly decorated captain before his promotion. After the completion of his five-year mission, he received the said promotion, and his first officer, Christopher Pike, took command of the Enterprise. Pike would go on to command the famous ship in three five-year missions before his own promotion sometime before 2265. It was at this point that command of the ship was given to Captain Kirk, where he would go on his own five-year mission (the events of Star Trek: The Original Series) before accepting a promotion of his own.
The casting of Robert April has proven to be a hot topic around the internet. Adrian Holmes, a black actor, is playing a character who first appeared to be white. But it’s important to note that since Star Trek: The Animated Series is not considered to be canon, the only thing that audiences have ever been told about Robert April is his name, and that’s it. If canon is so important to those who are outraged about this, then let the record be put straight right now.
Adrian Holmes has been wowing critics with his turn as Uncle Phil in Bel-Air and it’s truly exciting to see him as Robert April in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Now all three Enterprise captains can share the screen together for the first time ever. It’s doubtful April will have a significant role in the series, but surely with the casting of Paul Wesley as James T. Kirk, the destined captain of the Enterprise, it would seem a missed opportunity to not get them all together.