‘Strange New Worlds’ Actor Adrian Holmes Talks Bringing Mythic ‘Star Trek’ Character to Life and Endearing Note From LeVar Burton
“Admiral Robert April was first introduced, albeit briefly, in 'Star Trek: The Animated Series,' which ran for two seasons in the early '70s.
Adrian Holmes was stunned.
The euphoria of being cast in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds was still coursing through him as he began to do research into his character, Admiral Robert April.
Not only was he the very first captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise in Star Trek lore, April was the lead when the legendary Gene Roddenberry created the series — before it was retooled for Christopher Pike and then a third time for James T. Kirk.
Admiral Robert April was first introduced, albeit briefly, in Star Trek: The Animated Series, which ran for two seasons in the early ’70s. He would not be portrayed again until Holmes landed the role for the new Paramount+ series.
Calling it an “honor” and “a dream” while talking with The Hollywood Reporterabout his time on Strange New Worlds, Holmes noted that he has been a fan of the franchise since his youth. In addition to the rapport built with castmate Anson Mount, who plays Capt. Pike, Holmes tells THR he is thrilled to see where this journey to the stars will take him.
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How did you become involved with the series?
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. 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.
I’m glad that you talked about diving into the character. He’s so mythic in Star Trek lore. Were you given a backstory to help you develop the character, or did you develop your backstory, or was it all canon?
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. 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.
Thus far, you’ve worked with Anson the most. How has it been building that deep rapport your characters have for one another? He told me in a previous interview that the opening snow scene was pretty chilly for you two.
(Laughs.) Yeah, if you look at that scene, you’ll see that I look a lot bigger than I normally am, and that’s because I have about 15 layers underneath that jacket. We had a very cold day of shooting, but I tell you, it looks so magnificent onscreen with him on the horse and the ship coming down, kicking up the snow. I thought it was just such a beautiful teaser and introduction for my character.
And Anson, he is just a constant professional. He pays very close attention to detail. He knows the ins and outs of the script and the characters and what works and what doesn’t. He’s very easygoing and makes us all feel safe and comfortable. I’m looking forward to going back and cooking it up with him again.
That’s great and leads me to my final question. I know you can’t say much, but is there anything you’re able to tease about the Admiral April’s future? I’m hoping we see a heck of a lot more of him.
You know, your lips to God’s ears, man. (Laughs.) I feel the same way, but to be honest with you, I have no idea. I know he’s alive. (Laughs.) And I returned to shoot some more, but I don’t know where my journey is taking me. We’re just going to have to wait and see what happens.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds streams new episodes Thursday on Paramount+.“