Star Trek: Who Are The Lanthanites? | Games Rants
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Star Trek: Who Are The Lanthanites? | Games Rants

While the last alien race introduced into Star Trek was preceded by high levels of drama, Lanthanites are receiving a much more low-key rollout that has endeared fans across the board. The Kelpiens and Ba’ul of Star Trek: Discovery were part of a fascinating storyline. Saru (Doug Jones) and his sister Siranna (Hanna Spear) had to let go of their prey mentality to embrace leadership positions. They even spearheaded the initiative to bring their home planet of Kaminar into the United Federation of Planets. The Lanathanites, however, had a very different sort of introduction to audiences.

Pelia (Carol Kane) hilariously sidles into her role as the sassy wine aunt who’s great with engines. She’s the first of potentially many Lanthanites who makes her first appearance in the season premiere of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. La’an Noonien-Singh (Christina Chong) sends a distress signal to the Enterprise crew in season 2, episode 1, “The Broken Circle.” When Admiral Bob April (Adrian Holmes) denies Spock’s (Ethan Peck) request to respond, they take matters into their own hands. Pelia ends up caught in the middle when Jenna Mitchell (Rong Fu) is sent to fake an engineering emergency. The joke’s on them, though, because Pelia turns out to be an immortal being who’s more than happy to help stir up a little trouble.

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The Lifespan of Lanthanites

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Assuming that Pelia is not an anomaly, the Lanthanites of Star Trek are so humanoid in appearance that they’re almost indistinguishable from their (largely) Earth-based peers. Pelia herself has big curly hair, a wise face with mischievous eyes, and an eyebrow raise that could rival that of any Vulcan. She looks like she’d be just as comfortable running a bookstore in San Francisco as she is weaving her 5’2” form through a menagerie of Starfleet technology. However, one thing Pelia’s people have over humans is a very long lifespan.

She reveals in Strange New Worlds that she’s over 100 years old at the time it takes for Nyota Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding) to recognize her accent as that of a Lanthanite. Later in season 2, Pelia exclaims that she hasn’t “taken a math class since Pythagoras made the crap up!” No wonder she’s up for the adventure of breaking rules and saving friends; she literally has nothing to lose. It’s unclear whether other Lanthanites would be so generous with their time. Yet, considering how most of them died of boredom, it isn’t too hard to imagine them being just as excited to join the chaos.

Pelia on Alternate Earth

star trek snw pelia la'an noonien singh

Strange New Worlds has a knack for revisiting classic Star Trek tropes in new and fun ways. Season 2, episode 3, “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow,” takes fans on a familiar spin around the old time travel block with La’an and James Kirk (Paul Wesley). They find Pelia in Vermont running a quaint antique shop of questionable integrity called The Archeology Department. It’s not too different from the curio shop introduced in Star Trek: Enterprise, and is just as involved in intergalactic hijinks.

Pelia is not yet a world-class engineer. Yet, she’s able to steer the two in the right direction toward finding a large source of cold fusion material despite being under the impression that such a thing doesn’t really exist. Meanwhile, the interaction leaves fans with more questions than answers. Are there other Lanthanites on this alternate version of Earth? Are they, like Pelia, living in obscurity on the off chance that the “no money, socialist utopia thing [turns] out to be a fad”? Star Trek has yet to bring in other Lanthanites, and it’s making fans all the more curious about what this mysterious race of aliens might be like.

Pelia and Star Trek Legacy Characters

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In fact, the way Lanthanites are being slowly brought into the universe is quite different from the way most other aliens have been introduced. Pelia has been the first and only, as opposed to one of many brought in at once. She’s also been connected with other legacy characters revived in Strange New Worlds. Ironically, her first meeting with Spock gives her a chance to identify his mother Amanda Grayson (Mia Kirshner) as one of the first Humans with whom she shared her true heritage. Sadly, this is done offscreen. Fans don’t even get to see them interact when Amanda makes a rare appearance on the ship in season 2, episode 5, “Charades.”

Fortunately, fans are front and center when Pelia is reunited with a fresh-faced Montgomery Scott (Martin Quinn). He bustles in holding a hotchpotch of tech junk that only someone with a future in making something out of nothing could love. She recalls him being both her worst and favorite student. This might be the start of a strange but beautiful friendship, the same way fans are hoping this is only the beginning of learning more about the elusive Pelia and other Lanthanites.

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It’s hard to say much about Lanthanites when the only things fans know of them is through meeting Pelia in Strange New Worlds. Are the rest of her people eccentric like her? Have they also struck an interesting balance between being both frazzled and unbothered? If they’re anything like Pelia, they’d be equally successful at driving Una Chin-Riley/Number One (Rebecca Romijn) up the wall. If there are any plans to bring more Lanthanites into the picture, they’ve been put on indefinite hold in the midst of the actors’ strike.

Not to worry, though. Star Trek fans have never simply relied on the source material for their world-building needs. They hop online and chat among themselves using a mixture of new information, old references, and plain old imagination. Strange New Worlds has done enough by introducing Lanthanites. Until the series takes it further, it’s up to Star Trek fans to figure out among themselves what this shiny new race of aliens is all about.

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