Star Trek: Strange New Worlds: Celia Rose Gooding and Helped Christina Chong Get Runa’s Role

During the Star Trek Universe panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, Celia Rose Gooding, who plays the role of communications prodigy Ensign Nyota Uhura on the Paramount+ series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds said that if audiences thought that the eighth episode “The Elysian Kingdom” was wild, then there are a few episodes in the second season that go even bigger.

In “The Elysian Kingdom,” an outer space entity who eventually takes the name of Dr. M’Benga’s (Babs Olusanmokun) dead wife “Deborah” transforms Captain Christopher Pike’s (Anson Mount) USS Enterprise crew into storybook characters. However, one of the most dramatic transformations is experienced by Head of Security La’An Noonien-Singh (Christina Chong). Accompanying this new version of La’An, who calls herself “Princess Talia,” is Princess Runa, played by Chong’s own pet dog, Runa.

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In a Comics Beat interview, Chong revealed that Runa’s big guest-starring role was supported by none other than SNW co-star Celia Rose Gooding. Chong explained they concocted the idea during the COVID-19 quarantine to help boost Runa’s social media presence: the dog’s M.O. would be that she wanted to appear in a guest-starring role in Star Trek. The idea gained traction when Chong’s make-up artist suggested she simply ask whether Runa could appear. Soon Gooding had entered into the picture: “She was kind of my back-up for the whole thing,” said Chong.

Gooding was literally behind Chong as they approached SNW producer Chris Fisher, who asked whether Runa’s presence was “a casting or an emotional support thing.” According to Chong, that’s when Gooding spoke up, saying, “Oh, we all want Runa in this show.”

Runa Officially Becomes Another Enterprise Pet

Paramount+

When she made her scene-stealing appearance in “The Elysian Kingdom,” Runa won over the hearts of Trekkies as surely as Queen Grudge had before her on Star Trek: Discovery. While it’s unclear whether the in-episode canine was spontaneously created by Deborah or, if like the other Enterprise crew members, she was a pre-existing presence who was recast in a new storybook role, perhaps a return from the furry, four-legged actor isn’t out of the question.

According to Chong, episode director Amanda Row went out of her way to praise Runa’s performance, approaching Chong mid-filming to inform her that Runa was doing “an incredible job.” Chong went on to affirm that this is just the standard set by Runa: “[She] steals the show wherever she goes… I recently did a Canadian TV show, etalk, and took Runa with me. Again, she completely stole the show.”

Perhaps some “wild” season two SNW episodes to which were alluded during the Star Trek Universe panel at SDCC 2022 will feature the return of our new favorite canine actor, Runa!