Rebecca Romijn has had a wide variety of movie and TV roles over the past few decades, with recurring roles in Just Shoot Me (1999-2000), Ugly Betty (2007-08), NTSF:SD:SUV (2011-12) and The Librarian (2014-18).
But the role she’s probably best known for is that of Mystique: the sultry, blue skinned, deadly mutant terrorist in the X-Men movie franchise. Romijn played the part four times, appearing in X-Men (2000), X2: X-Men United (2003), X-men:The Last Stand (2006), and in a cameo in X-men First Class (2011.)
The character of Mystique was a mutant whose ability allowed her to mimic anyone’s appearance, making her the ultimate undercover operative. By the time anyone saw through her disguise, they usually ended up unconscious. Or worse.
Rebecca Romijn (at that time, Romijn-Stamos), mesmerised audiences with her exotic look, as her costume was 80% body paint and 20% applied prosthetic decals, in effect making her appear almost nude. She also dominated every scene in her blue form, with her sensual, yet predatory movements.
Romijn has said that although the nine hour process of applying the Mystique look could be arduous, the end result was beautiful – and after all, she was getting paid the big bucks.
Now, 20 years after her first appearance in blue, she dons the command gold of Number One, the first officer of the Constitution Class USS Enterprise in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, premiering in 2021. Little is known about the character of Number One, other than that she’s a highly respected and decorated veteran serving under Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) in the new series.
However, the character of Number One has not had the easiest journey to the screen.
Way back in 1966, when the original pilot for Star Trek (‘The Cage’) was produced, creator Gene Roddenberry – who was very progressive in his thinking – decided to have a woman as the first officer on Enterprise, referring to her only as Number One.
Number One (played by Majel Barrett) was mysterious, incredibly intelligent, and she manned the helm. And had this incarnation of the show moved forward, you would have had a woman as second in command of a starship. That may not seem to be an accomplishment now, but back in 1966 it was a huge step forward.
But 1966 test audiences, especially women, did not like the character – too cool, unemotional, unlikable. Mind you, ‘The Cage’ was also thought to be a bit too cerebral for sci-fi audiences. So, they went back to the drawing board and made several changes for several reasons. Among them was the elimination of Number One. Her unemotional, cool demeanour was transferred to Mr. Spock – the only character to be brought forward into the show we know and love today.
In fact, Number One was so unpopular with audiences that the powers that be were adamant that the actress playing Number One would never work for them again. But Roddenberry was a clever one. He had Majel Barrett dye her hair blonde, and had her play nurse Chapel in The Original Series, hoping no one would notice it was the same actor. They didn’t.
And now, in Star Trek Discovery‘s second season, we meet Rebecca Romijn’s Number One in a few regular episodes, plus a few mini episodes called ‘Short Treks,’ where we’re given a fascinating glimpse into the character.
Audience response to this version of Number One has so far been very positive, as has everything dealing with the upcoming show. Romijn has said that she’s very excited to be able to explore her character’s backstory in upcoming seasons. (Hint: we now know that her name is Una!)
Are you a big fan of Rebecca Romijn? Or Number One, or Mystique? Or all three? And are you looking forward to Star Trek: Strange New Worlds? Let us know in the comments below.
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