So the question is … where are M’Ress and Arex in these new “Star Trek” movies and shows?
The Kelvinverse “Trek” movies, as well as shows like “Discovery” and “Strange New Worlds,” all take place during or shortly before the “Original Series” timeline. (Well, okay, not “Discovery” so much anymore, but the first two seasons at least.) While some of the characters may be alternate reality versions of the original crew, all of these films and shows feature at least some classic characters who we’ve already met, before the events of the first two TV series.
“Discovery” and “Strange New Worlds” go out of their way to re-introduce younger versions of beloved characters like Spock, Kirk, and Scotty in unexpected and dramatic ways, and add new elements to their characters that expand on what we already knew about them. Even characters who had very little screen time previously, like Captain Pike, get to take center stage and keep it for a while, establishing their own greatness as both accomplished Starfleet officers and multifaceted fictional characters.
But although these new live-action films and shows have the budget to turn Caitians and Edosians into a reality, and even though characters like M’Ress and Arex have so little built-in canon that modern storytellers could build them up free from most expectations, they’ve been conspicuously absent until “Very Short Treks.” And again, “Very Short Treks” isn’t even canon.
Considering the obsessive urge long-running franchises like “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” have to turn every minor character, moment, and even stray lines of dialogue into excuses for spin-offs, “Trek’s” weirdly stubborn refusal to make M’Ress and Arex series regulars — or at least prominently featured guest stars — is simply confusing. Hopefully, these new appearances remind the producers, and audiences, that they’re out there somewhere, and they’re just waiting to make a triumphant and canonical return.