Captain Christopher Pike is an important part of Star Trek lore, especially once the J.J. Abrams timeline repositioned him as a lynchpin of the whole reboot, and Paramount+ (though it was CBS All Access at the time) announced back in 2020 that it was moving ahead with spin-off of Star Trek: Discovery starring Anson Mount as Pike, Rebecca Romijn as Number One, and Ethan Peck as a young Spock. That series, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, still won’t premiere until this May, but now Paramount+ has announced that Pike is about to lose the spotlight on his very own show.
That’s because, as reported by Deadline, none other than James T. Kirk will be stopping by Strange New Worlds for its eventual second season. The younger Kirk will be played by Paul Wesley from The Vampire Diaries, filling in for William Shatner and Chris Pine (from the original series and the rebooted movies, respectively), with the series taking place many years before Kirk ever became the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise—the Deadline story makes a point to specifically say that it’s before he ever stepped foot on the ship, which we’re going to assume is a nod to some canon thing about the very first time Kirk boarded the Enterprise. (Some of us know more about Wars than Trek, alright?)
In a cute little wrinkle of fate, Wesley revealed today that he’s been a Star Trek fan since he was a kid and recently happened to be seated on a flight next to William Shatner. Wesley tweeted that he “could barely put two words together,” but he eventually worked up the nerve to talk with Shatner. Hopefully he got some pointers on that… veryyyy… specific… way of… speaking!
As mentioned above, season one of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will premiere in May on Paramount+. Season two is presumably filming, since Paramount has released a photo of Wesley as Kirk (you can see it at the Deadline link), so maybe it’s not too far off.