It appears Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will introduce James Tiberius Kirk far sooner than anyone suspected.
TVLine reports former The Vampire Diaries star Paul Wesley will play the legendary character in the debut season of the new Star Trek series. In a statement, executive producer Alex Kurtzman and showrunners Akiva Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers said, “Paul is an accomplished actor, an astonishing presence and a welcome key addition to the show … Like all of us, he is a life-long Star Trek fan, and we are excited by his interpretation of this iconic role.”
Of course the exact why of his appearance on a show set ten years before he takes command of the U.S.S. Enterprise is anyone’s guess. In fact, Twitter is already abuzz with speculation and accusations of the show breaking continuity. From the original series episode, “The Menagerie,” Kirk (played by William Shatner) says he met Christopher Pike a handful of times, mostly notably when Pike was promoted to Fleet Captain. According to Memory Alpha, Kirk spent the mid-to-late 2250s as an instructor at Starfleet Academy and aboard the U.S.S. Farragut. The site’s assertion is based on statements made in the Original Series, so they are the strongest canonical pointers to the character’s activities in the era of Strange New Worlds. So, it is entirely possible Captain Pike (Anson Mount) will encounter Lieutenant Kirk aboard the Farragut in a moment Kirk subsequently forgot.
Or, perhaps, continuity is taking a back seat to a new drama between the characters. The J.J. Abrams Star Trek films also made Pike and Kirk more familiar than what was suggested in “The Menagerie.”
Whatever the truth, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds begins its mission through space May 5th on Paramount+.