How Paul Wesley's Kirk Will Be Different In Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, According To The Showrunner

Paul Wesley as Kirk on Star Trek Strange New Worlds
(Image credit: Paramount+)

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will take Paramount+ subscribers on a journey back to some of the earlier days of the Enterprise, and welcome back Anson Mount’s Christopher Pike as captain of the ship. Of course, the series made major news and got fans talking when it teased plans for Season 2, and announced that Paul Wesley will join as James Kirk. We already know from Mount that Pike isn’t going anywhere following Kirk’s arrival, so what else can we expect that’s different?

CinemaBlend spoke to co-showrunner Henry Alonso Myers about Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and asked about some details regarding Paul Wesley’s James T. Kirk. Star Trek: Discovery re-introduced Spock as a character in a very different place than the version that Leonard Nimoy portrayed. As such, I was curious if Kirk will be different when we see him in Season 2 of Strange New Worlds, and if his story is rooted in something the character mentioned in TOS. Myers laid out a lot of what to expect from Paul Wesley’s Kirk in Season 2:

Yes to all that. Part of the job here is to figure out the stories that came before the person that they be [in TOS]. I feel like if we start with them being that person, it’s just going to be a repeat of what came before that, you know what I mean? So, in order to give the actor something to play, in order to make the character interesting, we don’t have them start exactly where they are. But, there’s echoes of that.

As some might’ve guessed, Kirk wasn’t just naturally captain material from the start of his career in Starfleet. With that said, Henry Alonso Myers did tease that there are echoes of his polished self in Season 2 of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and we’re also getting some differences in his personality to help keep the character interesting. 

Henry Alonso Myers went a little deeper into details regarding James Kirk’s upcoming stint in Strange New Worlds, including details on where he is in life. Amid speculation from fans on what Kirk will be up to when Season 2 kicks off, we now have a definitive answer:

The other thing is we’re doing an interpretation. This is our version of these things. Kirk, in this time period, is younger than the Kirk that we get to know. It’s a little closer to the Kelvin universe movies in terms of [his] age range. He’s going through a different thing. He’s an officer on the Farragut, you know? There’s a lot of stuff to play that hasn’t been played before and that’s what we’re interested in.

James Kirk’s time on the USS Farrgut happened under Captain Garrovick, and had a rather unpleasant end. Kirk was on the Farragut when it engaged a dikironium cloud creature at Tycho IV, which killed Garrovick and 200 other crewmembers on board. That’s just one of the major events that occurred during that period though, and with a blank slate in Star Trek canon to fill, there is room for Kirk to have other adventures that aren’t that tragic event. 

Paul Wesley has William Shatner’s blessing to play Kirk, but Henry Alonso Myers made one thing clear about the two performances. When Wesley comes into Star Trek: Strange New Worlds to play James Kirk, it’ll be his own portrayal, and not an imitation of Shatner. 

Paul Wesley’s not just coming in and imitating William Shatner. He’s coming in and giving his interpretation of it. Which, we hope, doesn’t take away from William Shatner. We hope it deepens and shows an appreciation for what William Shatner eventually did with the role. Because, who doesn’t love Kirk, man [laughs]? Kirk’s awesome! It would be, in betting terms, it would be like leaving money on the table if we were to do this time period and never see Kirk. It’s like an opportunity.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds wants to tell the story of its characters before the original series, and that includes James Kirk. As Henry Alonso Myers expressed, the show doesn’t want to pass up an opportunity to tell stories about Kirk’s pre-captain days, and it feels like not doing that would be a mistake. 

News of James Kirk’s upcoming arrival, as exciting as it was, made some fans worry that Anson Mount’s Pike is on his way out sooner than later. While we’ve already gotten hints from Mount that this isn’t the case, Henry Alonso Myers officially put all speculation to rest in terms on whether Kirk will take control of the Enterprise as Captain:

No, he’s a character. He’s a character on the show. The story we’re telling is still the story of Pike and Pike’s crew. And really, that’s the thing that’s super important. It’s an ensemble. This is a show that’s about all of these people as much as it is about Pike.

Captain Pike is captain of the Enterprise in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and based on that comment, it’s going to stay that way. That’s great to hear, especially with how well critics say Pike and others gel together in the new series. Hopefully, when Paul Wesley’s Kirk makes his first appearance, he’ll share the same chemistry with the cast, and maybe even get a scene with Spock

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds streams on Paramount+ on Thursdays. There are many shows in the franchise arriving in 2022 and beyond, so be sure to keep tabs on what’s currently airing and what’s around the corner for Trek all year long.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick contains multitudes and balances his time reporting on big happenings in the world of Star Trek, the WWE, reality television, and other sci-fi shows.