Paul Wesley scored the role of a lifetime when he joined Star Trek: Strange New Worlds as James T. Kirk, and he'll be the latest person to play a key character first made iconic by the actor lagely responsible for it continued success, William Shatner. Shatner’s role as Captain Kirk helped launch a franchise whose popularity continues to this day, so one can imagine it had to be quite a trip for Wesley to sit next to him on a plane not long after landing the sci-fi role. Paramount+ subscribers would no doubt love to hear all the Kirk-related things they discussed on that flight, but according to Wesley, he couldn’t even talk to Shatner about his big new gig.
I had the honor of speaking to Paul Wesley ahead of the season finale of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and mentioned that chance encounter with William Shatner months prior. I'd wondered if Shatner passed on any sage wisdom to playing Kirk or offered some advice, but surprisingly, Wesley said he couldn’t even let the actor know he was going to play the character for secrecy reasons. Wesley broke it all down and explained how the encounter went down:
It’s some cruel fate that Paul Wesley was under strict orders not to spread the news and couldn’t even fill William Shatner in on that he was playing James T. Kirk on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Of course, Shatner eventually found out alongside the rest of the world, and based on his public reactions, he’s supportive of Wesley taking on the role.
Paul Wesley saw William Shatner’s tweet and spoke a bit about it while continuing his story of their airline flight together. While the pair didn’t discuss James Kirk, they did talk about space in another way:
Hopefully, Paul Wesley and William Shatner will get that opportunity in the future, as fans are likely as eager to hear any thoughts and advice Shatner may have the second time they come together. After all, the Star Trek star certainly isn’t afraid to give his opinion on all things Trek, so it would certainly be interesting to hear if he watched Wesley and whatever thoughts he had.
The Season 1 finale of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds welcomed Paul Wesley on as “Captain Kirk,” but not in the way fans were used to. Kirk was Captain in a “What-if” story that occurred in a reality where Pike prevented his own debilitating accident, which meant Kirk never took control of the Enterprise. When Paul Wesley returns as Kirk in Season 2, it’ll be back in the canonical timeline, long before he even officially becomes a Captain.
Co-showrunner Henry Alonso Myers told CinemaBlend to expect Kirk to be different in the upcoming second season, so it’ll be interesting to see how different the character is and how the portrayal digs into other things we know about the character.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1 is currently available to stream on Paramount+. Season 2 is on the way, and with some work already done on Season 3, it’s looking like we might get quite a bit of time to see Paul Wesley’s Kirk in the future.
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Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.