William Shatner originated the role of Captain James T. Kirk in the Star Trek franchise, and Chris Pine succeeded him for the Kevin timeline-set movies. Now a third actor will get to tackle the character in his adult years, as The Vampire Diaries’ Paul Wesley has been cast as Kirk for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2. The first official image of Wesley on the set of the upcoming Paramount+ series dropped yesterday (a week after the first trailer came out), and now he and Shatner have shared a sweet exchange that’ll surely warm the hearts of many Star Trek fans.
It goes without saying that being selected to play one of the sci-fi genre’s most iconic characters is a big deal all on its own, but it also doesn’t hurt to score the approval of the man who played James T. Kirk onscreen for almost three decades. Check out what William Shatner had to say about Paul Wesley joining Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, as well as Wesley’s response:
Thank you my friend, it’s an honor! I will do my best! https://t.co/Wa63gvjjnPMarch 16, 2022
Paul Wesley’s interaction with William Shatner followed a few hours after the Tell Me a Story actor revealed on Twitter about how he recently he ended up being seated next to the original Kirk actor aboard a flight. It’s unclear if Wesley told Shatner at that time he’d been cast as James Kirk for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds or if Shatner found out at the same time as the public, but Wesley called their meeting “more than a coincidence.” Now we begin the waiting game to see how Wesley’s version of Kirk compares to both Shatner’s and Chris Pine’s.
Although we’re a little under two months away from Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1’s arrival, the series' second season was announced in January, and it will become accessible to people with a Paramount+ subscription sometime in 2023. So it’ll be a while until we learn how Paul Wesley’s James Kirk fits into the Strange New Worlds picture, although some fans have noted online that the character has captain’s armbands in that official picture. Given that Anson Mount’s Christopher Pike is still captaining the Enterprise during this era, it’s unclear if this means Kirk commanded another ship before he took control of the Enterprise, or if we’ll somehow be flash-forwarding to a time in the Original Series era when he’s the man in charge of the Enterprise.
Either way, James T. Kirk is just the latest familiar face from Star Trek: The Original Series who’s being brought into Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Along with Anson Mount reprising Christopher Pike following his time as a regular on Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, we’ll also reunite with Rebecca Romijn’s Una Chin-Riley (a.k.a. Number One) and Ethan Peck’s Spock. Strange New Worlds will also feature Celia Rose Gooding as Nyota Uhura, Jess Bush as Christine Chapel and Babs Olusanmokun as M’Benga, while the starring new characters include Christina Chong as La'an Noonien-Singh (yes, she’s a relative of that Khan), Melissa Navia as Erica Ortegas and Bruce Horak as Hemmer.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1 premieres Thursday, May 5, but there are plenty of other Paramount+ shows you can check out in the meantime, including fellow Star Trek series Discovery, Picard, Lower Decks and Prodigy. Our 2022 TV schedule is also available for you to get a better lay of the TV land.
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