The Vampire Diaries Star Joins Star Trek: Strange New Worlds To Play Captain Kirk

Paul Wesley in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
(Image credit: Paramount+)

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds promised to take fans back to the era of the original series with some classic characters, but fans generally assumed that with Captain Christopher Pike at the helm, it was a pre-Kirk Enterprise. Now, we can throw that notion completely out the door as the upcoming Paramount+ series confirmed that an actor from The Vampire Diaries franchise, Paul Wesley, will play the iconic role of James T. Kirk. 

That's right, Star Trek fans, Captain Kirk will appear in Season 2 of Strange New Worlds. Executive Producer Alex Kurtzman and Showrunners/Executive Producers Akiva Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers released the following statement in regards to Paul Wesley's casting. 

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.

While there are few details about Paul Wesley's upcoming stint as James T. Kirk, I have to say that he looks good in the Starfleet uniform. His inclusion in Season 2 opens up a lot of potential for the story, including perhaps some early interaction between Kirk and Spock (who appears shirtless in the latest footage) prior to Kirk becoming Captain of the Enterprise. Anson Mount's Captain Pike is still in charge of the ship for the time being, so it might be a while until Kirk steps on board the ship as Captain. It's even possible that never happens... at least on this show, anyway. 

Star Trek lore provides a few details about James T. Kirk's time in Starfleet pre-Enterprise. We know he joined the USS Republic as an ensign, held a position teaching at Starfleet Academy, and served as a lieutenant aboard the USS Farragut.  The Starfleet Academy position is particularly interesting to me, especially with the news that a spinoff series based on Starfleet Academy is in development. Who knows, though? Strange New Worlds might reveal a period of Captain Kirk's life that Star Trek hadn't previously covered.  

Paul Wesley is, as mentioned above, a star who fans of The Vampire Diaries know well. His work as Stefan Salvatore played a part in the prolonged success of the franchise. This will be the latest Paramount+ series Wesley joins, as he was a part of the series Tell Me A Story, which the streamer cancelled in 2020

I'm very curious to see how large Paul Wesley's role is in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, especially given his credentials as a lead actor. Wesley is capable of shouldering a series, should Paramount+ want that, but it remains to be seen whether or not the world is ready for another series centered around James T. Kirk. 

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds premieres over on Paramount+ on Thursday, May 5. Pick up a Paramount+ subscription to see the series, and be sure to take a look at what other upcoming Star Trek shows will arrive in 2022. 

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.