Star Trek: Strange New Worlds casts new Captain Kirk

Star Trek has a new Captain Kirk! Paul Wesley, best known for his role as Stefan Salvatore in The Vampire Diaries, will be pulling on the famous yellow uniform for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, joining William Shatner and Chris Pine as one of the few people to play one of the most iconic roles in sci-fi.

Strange New Worlds is a new show set some years before Kirk’s time as captain of the USS Enterprise, instead following the journey of Captain Pike (Anson Mount). Spock (Ethan Peck) and Number One (Rebecca Romijn) are also aboard. Few were expecting Kirk to show up.

Strange New Worlds promises a return to the episodic style of Star Trek: The Original Series, with more self-contained stories and fewer season-long arcs. The series will also feature Ethan Peck as Spock. However, there are some potential continuity problems here. In Star Trek lore, it’s known that Kirk and Pike don’t meet until Pike is promoted to fleet captain. However, Kirk and Pike did meet before that in the Abramsverse continuity, so they’ve appeared together onscreen before.

William Shatner congratulates Paul Wesley on playing Captain Kirk

After the announcement that Kirk would appear in the show, Wesley tweeted that he was “deeply humbled and still a little startled” about the opportunity to play James Kirk. He also revealed that he got a chance to talk about it with William Shatner when they happened to sit next to each other on a flight. “I could barely put two words together, but ultimately I managed to say hello, and we chatted,” Wesley said. “I’m not one who usually believes in fate, but this was more than a coincidence. … So thanks, Mr. Shatner, for the good company. And for seating us together, my thanks to the great bird in the sky. Can’t wait for all of you to see our Captain Kirk on your screens.”

By the looks of things, Wesley has Shatner’s full support:

While Wesley is best known for The Vampire Diaries, he has also had roles in shows like 24, 8 Simple Rules, American Dreams, Army Wives, Cane, Everwood, Guiding Light, Smallville and The O.C. “Paul is an accomplished actor, an astonishing presence, and a welcome key addition to the show,” said Strange New Worlds executive producer Alex Kurtzman and showrunners Akiva Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers in a joint statement. “Like all of us, he is a life-long Star Trek fan, and we are excited by his interpretation of this iconic role.”

Wesley will appear during the second season of Strange New Worlds. The first season will debut on Paramount+ on May 5.

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