Every new incarnation of Star Trek has been different, and so too have the captains. From the brash, confrontational Captain Kirk to the more cerebral Captain Picard, every one has been unique. However, for the first time, a Star Trek show has central character already known to fans: Captain Christopher Pike of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
Debuting tonight on Paramount+, Strange New Worlds is set before Captain Kirk takes command of the USS Enterprise. Starring Anson Mount as Pike, the series debuts after he and his crew made hugely popular appearances on sister show Star Trek: Discovery. However, the true history of Strange New Worlds goes all the way to the 1960s when the pilot for the original Star Trek‘s show, “The Cage,” featured Pike instead of Kirk. The Original Series talked about Pike’s eventual death in “The Menagerie,” so we already know what happens to him.
How Captain Pike is different from Kirk or Picard
Speaking with SYFY WIRE, Mount says that while Strange New Worlds will feel more like old Star Trek than either Discovery or Picard, Pike is a brand new kind of captain:
What I said to [co-showrunners Akiva Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers] early on is: ‘If Kirk brings boldness, machismo, whatever you want to call it, and Picard brings the brain, I want Pike to bring the heart.’ I think his superpower is empathy, which is hand-in-hand with humility. And I think that’s what makes him a good captain.
The specter of Captain Pike’s death will hang over the character. “There are times when the show is quite serious,” Mount told Inverse. “We had to deal with Pike’s existential crisis, and the best way to do that was to see him in his own element. We’d never seen that before. We got a sense of it. But we’ve never really seen Pike outside of the confines of the usual Star Trek architecture. And so, we wanted to make him look and feel as different than the last time we saw him.”
The series premiere find Pike in the Montana wilderness, riding over the snow on horseback. “I think horses are some of the best actors that you could hope to work with because everything that they think or feel is exhibited on their skin,” Mount said. “There’s nothing like acting outside in the real world.”
Strange New Worlds will feature plenty of other classic Star Trek tropes. It returns the franchise to its roots of exploration, adventure, cooperation, and scientific curiosity. “Each episode really is its own thing,” Mount said. “We’ve been encouraging our directors to come in with very strong visions, not just in terms of what lenses they’re choosing or the technical aspects. But really like, what’s something you’ve never seen happen on the Enterprise that you want to see happen. What genre do you want? We have many different genres this season.”
Anson Mount and the Strange New Worlds cast and crew enjoyed their time making season 1. Mount described it as “some of the most fun I’ve ever had working on a show.” With season 2 already confirmed, Mount says that he wants fans to know that Strange New Worlds won’t “reinvent” the franchise and that the series will be faithful to the core of Star Trek.
Early reviews of the series are largely positive. We’ll see how fans react.