Star Trek Guide

Strange New Worlds: Captain Pike Finally Gets His Star Trek Show 54 Years Later

With the announcement of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Captain Christopher Pike finally gets to headline his own Star Trek series after 54 years. CBS All-Access' newestStar Trek spinoff, Strange New Worlds, comes from Akiva Goldsman, Alex Kurtzman, and the same creative team who brought James T. Kirk's (William Shatner) predecessor as captain of the Enterprise back to prominence in Star Trek: Discovery season 2. Strange New Worlds reunites Pike with his two key Starfleet Officers, Number One (Rebecca Romijn) and Mr. Spock (Ethan Peck), as they continue the early voyages of the Starship Enterprise a decade before Kirk takes command.

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Pike isn't just the original Star Trek Captain; he was also the first to be replaced. When Star Trek was being developed by creator Gene Roddenberry in the mid-1960s, Jeffrey Hunter was cast as the brooding Captain Pike alongside Leonard Nimoy as the Vulcan Spock and Majel Barrett as the Starship Enterprise's cool Executive Officer, Number One. The first Star Trek pilot, "The Cage", where Pike encountered the telepathic aliens of the planet Talos IV, was rejected by NBC as "too cerebral." However, the network gave the green light for Roddenberry to try again and produce a second pilot. Going back to the drawing board, Roddenberry kept only Spock and the Enterprise before reconceiving and recasting all of the other characters, led by the more dynamic William Shatner as Captain Kirk. The rest is pop culture history, and the Star Trek phenomenon has endured and thrived for over five decades, largely without Pike.

However, Roddenberry brilliantly incorporated the footage of "The Cage" into the two-part Star Trek season 1 episode "The Menagerie" so that Kirk could meet his predecessor Captain Pike (now played by Sean Kenney), who was the victim of a tragic accident that left him confined to a wheelchair. Thanks to "The Menagerie," Trekkers got to witness Pike's heroism on Talos IV, but at the end of "The Menagerie," Pike returned to Talos IV to live out his days with the illusion-casting aliens; he was written out of Star Trek and wasn't seen again in canon. In 2009, J.J. Abrams' Star Trek movie reboot introduced the alternate timeline's Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood), but he was also left wheelchair-bound; Pike turned the Enterprise's captain's chair over to the younger Kirk (Chris Pine) before ignominiously dying in Star Trek Into Darkness.

In truth, Christopher Pike's actual deeds didn't match his legend until Anson Mount portrayed him in Star Trek: Discovery season 2. Taking temporary command of the U.S.S. Discovery, Pike led Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and her crew on a hunt for the time-traveling Red Angel, ultimately saving the galaxy from Section 31's sentient and corrupt A.I. called Control. Discovery season 2 also reintroduced Spock, Number One, and the Starship Enterprise into its 2257-set prequel era, but it was Pike who truly won over Trekkers' hearts. Gallantly portrayed by Mount, Pike emerged as every bit the calm and compassionate but bold and extraordinary leader Star Trek fans had always been told he was - and Trekkers wanted more of him.

By the time the Discovery jumped over 900 years into the future, fans were clamoring for Pike to get his own spinoff. Pike starring in a series of Short Treksonly fanned that flame. To their credit, Star Trek's brain trust listened, and the result is Strange New Worlds, the first Star Trek series headlined by Captain Pike. And, while it took 54 years for Pike to get his own series, the stars finally aligned with the perfect actor, fervent fan support, and co-stars whom Trekkers are excited to explore the galaxy with. In their video announcement of Strange New Worlds, Mount, Romijn, and Peck promised fans "a classic Star Trek show that deals with optimism and the future." These are heartening words, especially since a sizable segment of the fandom yearns for Star Trek to deliver something closer to Gene Roddenberry's original vision than Star Trek: Discovery or even Star Trek: Picard have thus far.

Unfortunately, Strange New Worlds is another prequel set a decade before Kirk's era, and the series will face many of the same challenges Star Trek: Discovery had to avoid violating established canon. However, what has indeed been lacking from CBS's new Star Trek series is the sheer adventure of exploration and seeking out new lifeforms and new civilizations. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is ideally positioned to fulfill the Enterprise's classic mission statement "to boldly go where no one has gone before." It's a job Captain Pike has waited 54 years to do, and it will be a thrill to see him finally get his shot.