Today CBS announced actor Anson Mount has been cast as Captain Christopher Pike in Star Trek: Discovery. Pike of course was the captain of the USS Enterprise prior to Captain Kirk, and in the era of Star Trek: Discovery. The USS Enterprise made a surprise appearance in the final moments of the season one finale of the show and has been said to play an important part in the second season, which begins production this month.
— Star Trek: Discovery (@startrekcbs) April 9, 2018
Anson Mount may best be known for his leading role in the AMC series Hell on Wheels. Mount is currently the lead in ABC’s Marvel show Inhumans, which is not expected to be renewed for a second season. CBS did not provide any details on how many episodes he is slated for, but the casting of an actor like Mount indicates Pike could have a significant recurring role in the second season.
Mount gets emotional sitting in the captain’s chair
In a post today on his Facebook page, Mount discussed
I HAVE JOINED STARFLEET!!!
Well, the cat’s finally out of the bag and I can stop pretending I’m not in Toronto. I could NOT be more excited to FINALLY be a part of the series that is partly responsible for me taking this roller coaster ride through the entertainment industry.
A few days ago I had my first opportuntity to sit in the captain’s chair… and I’m not embarassed to say I got a little emotional. I have been a Star Trek fan since about the age of 8 when I first discovered the original series when it was syndicated throughout the United States on our various local stations… AND to play a Captain… AND for that captain to be the iconic Christopher Pike… AND to be doing it on a show thas has the highest production values I’ve ever seen on television… AND to be doing it with CBS (who cast my in my first pilot ever)… whew… out of breath.
Suffice to say I’m TREMENDOUSLY humbled and thankful for this opportunity. I will work my ass off to live up to the very understandable expectations this role accompanies. So let’s set our course and take engines to Warp factor 5. Engage!
Mount also updated his profile pics on Twitter and Facebook, to reflect his new role.
4th actor to play Pike
Captain Pike was originally played by Jeffrey Hunter in the the unaired Star Trek pilot, “The Cage.” After Hunter chose not to take part in the second pilot shot for Star Trek, the character of James T. Kirk was created, with William Shatner being cast to lead the series. The episode “The Menagerie” used footage from “The Cage” to establish Pike as Kirk’s predecessor, with actor Sean Kenney playing the former captain following a crippling and disfiguring accident.
In the alternative timeline of the JJ Abrams Kelvin-verse films, the role of Pike was played by actor Bruce Greenwood in the 2009 Star Trek film and 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness.
Pike’s casting was expected, but what about Spock?
Pike is the fourth significant character from Star Trek canon to be recast for Star Trek: Discovery. Season one saw the casting of James Frain and Mia Kirshner as Spock’s parents Sarek and Amanda, as well as Rainn Wilson as Harry Mudd. The introduction of the USS Enterprise as the season one cliffhanger, and indications that it will play a significant role in at least the early episodes of the second season, made the introduction of Pike as a character in Discovery almost inevitable.
Pike’s introduction to Discovery was hinted at by executive producer and co-showrunner Aaron Harberts, in a post season one finale interview, saying of Pike:
The thing to consider about Captain Pike is, from an audience and writer’s point of view, there is something very exciting about a key character from [Star Trek: The Original Series] who’s only been explored in two episodes of the original series — three if you consider how [the rejected pilot for the original series] “The Cage” works into the puzzle in TOS. When we think about the idea of Captain Pike, it opens up some large possibilities. We will never say never to exploring him a little bit more.
Star Trek history dictates that Spock served on board the USS Enterprise under Captain Pike, something that was hinted at in the season one finale of Discovery with Sarek and Michael Burnham giving each other knowing looks when the Enterprise was first identified. With Pike being a part of season two, it raises the question of Spock appearing as well. However, executive producers for Discovery have consistently dismissed the idea of bringing Spock into the show. Most recently, Harberts explained their thinking on the subject:
[W]e realize how incredible Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto’s performances were and what [Star Trek movie director] J.J. Abrams and the original series were able to pull off with that character. Finding another actor that could even come close to what Leonard Nimoy did with the original portrayal, we’d never want to go down that road.
Second season production starting soon
The second season of Discovery begins shooting shortly. Showrunner Aaron Harberts revealed to TrekMovie the season will have 13 episodes. No date has yet been set for the premiere.
Mount is the second actor confirmed to be joining Discovery for season two. At WonderCon CBS revealed a bonus scene from the season one finale, which introduced the character of Leland, head of Section 31, played by Alan Van Sprang, who says he will have a “massive” role in season 2.
Star Trek: Discovery is available exclusively in the USA on CBS All Access. It airs in Canada on the Space Channel and streams on CraveTV. It is available on Netflix everywhere else.
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.