The first season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds arrives in May, but production has already started on season two. And today Paramount+ made a big announcement about an iconic character.
Kirk on Strange New Worlds
The Vampire Diaries star Paul Wesley has joined the cast of season two of Paramount+’s Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Wesley will play the role of James T. Kirk, a character first introduced in Star Trek: The Original Series and portrayed by William Shatner. There are currently no details on if Wesley will be a series regular, or have a guest or recurring role in season two. However, Paramount has confirmed that Anson Mount will continue to star as Captain Pike and be a series regular in season 2.
Paramount has also released the first image of Wesley as Kirk.
In a statement, Executive Producer Alex Kurtzman and Showrunners/Executive Producers Akiva Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers said of the 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.
UPDATE: Wesley statement
Paul Wesley has followed up the news with a comment on Twitter saying he is “deeply humbled” to have the “honor of playing the inimitable James T Kirk,” nothing he has been a fan of the franchise since he was a kid. He also shared a recent image of himself with William Shatner.
His Twitter thread goes on to conclude:
Can’t wait for all of you to see our Captain Kirk on your screens.
I am deeply humbled and still a little startled to have been given the honor of playing the inimitable James T Kirk. Ever since I was a kid, I have been awed by the imaginative world Gene Roddenberry created.
Recently, I boarded a flight to LA to discover that the man in the pic.twitter.com/U8GVD4ZemP
— Paul Wesley (@paulwesley) March 15, 2022
UPDATE 2: Shatner responds
William Shatner has responded to Paul Wesley on Twitter, offering his congratulations. He also said, “Keep my ship and crew safe, Captain!”
Thank you my friend, it’s an honor! I will do my best! https://t.co/Wa63gvjjnP
— Paul Wesley (@paulwesley) March 16, 2022
In addition to Wesley’s comment, the image (above) released by Paramount+ also shows the actor as Kirk in a Starfleet uniform with captain rank in the command chair. The first season of Strange New Worlds is set in the year 2259. Kirk assumed command of the USS Enterprise at the age of 32 in 2265, taking over from Captain Christopher Pike. Before the Enterprise Kirk served aboard the USS Republic as an ensign, the USS Farragut as a lieutenant, and as an instructor at Starfleet Academy. If season two of Strange New Worlds progressed just a year to 2260, it would be too early in canon for Kirk to be a captain, and definitely too early for him to be serving onboard the USS Enterprise. Sticking with canon, Wesley’s Captain Kirk could appear if the show setting jumps forward, or in a flash-forward to the future, or even via time travel.
Already spotted filming in Toronto
Production has begun in Toronto on the 10-episode second season of Strange New Worlds, and Wesley has already been spotted in location shooting. Toronto Filming on Twitter posted an image of the actor on Monday, along with co-star Christina Chong (La’an Noonien-Singh). If you look closely, each is wearing a different badge, indicating Wesley’s Kirk is assigned to a different ship, as was the tradition in the TOS era.
Paul Wesley of Vampire Diaries was spotted on the Yonge & Dundas set of #StarTrekStrangeNewWorlds today with Christina Chong (La'an) 🖖🎥🎬#StarTrek #PaulWesley #Legacies #VampireDiaries pic.twitter.com/45ylmoiIfk
— Toronto Filming (@TOFilming_EM) March 15, 2022
TikToker savvvyyyyd got some footage of the pair and even got a selfie with Wesley.
Wesley on Vampire Diaries
Wesley is best known for his leading role on The Vampire Diaries, which was the CW’s most-watched series for 8 seasons, where he also served as director and producer. In the below clip you can see Wesley both directing and acting in The Vampire Diaries.
Strange New Worlds season one coming this May
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds debuts on May 5th, streaming exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S., Latin America, Australia and the Nordics. The series will air on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and stream on Crave in Canada, with additional international availability to be announced at a later date.
You can watch the trailer below.
[International fans can watch at startrek.com]
Find more news and analysis for Strange New Worlds.