There had been some fan discussion about whether James Tiberious Kirk should (or would) be a part of the newest Trek show — “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.” Now, fans can put the question to rest, as the world knows that Kirk will indeed be part of the story going forward.
Many thought it just made sense to include Kirk in the new stories, as Uhura will be involved (though played by the multi-talented Celia Rose Gooding). Now, everyone can stop the speculation.
Thanks to a story by Peter White for Deadline, fans know that actor Peter Wesley will fill those iconic shoes worn by the legendary actor William Shatner 56 years ago. Kirk was most recently portrayed by Chris Pine in J.J. Abrams’ “Kelvin” series of “Star Trek” films.
Alex Kurtzman, the executive producer of all “Star Trek” shows now streaming and in development for the Paramount+ network, said Wesley is a life-long Trek fan.
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“Paul is an accomplished actor, an astonishing presence, and a welcome key addition to the show,” said Alex Kurtzman along with Akiva Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers (as reported by Deadline). “Like all of us, he is a life-long ‘Star Trek’ fan, and we are excited by his interpretation of this iconic role.”
Goldsman and Myers are co-showrunners for “Strange New Worlds.” Wesley is known for roles on the series “The Vampire Diaries” and “Tell Me A Story” and the film “History of Evil.”
Passing the Torch: Wesley and Shatner
In a post on Instagram, Wesley said that he was “humbled” to be taking on the role of Kirk.
“I am deeply humbled and still a little startled to have been given the honor of playing the inimitable James T Kirk,” Wesley said in the post. “Ever since I was a kid, I have been awed by the imaginative world Gene Roddenberry created.”
“Recently, I boarded a flight to Los Angeles to discover that the man in the empty seat beside me was the one and only William Shatner, having himself just returned from space,” wrote Wesley. “I could barely put two words together, but ultimately I managed to say hello, and we chatted.”
“I’m not one who usually believes in fate, but this was more than a coincidence,” Wesley wrote. “And of course, I had to get a picture. So thanks, Mr. Shatner, for the good company.”
While Wesley himself might shrug off fate, it is interesting that his last name is Gene Roddenberry’s middle name. The name Wesley was chosen for a character on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” as played by actor Wil Wheaton. Many say that Wesley Crusher was meant to be a young Roddenberry.
Fans might wonder why Paramount+ let the cat out of the bag now — why release the news that a new actor had been cast to play Kirk? It could be because Wesley was photographed with Christina Chong (La’an Noonien-Singh) in Toronto on set.
While the photos did not identify him as Kirk, Paramount may have wanted to ensure that there was no speculation by fans that Wesley was a different character.
Countdown to May 5, 2022
“Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” will begin streaming on May 5, 2022, and will star Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike; Rebecca Romijn as Una; Ethan Peck as Spock; Jess Bush as Nurse Christine Chapel; Melissa Navia as Lt. Erica Ortegas; Babs Olusanmokun as Dr. M’Benga; Bruce Horak as Hemmer; Chong as La’an Noonien-Singh and Gooding as Cadet Nyota Uhura.
Goldsman and Myers are co-showrunners, with executive producers Jenny Lumet, Heather Kadin, Frank Siracusa, John Weber, Rod Roddenberry, Trevor Roth, and Aaron Baiers.