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'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' casts Paul Wesley as a young James T. Kirk for season 2

Actor Paul Wesley as a young James T. Kirk in "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" season 2 coming to Paramount Plus in 2023.
Actor Paul Wesley as a young James T. Kirk in "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" season 2 coming to Paramount Plus in 2023. (Image credit: Marni Grossman/Paramount+)

The upcoming "Star: Trek: Discovery" spinoff titled "Strange New Worlds" just dropped their first teaser trailer this week ahead of its premiere on Paramount Plus on May 5, 2022 but that’s not the only thrilling announcement for avid fans to digest.

Per Variety (opens in new tab) this week, actor Paul Wesley ("The Vampire Diaries") has now signed up aboard the show to play a younger Captain James T. Kirk for next year's "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" season 2.  

It's unclear at this juncture exactly how Wesley's Kirk will dovetail into the series but suffice it to say, this thirty-something version of the legendary Starfleet Captain first played by William Shatner will be perhaps presented as the commander of the USS Farragut prior to stepping into the center seat on the USS Enterprise. You can out our Star Trek streaming guide to catch up on the characters we'll meet in "Strange New Worlds." 

"Paul is an accomplished actor, an astonishing presence and a welcome key addition to the show," executive producer Alex Kurtzman and co-showrunners Akiva Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers noted in an official statement. (opens in new tab) "Like all of us, he is a life-long 'Star Trek' fan and we are excited by his interpretation of this iconic role."

This inaugural season of "Strange New Worlds" seems to be veering away from the overly melodramatic model of "Star Trek: Discovery" and instead warping back to the sort of exciting "planet of the week" exploratory storytelling witnessed in "Star Trek: The Original Series” and even "Star Trek: The Next Generation," which will be a welcome relief for many Trekkies who’d run out of Kleenex tissues. 

“Strange New Worlds" stars Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike, Ethan Peck as Spock, Rebecca Romijn as Number One, and Celia Rose Gooding as Uhura as they cruise the galaxy seeking out new alien civilizations.

Since Captain Pike will most likely still be at the Enterprise helm in "Strange New Worlds" Season 2, it's unclear how the two legendary characters will meet and what adventures they might have together in the larger context of the Federation at this point in time.

Within the realm of "Star Trek" canon as part of the Prime Timeline, the two-part episode from 1966 titled “The Menagerie” give us a small clue as to where their lives might intersect. 

In this iconic chapter of "The Original Series," Captain Kirk informs Commodore Mendez that he encountered Pike as he was promoted to "Fleet Captain" prior to taking over the Enterprise in the year 2265. "Strange New Worlds" season 1 can be traced to a date sometime after 2258, which is where "Star Trek: Discovery" season 2 ended

The USS Enterprise crew is together again in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. (Image credit: Paramount Plus)

Without knowing exactly when we’ll pick up in "Strange New Worlds," the answer to this pivotal captains’ commingling will remain a mystery until later this spring. Nevertheless, this new casting announcement for Paul Wesley is a bold choice for bringing Kirk back into the "Star Trek" fold.

"Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" debuts on Paramount Plus (opens in new tab) starting on May 5.

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Jeff Spry
Jeff Spry

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.