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‘Vampire Diaries’ star Paul Wesley cast as James T. Kirk in ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’

By Kara Santos Published Mar 16, 2022 1:32 pm

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds has cast Vampire Diaries alum Paul Wesley in the iconic role of James T. Kirk for the Paramount Plus show’s second season.

Strange New Worlds is due to premiere on Paramount Plus on May 5. The Star Trek series was renewed for a second season back in January, with that season already in production.

The show follows the adventures of Captain Christopher Pike, the predecessor to James T. Kirk becoming captain of the starship USS Enterprise. Wesley, who is best known for his lead role in the supernatural drama series The Vampire Diaries, will appear as a young version of Kirk. 

Wesley is now the third actor to play the character of Captain Kirk in a live-action project. Most famously, William Shatner played Kirk in all episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series as well as in multiple films. Chris Pine has played an alternative young version of the character in the 2009 Star Trek film reboot, and reprised his role in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) and in Star Trek Beyond (2016).

A fourth film is in production, with Pine, Zachary Quinto (Spock), Zoe Saldana (Nyota Uhura), Karl Urban (Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy), John Cho (Hikaru Sulu) and Simon Pegg (Montgomery “Scotty” Scott) set to reprise their roles.

Wesley is best known for playing Stefan Salvatore in The CW drama series The Vampire Diaries, where he starred for eight seasons and just over 170 episodes. He has also starred in films like Roll Bounce, Peaceful Warrior, and Before I Disappear, the last of which he also produced.

“Paul is an accomplished actor, an astonishing presence and a welcome key addition to the show,” said Strange New Worlds executive producer Alex Kurtzman and showrunners and executive producers Akiva Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers. “Like all of us, he is a life-long ‘Star Trek’ fan and we are excited by his interpretation of this iconic role.”

After the news broke, Wesley tweeted that he was “deeply humbled and still a little startled” to have been given the honor to play James Kirk. 

“Ever since I was a kid, I have been awed by the imaginative world Gene Roddenberry created,” the actor posted Wednesday (March 16).

Along with a screenshot of a news article confriming the casting news, Wesley added a photo sharing that he coincidentally sat next to Shatner on a flight to Los Angeles after Shatner’s recent trip into low Earth orbit on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space shuttle.

“I could barely put two words together but ultimately I managed to say hello and we chatted,” Wesley wrote. “I’m not one who usually believes in fate but this was more than a coincidence… So, thanks Mr. Shatner for the good company. And for seating us together, my thanks to the great bird in the sky. Can’t wait for all of you to see our Captain Kirk on your screens.”

Shatner himself has given his blessing for the role.

"Keep my ship and crew safe, Captain! Congratulations," Shatner wrote on Twitter.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds also stars Anson Mount as Capt. Pike, Ethan Peck as Spock, and Rebecca Romijn as Una Chin-Riley aboard the Enterprise prior to the events of the original Star Trek series.

Check out the teaser for the first season of the new Star Trek series below.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is all set to engage on Paramount Plus on May 5, 2022.