In 1965, television producer Gene Roddenberry presented NBC’s “The Cage,” the pilot episode of his Space Western show, Star Trek. The show starred movie actor Jeffrey Hunter as the USS Enterprise’s Captain Christopher Pike, a stern spaceship captain with a chip on his shoulder and a distant look in his eyes. Surrounded by a pointy-eared alien named Spock and a demure First Officer known only as “Number One,” Pike encounters a race of remote-stitching aliens who can make his dark thoughts or deep desires indistinguishable from reality. “The Cage” provides the audience with a shortcut to the intimate relationship with Pike, revealing that his forehead is of a strong and silent type that hides great discomfort and dissatisfaction with himself. It’s a strong and heavy tale, and NBC executives were wary of picking up like this “atypical” Showcase the adventure as a series, but they were intrigued enough to bombard them for a second Star Trek pilot. When Jeffrey Hunter refused to return, Roddenberry decided that instead of remaking Pike, he would create a new main character. The less ferocious Captain James T. Kirk, portrayed by William Shatner, would have gone on to become one of the most famous fictional characters of the 20th century.
Now, a character who can remain a masterpiece in history Paramount Instead, the Crown Jewel franchise, by popular demand, returns to the captaincy for the new spinoff series, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. No longer a relic of the ’60s, Christopher Pike has been resurrected as the poster boy for the quintessential Gene Roddenberry future as we imagine it today, essentially emerging as an entirely new character. But this opportunity would never have presented itself without one disturbing fact: television is very expensive to make.
Early planning for the first season of Star Trek In March 1966, Gene Roddenberry suspected that a technically complex show was likely to be over budget and behind schedule. To relieve some of that pressure, he devised a way to reintegrate the first pilot in the continuing series, essentially as a collection of flashbacks. The resulting two-part episode, “The Menagerie,” established that Pike had been captain of the Enterprise before Kirk, and that Mr. Spock—the only character from the first pilot to make it to the series right—had served under both.
Creating “The Menagerie” was a practical decision, allowing production to extract two episodes from the time and budget of just one episode, but it spawned a Star Trek legend, feeling that the Enterprise, its crew, and the galaxy they traveled to had a history beyond the events of the show itself. The differences between sets, props, and costumes in the old versus new shots have become evidence of the passage of time, giving fans license to obsess over the implications of any future aesthetic changes. It was the juxtaposition of the present and a fully realized vision of his past Star TrekThe first step from being a TV show to being a show being.
Fast forward half a century, and Christopher Pike became a pivotal figure in that universe. in 2019, Hell on wheels Actor Anson Mount took on the role of Captain Pike Star Trek: Discovery, the flagship of Paramount’s new fleet of big-budget Trek series of streaming services. Like feature films Star Trek And The star slowly makes its way into the dark (in which he played Bruce Greenwood), Discovery Pike is cast as a veteran, senior leader, friend and ally of the character’s lead Michael Burnham (Sonicoa Martin Green). Baek’s stint for one season as a regular cast member Discovery He proved so popular among Trek fans that a solo show himself and reimagined number one (Rebecca Romijn) and Spock (Ethan Peck) became inevitable. After the balloon test, three episodes of 15 minutes each short trips Featuring the Pike Foundation, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds It was officially announced In May 2020.
In some ways, Strange new worlds It’s the series Gene Roddenberry tried to sell to NBC with “The Cage” in 1965. It’s intentionally old school. Star Trek Show, taking the franchise back to its roots as a spin-off series that takes on “The Problem of the Week” and then boldly moves on to the next stage. The cast includes smaller versions of the familiar characters from original series, including Cadet Nyota Aoora (Celia Rose Gooding) and nurse Kristen Chapel (Jess Bush). Christopher Pike, on the other hand, is way ahead of where we found him in “The Cage,” allowing Anson Mount to play his role as someone who has grown beyond the rudeness, the trusted commander seen in the 1965 pilot. Thanks to the concerted efforts of both Mount and the Discovery And Strange new worlds book rooms, Star TrekThe original pioneer man has become a more modern example of collaborative and empathetic leadership.
Jeffrey [Hunter] He gave us a very good performance for Pike’s “first act,” says Mount. “He was very young, very self-involved. The writers wanted me to be ‘Chapter Two’ Pike, who is a little more confident in his shoes and knows the kind of leader and kind of guy he wants to be.”
“I suspect [Star Trek’s] Akiva Goldsman, co-founder of Strange new worlds Plus one of the co-producers bringing BAIC on board Discovery during its second season. He cites inclusion, optimism, and curiosity among Trek’s most enduring philosophical principles. “I think the stylistic manifestation of those traits is cultural, and shifts as eras and cultures change. I think the kind of leadership that Jim Kirk expresses, today, would be problematic. I think you wouldn’t write a character that way today. [who] You were trying to make him attractive. Modern storytelling, fortunately, requires a more thoughtful and somewhat contemporary approach to how humans interact, or how nonhumans interact.”
It’s easy to see what Goldsman means. While Kirk’s reputation as a serial womanizer is more the product of pre-internet memes than the actual text, the scale of his ego was hardly exaggerated. Kirk CEO – Spock and Dr. McCoy are close friends and advisors, but the rest of the crew are treated as instruments of his will. He burdens himself with the need to remain larger than life in the eyes of his crew, which exposes him to a great emotional strain that he also has to hide. Our fellow Star Trek Captains Picard, Janeway, and Hunter Pike suffer similar afflictions.
But Mount Pike has no such concerns. When it first appeared Discovery To take temporary command of the honorary ship, he finds a crew recently traumatized by the manipulation and betrayal of their former captain, Gabriel Lorca. Sensing their fears, Pike tries to calm them down by acknowledging his weaknesses, such as his childhood asthma and his failure in astrophysics at Starfleet Academy. When he receives the roll call on the bridge, he tells them to leave their ranks, a gesture toward flattening the Starfleet’s Army-inspired hierarchy. Amid modern-day conversations about the legacy of toxic masculinity and male privilege, Pike seems to have left these ugly influences in the dust of his own space.
Anson Mount says, “I believe there is an inner optimism in Trek, the idea that we are all heading towards a better tomorrow and a more enlightened future. It is a future where we not only learn 3D chess, but where our best angels have triumphed and now we have the luxury of being able to explore and find this universe where morality – Perhaps not the commitment to morality – but the sense of morality is a kind of universalism.” For his part, Mount never liked the phrase “non-toxic masculinity.” “Real masculinity,” he says, unlike insecure masculine postures, “is not toxic.”
“Pike is the consensus builder,” Goldsman says, and attributes the development of this specific trait to the Anson Mount influence. while developing Strange new worldsMount interviewed Goldsman and co-showrunner Henry Alonso Myers about the character, which resulted in the addition of a full kitchen to the Pike’s cabin. Anson is like, ‘You know, the way I do it in my house is, I’m always in the kitchen,’ and there’s a free flow of information that seems to be facilitated by collaboration, I dare say, Project – Adventure of cooking. This is amazing [version of] Pike leads by gathering this extended family, this crew, around the table, participating in preparing the food and expressing ideas.”
The second episode of the program Strange new worlds It begins with Cadet Oura joining the bridge crew for dinner at Pike’s Cabin, a meal a few senior staff members helped him prepare. But it is not only the captain’s crew who is invited – as well as junior officers and servants, who can prevent him from losing touch with what is going on on the ship. Whether around the conference table, on the bridge, or visiting an alien planet, Captain Pike is a listener who tries to approach every stranger, ally or adversary with as open a mind as possible. He’s not infallible, but he’s willing to admit error and concede points. Akiva Goldsman sees Pike’s sympathy as key to his appeal during this deeply divided period in our history.
“He has a blessing,” Goldman says. “He has a compassionate and forgiving view of his crew, the Federation, his enemies, new friends, and the galaxy itself. I think he’s someone driven by empathy and the idea that what you don’t know is as important if not more important than what you know.”
“And by accessing that metaphorical – or in our case often – the star-fixed darkness we can learn, and if we learn, we will grow. And if we grow older, we will be the best versions of ourselves and of each other. I think that’s a very human and very vital idea right now, At a time when empathy is sorely lacking and we see each other as the enemy because of any small difference. Baek no. He sees you as a potential friend and is open to connecting with you on your terms. I think that’s what we want today.”
Star Trek has always been an aspirational TV. Even her darkest stories are built on a foundation of optimism, the belief that humanity’s future is not only more technologically advanced but more socially advanced. While Star Trek has always aimed to demonstrate this growth by depicting a future that is more diverse, equal, and inclusive, there is also great comfort to be found in smaller changes in relationships between individuals and in their relationships with themselves. A character like Christopher Pike, who has been part of the ambitious future of Star Trek from the start, not only allows us to aspire but also to gauge progress in what we aspire to. In 1965, Captain Pike was a rock-faced adventurer who hid his heart behind a wall of power. In 2022, he wears it on his sleeve, open and weak. Captain Starfleet today Tomorrow is neither the boss nor the father of his crew. He is a friend first and foremost.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds It debuts at Paramount Plus on May 5th. New episodes released every Thursday.
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