Star trek is an incredibly long-lived franchise with the original series first airing back in 1966, although there’s some interesting discussion around what is deemed as the first episode. The first pilot for star trek the original series was filmed in 1965 with a completely different crew and led by Captain Christopher Pike, played by Jeffrey Hunter. Hunter left before the show could air, and the entire crew ended up being recast with a new pilot taking its place paving the way for William Shatner’s Captain Kirk. Captain Pike wouldn’t be seen again until Star Trek (2009) as played by Bruce Greenwood, but even then he served a limited role, one in which he would play second fiddle to Captain James T. Kirk.
It wasn’t until Strange New Worlds (honorable mention to Discovery) that Captain Pike finally got his dues after a 57-year wait.
Pike, played by Anson Mount, has been quite the breath of fresh air when it comes to Captains in the world of star trek. His charismatic, quick-witted, and empathetic style of leadership has him crashing into the pantheon of Captains with a legitimate claim to be ranked among the best. However, credit where it’s due because Discovery Pike walked, so Strange New Worlds Pike could run.
Pike’s initial introduction to star trek was through Discovery and it’s quite a contrast to the man we know in Strange New Worlds. Early on in Season 2 he storms in and assumes control without ever really saying much at all. It’s only over time throughout that season you see the character soften, and grow into the figure that fans have come to adore. Whether the growth of the character was initially planned from the beginning or whether it was from the adaptation from Mount himself is unclear, but as time went on his presence began to fill the room.
Thankfully the writers now had a fine-tuned clear vision of who this character was at his core. Mount’s most recent depiction of the character is so utterly compelling that he truly commands the screen when he’s there.
One quality that has been an important cornerstone for Captain Pike is his relaxed and collaborative approach to those around him. Within Strange New Worlds, Pike is oftentimes in concert with his crew relying on their input to make an informed decision as opposed to gut reactions. This inclusive approach to leadership can also be seen during the various meal times when Pike demonstrates his leadership by cooking and feeding the folks around him. It’s incredibly disarming, but in such a wholesome sense, and a perspective we’ve not seen much of in star trek. Pike genuinely cares about the people around him, enough so that he wants them to be well-fed and happy to encourage the best from his team.
This collaboration can additionally be identified in the dialogue designed for Captain Pike and it’s very on point, with Mount shaping the lines in a way that works for his character. He delivers them in that exudes confidence without ever having to yell, even during the tensest moments. Mount really threw himself into this and you can see it reflected in a lot of what he does. Even his signature brand of jumping the ship to warp simply saying “Hit it”. Cool Dad vibes all over.
The perfect example of his confidence and experience in his role as a Captain is also depicted in the character’s physical appearance. Of all the Captains in all of star trek, Anson Mount has the best damn hair in the franchise. While it might seem like a ridiculous statement to make, it must be recognized because part of being a Con-screen looking the part, and he fits that bill pretty damn well. When he’s on-screen he’s impossible to miss as your eyes are just naturally drawn to him largely in part thanks to this look.
This is only elevated further by the new Star Fleet Enterprise costumes which are insanely brilliant. The top is a very simplistic and clean cut that not only honors Hunter’s original look, but the slim fit around the torso, with the sharp lines on the shoulders inspires a physically imposing sight. The suit design paired with a razor-cut hairstyle adds levels to Pike’s overall appearance as the fleets boy scout, and a roguishly attractive man who wants to investigate space, help those in need, and maybe pass the time with the company of a few partners along the way.
While star trek in the past has been fascinated with the Spock, and Kirk of it all especially in the last decade when they tried to relaunch the story through a series of films, expanding the universe and thus the focus of the characters has only served to strengthen the depth of the stories on offer. Although it’s been an interesting parallel because within Pike you can see the foundation for the characteristics that will later rub off on Captain Kirk. Much like Star Trek the original series when it first debuted, Captain Pike and Strange New Worlds hits on a whole other level that sets a high standard for the current era of star trek.
Strange New Worlds has embraced its roots with a classic approach to storytelling but with a better understanding of the character depth and ensemble needed to succeed. At the forefront of the series is a Captain that deserves every ounce of praise and will no doubt be debated as one of the franchise’s best Captains. From the wonderful talents of Anson Mount’s depiction of the character to his specific style of leadership, and inspiring dialogue, it’s clear that this show and Captain are going to be around for many years.
Make sure to check out more of Captain Pike on Paramount+ in Discovery Season 2, and Strange New Worlds Season 1.
Aaron is a contributing writer at But Why Tho, serving as a reviewer for TV and Film. He is also the co-host and social media manager of the Nerds Social Club podcast.
Hailing originally from England, and after some lengthy questing, he’s currently set up shop in Pennsylvania. He spends his days reading comics, podcasting, and being attacked by his small offspring.