A recent article at Den of Geek said that Star Trek: Strange New Worlds shouldn’t include Captain Kirk and indicated that the series doesn’t need him. And while the upcoming series does have its own stories to tell with new characters to flesh out and old characters to return to, Kirk is a rising star in this timeline as he becomes the youngest captain to helm a starship when he eventually takes it over from Pike. Obviously, that means he’s making waves in Starfleet long before that. So to leave him totally out of the equation would, to me, also leave a gaping hole.
Do I think he needs to be in all of the episodes? No, but I do think a younger Kirk should be introduced, if only to Captain Pike. Perhaps Pike could even learn that Kirk is next in line to captain a starship. Knowing his future, it might provide some comfort that, potentially, his ship could be in good hands with Kirk at the helm. And with other fans a little unhappy with how Kirk has been jettisoned in the three new series, it would provided a sense of continuity and be a give-back to fans who started with the Original Series.
Strange New Worlds is going to be set in the timeline which will allow the introduction of Kirk, and even though it might only be for a few brief moments or even an episode, I think it’s important that he makes an appearance. To ignore him in the world in which he exists wouldn’t be equitable to the fans because many of us will be asking where he is and what he’s doing during Pike’s command of the Enterprise. It would be much better to give us a glimpse into Kirk’s life or, at the very least, acknowledge that he is part of this timeline, than to make us wonder and hope to see him.
Yes, the show will be about Captain Pike, Spock, and Number One and their adventures, but leaving out the man who would captain the Enterprise in the future doesn’t seem right. Having him appear briefly would not cast a shadow for Pike to crawl out from under nor would it detract from the series. It would simply be an acknowledgement of the timeline.