Paul Wesley returns as Captain James T. Kirk this season in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
William Shatner created Captain James T. Kirk on Star Trek: The Original Series. No, he didn’t create the name or the idea of the character, but he brought that character to life. And made him a stellar piece of Star Trek history. Though others question his abilities as a captain as he was brash and aggressive, no one can ever doubt his dedication to the job, and we certainly can’t doubt that Shatner gave his all to the role.
And now Paul Wesley has undertaken the role, and he admitted in a Men’s Health segment on Youtube that Shatner’s were big shoes to fill, even bigger than Chris Pine who took on the role of Captain Kirk in the Kelvin timeline movies starting in 2009.
Answering questions from commenters about the captain, Wesley said “you almost have to be a lunatic to take on the role of James T. Kirk because he’s arguably the most iconic character in the history of television.”
He had the opportunity to meet Shatner but only after he’d already filmed his first scenes as Lt. Kirk. He still could have asked for some advice, but he didn’t. Why? Because he felt like Shatner was over people asking him about Kirk. Instead, he tried to make the meeting more human.
No one will ever be able to replace William Shatner as Captain Kirk, and Paul Wesley is playing him differently on purpose.
Because Wesley is playing a younger Kirk, he is building the character to reach the point where he takes over as captain of the Enterprise. So he does have plenty of room to play with, considering we didn’t see much at all of Kirk’s backstory on The Original Series.
Hopefully, Wesley’s character will fill in some of the gaps and answer some questions we all still have about one of the greatest Star Trek captains ever.