The ironic part of the new Star Trek series, Strange New Worlds, is that it features some very familiar Star Trek characters.

When the show debuts on Paramount+ later this summer, it will star Anson Mount as Captain Pike, the original Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise before James T. Kirk, along with Rebecca Romijn as Number One and Ethan Peck as Mr. Spock. The show is officially billed as following these heroes “in the years before Captain Kirk boarded the U.S.S. Enterprise, as they explore new worlds around the galaxy.”

But here is an interesting wrinkle: Strange New Worlds will also feature James T. Kirk as well. Paramount announced today that the show has cast Paul Wesley in Season 2 of Strange New Worlds as the young James T. Kirk. That’s the first official image of Wesley as Kirk above.

Wesley was previously best known for his starring role on The CW series The Vampire Diaries. Here was Strange New Worlds executive producer Alex Kurtzman’s statement on the news:

Paul is an accomplished actor, an astonishing presence and a welcome key addition to the show. Like all of us, he is a life-long Star Trek fan and we are excited by his interpretation of this iconic role

Wesley steps into one of the most famous roles in television history. William Shatner played Kirk on three years of Star Trek, plus numerous movies and the Star Trek animated series. It seems heretical to recast as iconic a role as Captain Kirk — but Star Trek has already done it once. Chris Pine played the first “young Captain Kirk” in the recent Star Trek movie series, and did a fabulous job of evoking Shatner’s performance while making Kirk his own. Now it’s Wesley’s turn to reinvent the character yet again.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1 premieres on Paramount+ on Thursday May 5. Production on Season 2 is underway now.

Sign up for Paramount+ here.

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