Fans of both Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: The Original Series have had it pretty good lately, with the original Enterprise and her crew appearing in the second season of the popular CBS All Access show. But, all good things, it seems, must come to an end.
The second season of Star Trek: Discovery has had a decidedly different feel from its first season. The paranoia and mistrust that plagued the crew of the Captain Lorca’s Discovery in season one has been replaced with a sense of optimism and teamwork and “having a little fun”, and that lighter tone has propelled Discovery through its current narrative. Most (if not all) of that feel is down to the presence of Captain Christopher Pike and his portrayal by former Hell on Wheels actor Anson Mount. Mount took something that would be an unenviable task for any actor—namely, reviving a 50-year-old character who had only been seen on screen sparingly—and imbued Pike with warmth, energy, and the unquestioning authority one would expect from a Starfleet captain. Chris Hunter, son of original Pike actor Jeffrey Hunter, specifically praised Mount’s portrayal of the role his father originated.
The character of Pike is a pivotal one in the world of Star Trek, despite having only appeared in the original pilot The Cage, its “sequel” The Menagerie, and the first two Kelvin-universe films. By establishing the Enterprise had a captain before Kirk (indeed, more than one), the world of Starfleet seemed larger and more persistent. Another classic Trek character that is important to the franchise of Trek is the pseudonymous “Number One”, Pike’s second-in-command and the first woman seen in a leadership role in the Star Trek franchise. Number One was originally played by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry in The Cage, and her role was similarly revived in Discovery by actress Rebecca Romijn.
Though Pike (and to a lesser degree, Number One) have been fixtures of season two’s story, season three of Discovery looks to be going in a new direction. Deadline reported recently that both Mount and Romijn will not be returning for Discovery‘s next season. Mount previously announced at a fan event in December that he was only contracted for season two, and sources close to the series have confirmed that both Mount and Romijn had strictly one-year deals.
The long-term prospects of the Pike character were always in doubt, as in-the-know fans will remember that Captain Pike was the victim of a training accident after the events of Discovery, one that leaves his mute and quadriplegic. Before that, however, he continues to serve for over a decade in Starfleet and it’s disappointing to see him (and Number One) leave the series after so short a time. The concurrent history of the USS Enterprise fittingly looms large in the story of Discovery; after all, the series’s main character, Michael Burnham, is Spock’s foster sister. According to Discovery producer Alex Kurtzman, Discovery‘s second season was designed as a way to explore the early Enterprise’s “mythological place in canon,” and the series has made good on that goal by revisiting the characters and locations seen in The Cage. But it’s still a shame to lose two characters who were so skillfully brought back to relevance by Mount, Romijn, and Discovery‘s writing staff.
No announcement has yet been made about the future of Spock, played by Ethan Peck. Though he, too, has his own mission and future aboard the Enterprise, he remains an important part of his sister Michael’s story. Even before the recent announcement of Mount and Romijn’s departures, some fans have been calling for a Pike-led Enterprise series featuring the exploits of the Cage-era crew. With the rate that CBS has been green-lighting new Trek series, it wouldn’t exactly come as a surprise if that became a reality. If the production can manage to capture the spirit of early Trek in the same way that Mount evokes the original figure of Captain Pike, it might be a welcome addition to the Trek franchise.
What do you think? Should CBS bring Pike back for more adventures with the Discovery? Should Pike, Spock, and crew get their own CBS All Access show? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned to That Hashtag Show for the latest updates on all things Star Trek!