Arriving late seems to be a bad habit at the moment. Just like this article is a couple of weeks overdue, a Star Trek series following the adventures of Captain Pike up until his unfortunate accident has also been long overdue. However, with the Discovery crew long lost into the future and with a shiny makeover of the USS Enterprise, a Captain Pike series seems the most logical next step in the franchise.
The strength moving forward with a Captain Pike series is that an amazing cast is already in place. Anson Mount’s portrayal of Christopher Pike has been one of the many high points of the Star Trek: Discovery series, along with Ethan Peck’s portrayal of Spock and Rebecca Romijn’s cameo as Number One on the USS Enterprise.
There are also about six years between the events of Star Trek: Discovery and the beginning of the Original Series. This gives plenty of time to develop Christopher Pike from the dedicated, courageous captain he is in Star Trek: Discovery, to this less upbeat, more despondent character we see briefly in the Original Series. Now that Christopher Pike is aware of his unfortunate fate, there are many chances to show how this foresight plays a role in his deterioration, with his inevitable replacement with James Kirk at the end.
Christopher Pike’s adventures on the Federation’s flagship remains largely unknown. There are also a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the influence the Telosians had on Pike, who remain unanswered in many ways themselves. It would be wise for this intermittent period to return to the original Star Trek formula, one of discovery and diplomacy with morally questionable situations that make the audience think, rather than the action/adventure we had in Discovery, however successful it was.
What we do know is a season three for Discovery is currently being planned and will be 950 years in the future; a prequel becoming a sequel in a strange twist of fate. There’s also a Picard series imminent, which plans to be a psychological drama focusing on the latter years of Jean-Luc, as well as rumors circulating that a Georgiou series is being developed (great potential, but the acting was a little rigid at times). All three series have a lot of promise but none are the logical next step in a Star Trek series, with Captain Pike remaining the ideal transition.
It does seem that the Star Trek franchise is taking another opportunity to branch out from its fabled formula. Discovery itself was as much of a change as any of the current rumors would be, particularly with the role of the captain not taking center stage. With a Georgiou series, it would be safe to say that even the Federation would take a backstage role, with a focus on a former malevolent ruler from the mirror universe. In a way, this is why the Captain Pike series won’t happen, it represents a Star Trek from the past and times have changed significantly that it might only appeal to the traditional fan; for better or the worse, Marvel is a great example of a franchise changing its formula to appeal to a greater audience, something Star Trek has been doing in recent years.
Rewatching some of the older series such as Next Generation, it’s easy to see how it would be considered outdated by today’s standard. Being a CGI-sceptic, it’s easier to enjoy these older series as they rely much more on clever writing than poorly edited explosions. This is the voice of an old man though, and those CGI space battles are all the rage in today’s Star Trek. It isn’t necessarily bad, just different. Nostalgia is a strong emotion that should rarely be returned to. The status quo only moves backwards and that’s why Star Trek had to change eventually, especially after how badly Enterprise did.
And this is perhaps the answer to the question all along. The recent Star Trek films, in many ways, have set a precedent for much more action and much less philosophical grandeur of humanity’s future. While a Captain Pike series would be logical following on from Discovery’s season two, it perhaps isn’t as logical given today’s audience. The edgy Giorgiou would be much more appealing to today’s younger audience, which is why the rumors circulate about her potential series rather than Captain Pike’s.