‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’: Anson Mount & Ethan Peck on That Bridge Surprise, Pike and Spock’s Dynamic

Ethan Peck as Spock and Anson Mount as Pike in Star Trek Strange New Worlds
Spoiler Alert
James Dimmock/Paramount+

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds series premiere.]

Going into Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, we knew that James T. Kirk will be appearing in Season 2, played by Paul Wesley. But early on in the series premiere, there’s talk of a Lieutenant Kirk.

After Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) boards the Enterprise — reluctantly, though Una (Rebecca Romijn) has gotten into trouble while the starship was in space dock — Science Officer Spock (Ethan Peck) comments that Lieutenant Kirk and the chief engineer are among those officers who have to join them after the mission since a personal rotation was in progress. We also learn that Pike requested Kirk. It’s after Pike returns to the bridge at the end of the episode, having decided that he will be staying on and not returning to his cabin (and beard) that Kirk makes his debut — Samuel Kirk (Dan Jeannotte), James’ brother, that is. “How’s the family?” Pike asks. “All fine, sir. It’s great to be here,” Samuel replies. Pike tells him he’s posted to Life Sciences, with Spock.

“I don’t think that Pike would have given Sam a job if he didn’t believe in him and his abilities,” Mount tells TV Insider. “Clearly they’ve known each other from back in the day. They probably served together in some capacity on another ship or from school, not entirely sure yet, but I do think that the character of Sam brings a great quality to the show beyond just the juiciness of being Kirk’s brother. He has a completely different personality and sense of insight and humor than any other character on the show.”

The series premiere also sees Pike confiding in Spock about the fate he saw in Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 that he knows awaits him. “I saw my own death, Spock, at least the death of the man I am now. I know exactly how and when my life ends, and I didn’t just see it. I felt it, every agonizing second,” Pike admits. “Most humans, we like to think that right until the very last instant, somehow, someway, we’ll cheat death. At least I did.”

Ethan Peck as Spock and Anson Mount as Pike in Star Trek Strange New Worlds

Marni Grossman/Paramount+

Spock asks if it’s soon. It’s almost a decade away, Pike says, wondering, “Is that soon? Suddenly that feels soon. I can’t stop seeing it.” Spock suggests that “knowledge of death is vital for effective leadership,” but “knowledge is one thing,” Pike says. “But I experienced it. How will it live in me? Will it make me hesitant? Cautious? Not cautious enough? I’m already second-guessing myself, and that’s the last thing a captain can afford.” Spock tells him to “seek out the good in knowing your own death, use it to be the man you most essentially are. … The captain.” But Pike continues to see his future in his reflection throughout the episode.

We saw how far Pike was willing to go for Spock in Discovery Season 2, and we know, from The Original Series, what Spock will one day do for the captain. That and the conversation they have in the Strange New Worlds premiere is “very” indicative of their relationship on the new series, Peck says.

“They’re on a very unique journey together, [as are] Anson Mount, who plays Captain Pike and myself, Ethan Peck,” he continues. “There is no other relationship in my life quite like ours, where we are embarking on such an incredible journey. I would call this experience the greatest journey of my lifetime thus far. It’s been really spectacular. And so there’s a really great sort of parallel between our lives and our characters’ lives. So yeah, that sort of indicates a great amount of respect, of curiosity between the two characters. I think Spock looks to Pike almost as though he were like an uncle figure, a father figure because he’s not speaking with [his father] Sarek [James Frain] currently. And he doesn’t have a lot of human role models in his life. Of course [his mother] Amanda [Mia Kirshner] and I think [his sister] Michael Burnham [Sonequa Martin-Green] served as one, very important one. But Pike is sort of the best natural fit to educate Spock on that part of himself.”

Adds Mount, “That is one of the most revered relationships, not just in science fiction, but in television history, and to get to lay the earlier groundwork for that relationship is a tremendous sense of responsibility and it is a great honor, especially getting to work with Ethan Peck, who I have grown to admire so much. I think that he is so much farther ahead in his development as a man than I was at his age and I have a great admiration for him as a person and as an actor. And so I’ve just been trying to really go off of that. It’s much easier to work with somebody you like and it’s much easier to develop an onscreen relationship when it’s somebody that you’re comfortable with and who you are continuing to get to know better.”

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Thursdays, Paramount+