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Credit: James Dimmock // CBS

Why Captain Pike should get his own Star Trek: Discovery spin-off

Contributed by
Jul 22, 2019

It’s an exciting time to be a Star Trek fan. The launch of Star Trek: Discovery in 2017 breathed new life into a franchise some thought would lie dormant forever. Since then, CBS has announced four new series in the franchise.

Star Trek: Picard will revisit the iconic captain two decades later, and is set to premiere later this year. Star Trek: Lower Decks will be an adult animated series centered on some of the lower-ranked crew on a starship. An as-yet-untitled spinoff of Discovery featuring Michelle Yeoh’s Agent Georgiou is in the works, and finally, CBS is working with Nickelodeon to create a CG-animated series aimed at younger viewers.

That’s a full slate of programming, for sure, but there is one series I’d love to see that’s missing: a Discovery spin-off starring Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike.

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Credit: Russ Martin/CBS 

Anson Mount was a revelation as Pike in the second season of Star Trek: Discovery. The series’ first season had been criticized for its dark tone, and the addition of Mount to the regular cast injected some much-needed levity into the show. The cast had worked hard to become a family over the course of the first season, and Mount fit right into that dynamic. It felt natural.

As the starship Discovery headed into the unknown at the end of the second season, Pike was left behind. How better to honor the character, who quickly became a fan favorite (thanks in no small part to Mount’s classic good looks), than a spin-off set aboard the Enterprise featuring Anson Mount, Ethan Peck as Spock, and Rebecca Romijn as Number One?

The series could serve multiple purposes. First, there is more of Pike’s story left to tell between when he parts ways with the Discovery crew and his final fate, which we know thanks to The Original Series. As either an open-ended or a limited series, we could learn more about Pike and his crew on their next five-year exploration mission.

I also strongly believe that the expansion of the Star Trek television universe is a good thing because it allows for more than one kind of show. For the duration of Discovery’s first season, it was the only Star Trek show in production. Because of that, it was forced to try to be all things to all people. Many were mad about the show, not because of what it was, but because of what it wasn’t.

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Credit: Russ Martin/CBS 

Some criticized the setting: They wanted a show set in the franchise’s future, not its past. Others remarked on the way Discovery dealt with canon. Still, plenty of fans were unhappy with the show’s darker tone, claiming that Star Trek should be a family show (it’s worth noting that other series have confronted difficult topics aimed at a more adult audience). Some also lamented the lack of exploration in Discovery’s storyline.

As a fan, it’s OK to have expectations and be disappointed when they aren’t met (as long as you aren’t abusive when that inevitably happens). But because Star Trek’s fanbase is so broad and so deep, Discovery’s task of trying to satisfy all of them while also charting a new course so it could stand on its own two feet, furthering the bounds of the franchise, was pretty much impossible (though as a longtime Star Trek fan and a fan of the show, I think it did a remarkable job winning people over despite that).

A Captain Pike-centered show could take on that mantle of exploration, providing that planet-of-the-week narrative many would love to see. The Enterprise’s five-year mission is the perfect setup to accomplish it. And with his excellent performance on Discovery, Anson Mount has already shown us he has the star quality to anchor a series like this.

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Credit: Russ Martin/CBS 

Focusing on the Enterprise in a new series also gives us the chance to explore Number One’s character more. She was played so well (and enigmatically) by Rebecca Romijn, and I know I’m not the only one who would love to see more from her. And while many were skeptical about including Spock in the second season of Discovery, Ethan Peck won fans over with his excellent portrayal of the Vulcan during his formative years. This trio is certainly strong enough to be the core of a series, and new cast members (including actors of color) could be brought in to round out the Enterprise’s crew.

The future of the Star Trek franchise is bright. Whether CBS announces a few more shows or just develops the ones in production now, we’re about to get a lot more great content on our screens. But I would absolutely love to see more of Anson Mount in the Star Trek universe, and building a series around Captain Pike would be an excellent way to do that.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBC Universal.

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